Three days after Chance the Rapper, I attended the Hoxton to watch Lil Dicky perform, and to be honest, it was a quintessential rap concert. There wasn't any sense of irony during his entire set and it became quite clear to me that atop of that stage Lil Dicky was just a guy who can rap his ass off while simultaneously making you laugh. Leading up to the show, I couldn't even fathom how this dude was going to perform any of the more conceptually driven songs off his album — yet somehow, he did it. In all fairness, though, the show was probably well rehearsed and the execution was practically flawless. I came up with my final thoughts fairly quickly, and my conclusion was simple: Lil Dicky's music works in a live setting just as much as you might think it wouldn't. I wasn't so much surprised as I was legitimately happy after hearing the first two or three songs go off effortlessly. Like when "Professional Rapper" boomed over us and his hype man did Snoop's bit, and then later, he completely won me over when he did the first verse of "Pillow Talking" (and I still can't comprehend how this song went over so well). I was a fan going into the show but I'm a bigger fan after the fact. I can't even remember why I decided to check his debut album when it came out, but I'm glad I did. I remember the exact moment I decided to wholeheartedly mess with LD when "Truman" closed the album out. I played it over and over and decided to unconditionally herald his music because it was smart and it was good.
So, if it isn't obvious by now, I want to re-emphasize my point: the Hoxton show impressed me. It was a humour-filled hour or so of rap (no need to exclusively label it as comedy). Over the course of the show, Dicky would stop for brief intermissions where he scanned the crowd for a "wifey" and eventually pulled up three different girls to participate in a Wheel of Fortune type game. It was funny, yeah, but more importantly: it was entertaining. There wasn't a moment during the show where I was bored; and despite a couple of strange moments involving the women onstage (ie. winning the opportunity to kiss him; and an understandable Lil-Dicky-performed lap dance when "Lemme Freak" came on), he put on a great show. Most of the songs performed were from his latest album with a few from past projects. The show in its entirety was a complete and enjoyable experience; so, afterwards I started to think about why there are so many disgruntled critics online who have denounced the Philadelphia-native's music.
David Burd's career as "Lil Dicky" has been one fraught with disdain stemming from notions of cultural appropriation, racism, white privilege and what ever other ultra-progressive concerns our society freaks out about quicker than you realize how ridiculous his rap name is. Honestly, though, who cares? He's white. He's obviously more of a satirical comedian than he is stereotypical poverty-stricken (hood) escapee and who cares? What makes a rapper more legitimate than another? Skill and honesty, or authenticity, should be all that matter. Similarly, the same goes for satire and comedy. These are concepts that exist, and therefore, he can rap satirically for comedic effect. His interviews are even satirical/comedic in nature and I've seen so many borderline reverse-racist think-pieces on his "brazen ignorance stemming from white privilege." I can't even give enough justice for what I'm saying without writing a much longer essay that I really don't care to write. It really is a sweet, ignorant, and hateful never-ending story of naysayers vs Lil Dicky; and I find it ludicrous to infer some of the things suggested by his critics. Ultimately, however, Lil Dicky can rap — and he can rap well. His satire makes you think and there hasn't been one instance where — as a twenty-three-year-old black male — I've thought, or felt, anything he's said was ignorant or offside (in relation to the genre/culture of Hip-Hop). Truthfully, he seems brutally honest, or real, in most of his interviews and people are overthinking the hell out of what this guy says for all the wrong reasons. I think his lyrics are smart as hell and I've never heard any other white rapper talking about the things he's talking about, so what's the deal? It's honest. It's authentic. And Lil Dicky is genuinely skilled at what he does, and that is: rapping about being white.