Yesterday, I (Erica) was standing outside of the BodyThoughts pop-up space on King West in Toronto, speaking to pedestrian’s about what we’re up to. Two young men approached me and asked if they could take photos in front of the super cool lightbox in our window. I invited them inside.
Jerome, the photographer, was taking photos of Graydon for promotional purposes. Graydon is a Toronto rapper, and known in the city as Johnny Active.
The thing was, unbeknownst to Jerome and Johnny Active, this scene was quite ironic because of Alexa’s newfound obsession and fascination with the trailblazing rapper, Lil Dicky. Lil Dicky, aka David Burd, is a Jewish rapper who is changing the rap game using his own methods and passion to succeed. Last week, Alexa had actually started writing this piece about the reasons she loves Lil Dicks. She thought this was a sign that she had to finish and share it. Here it is:
DON’T DOUBLE CHARGE ME FOR THAT! Five Things I Learned From a Jewish Rapper
1. Inspiration comes from unexpected places.
Sometimes you’re at your friend’s place for a pizza party and someone keeps yelling “DON’T DOUBLE CHARGE ME FOR DAT” and you ask what the hell he’s saying and he stops the entire gathering so everyone can watch this music video, called “$ave Dat Money” by a rapper you’ve never heard of. Despite my doubt that this was going to be a valuable investment of the next 9 minutes of my life, within the first 60 seconds, I was obsessed. It opens with Dave aka Lil Dicky knocking on doors in LA asking if he can use the owners’ mansions to shoot part of his video, “I’m actually a rapper and I’m shooting a music video where the concept of the video is how can I make the most epic rap video ever for no money.” Hilarious. Best idea ever. I was instantly inspired AND laughing hysterically. The part I found so incredibly refreshing was how powerful his message and story is, while being light hearted, fun, and the most himself. Brilliant. Watch it now (ps. DON’T DOUBLE CHARGE ME FOR DAT is at 6:00).
2. Keep asking for the things you want.
Resilience is essential in any important pursuit. Dicky’s shameless asks in the “$ave Dat Money” video are made with a kind of directness that is very uncommon. So uncommon it makes you laugh…because it’s rare to hear someone be that straight. It sounds like he’s joking when he’s speaking through the intercoms to these millionaires, and while there’s definitely a foundation of humour and irony to the whole video, he’s not joking in his requests. “Hi I’m Dave. I’m a professional rapper and I’m making a music video. I was wondering if you…” And people say no. Actually, WAY MORE PEOPLE SAY NO THAN YES. And this is the world. Building a kind of armour that protects you from getting discouraged is essential. When you really want something, resilience is so fucking important. Without it, you’ll quit…or worse…you’ll definitely have no fun along the way.
3. Channel who you REALLY are into your work.
Authenticity is real life magic. Dave (Lil Dicky) is from a well to do family outside of Philly. He is University educated, an experienced copywriter, and used his bar mitzvah money to kickstart his rap career. He wears all of this like a champ. And when I say he wears it, I literally mean it’s at the forefront of all his music. He mixes comedy and rap to tell his story. He speaks to how untypical his identity is in the industry he is conquering, and he’s completely comfortable in that. He uses it to make us laugh and bring us into his life. He’s relatable. On his album Professional Rapper (2015), he uses recorded phone conversations of him talking to his Jewish parents as interludes. It’s hilarious (his mom didn’t think so). So yea...basically I think Lil Dicks is super cool, super funny, and super talented. Watch this and you'll feel what I’m saying.
4. Do the things you want to do.
I highly doubt that when Dave Burd was born his parents were like, “wow - we’re so excited for Dave to be the first well-known Jewish comedian/rapper. That’s really going to to make us proud.” No. Probably not. He chose this as the thing he wanted to do and he’s doing it despite him being an unlikely candidate for this role. That’s inspiring.
5. Life is funny. Laugh a lot.
Lil Dicky highlights a lot of hilarious things about life in general and then “rap” life. Most of all, this was a good reminder that if I can’t find the humour in my daily happenings, I’m missing the point. I make a conscious effort to spend time with people (my family is at the top of this list) whose values are aligned with mine and who make me cry or snort laugh at least once a day.
So yea, basically I’m a huge fan and would love to have a real life conversation with Dave one day. I’m going to be invite him to come to BodyThoughts when we go to San Francisco in April. I just decided that right now.