Lil Dicky (aka David Burd) popped onto the scene in 2013 with his first mixtape titled, So Hard. Since then, the 27-year-old comedic rapper has been gracing the internet with personalized hip-hop narratives that champion the average Joe. His most recent single, Professional Rapper (feat. Snoop Dogg), details his aspirations to flip the rap game script by focusing on the goofy, mundane and everyday aspects of life instead of the hyped-up, bottle popping, glock-cocking themes common in today’s hip-hop. The song is structured as an interview between Snoop Dogg (as himself) and Dicky as he vies for a professional rapper position at Snoop’s fictional record label company (Rap Game, Inc). The cartooned music video for Professional Rapper foregrounds the track’s animated hilarity, illustrating Dicky’s pitch points, further conveying what makes him stand out, while also poking fun at stereotypical aspects of the rap industry.
Compared to other rappers, Lil Dicky’s street cred could be seen as, well, nonexistent. As he puts it to Snoop at the beginning of their “interview,” Dicky’s a dude straight outta’ Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania, who hustled as an account manager after gettin’ schooled at the University of Richmond in Virginia. While his background isn’t typical for a mainstream rapper, Dicky attempts to convince Snoop that he could still thrive in the industry through his quick-witted and fast-paced lyricism.
Snoop’s company is rife with caricatures of rap industry: mean-muggin’, chain-sportin’, inked-up, indoor-sunglasses-wearing background characters (artists and employees) who starkly accentuate how much Dicky doesn’t fit in. Dicky’s interview with Snoop is a conversational rap between the elder and younger artists, played over a simple, snare- heavy beat.
To test Dicky’s authenticity, Snoop asks Dicky what he would do if two tough guys confront him at a club—a stereotypical scene in mainstream hip hop culture. Dicky admits he wouldn’t do anything, to which Snoop replies “If you wanna do this / Then you won’t get far acting like a little bitch.” Dicky defends himself saying, “Nah, that’s my niche” and goes on to say, “I’m just saying I have a different background / Like a different perspective way of looking at things than your typical applicant.”
Throughout the video, in an allusion to his corporate experience, we also see Dicky sitting across from the Doggfather in his office and in a boardroom presenting flowcharts, slideshows, and graphs to help prove his worthiness. He also acts out many of the descriptions in the song, which serve as fun visual aids to his wacky lyrics.