Last spring, San Francisco rapper Lil Dicky (a.k.a. David Burd) released a free online mixtape called So Hard, and put a bunch of hilariously catchy music videos on YouTube. The Internet approved. We spoke to him about being a viral video sensation and a regular guy. Plus, he answers the same 10 questions we always ask everyone.
Your YouTube videos are exploding, and you post them really frequently. How has the public responded so far?
I look at the comments on the YouTube, on the videos, and on social media, and no matter what, when you put something out, especially if it’s opinionated or absurd, you're going to get hate. I’m pretty surprised at the lack of hate. It's been mostly love all around.
How do you respond to people calling you a humor rapper?
I’m more of a rapper who is funny, and I don’t think there’s ever been anybody that’s been really good at rapping that has chosen to rap in a funny way. People who are good at rapping tend to typically rap the same way every other rapper raps. My goal whenever I make a song is to have to check two boxes: funny and good musicality.
So what does it mean to be a "regular guy rapper," as you have described yourself?
I tend to rap about normal guy things. I think a lot of rap is just escalated to a place that many people can't relate to. It has felt like it's impossible to relate to rap unless you’re like, making tons of money or, you know, committing tons of crimes. It doesn't resonate with suburban America. The only way it's been done is in a Lonely Island cheesy way. My niche is that I’m relatable. I don’t rap about going to the club and popping bottles. I’ll write about staying in, or how terrible that club is and I just want to go home and eat food. The stuff that everyone goes through, as opposed to, you know, smoking-weed-with-strippers-in-the-club-type-stuff.
What do your parents think about your videos?
It’s been a process with them. They were scared that I would put something out there and I wouldn’t be able to get another job again, and that I’d get fired. They thought it would really hurt my ability to live a normal life, and I was trying to tell them not to worry about it. But now they're proud after seeing the success the videos have. But they probably wish it could be done a little more PG-13.
What does it take to make a viral YouTube video?
You know, if something’s really good musically, then it could go viral, and if something’s good comedy-wise, it could go viral. Having both doubles the odds of being successful on YouTube. Half of the viewers are watching because they love rap music and the other half watch to laugh. You just need to be good at what you’re doing and be simple about it. All of my videos cost about $2,000 to make.
AND NOW, THE SAME 10 QUESTIONS WE ALWAYS ASK EVERYONE
What was the last thing you had to apologize for?
Eating my roommate’s chips.
How many roommates do you have?
Three. Three dudes.
What’s your favorite curse word or phrase?
What's the worst hangover you’ve ever had?
I was at a camp, and I was a counselor there. There was a counselor party one night, and a lot of (this is really embarrassing) these counselors are grown women, as in mothers of these kids. So a bunch of us got drunk before the party. I was blacked out, I barely remember anything. I puked and had to get driven home and carried up my steps by people my mom had never met. I couldn’t have been more hungover. I had to go to work and I remember falling asleep in the middle of the day, at the pool, just not being able to control it at all because I was just so hungover.
What was your first car?
My first car was a '99 Toyota Camry.
Do you have a scar that tells a story?
I have a chicken pox scar on my nose that doesn’t really tell any story beyond the fact that I had chicken pox as a child.
Do you have a party trick?
I suppose rapping a little bit, you know, if I’m in the right crew. People aren't expecting it from me, so it works well.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve ever put in your mouth?
Do people normally answer these questions with like, a titty? Honestly, is that fair game? I would say a breast, but I don’t know if that’s a ridiculous answer. Let's just say a titty.
What is one thing to remember in a fist fight?
Not to be in one, I’d say. I just can’t imagine any situation where that’s a good idea. I actually thought the other day about how much it would suck to have to punch somebody in the face. That would really probably hurt my wrist. There’s never a time where that’s a good idea. I’d probably get the shit beaten out of me and just hurt myself.
Who was the last person to see you naked?
My roommate. I’m pretty much comfortable being naked so, he walked in and I was naked. This was yesterday. He tried to Snap-Chat it, but I wouldn’t let him.
Finish this sentence: “If I ruled the world for a day, I would…”
I’d probably have sex with a lot of actresses. That’s the first thing that came to mind: sex. And getting head.
Download "So Hard" on Lil Dicky's website and keep up with his videos on YouTube.
Check out Questlove's New Memoir and Rockstar Playlist: Andrew W.K.