Up-and-coming rapper Lil Dicky is known for his YouTube videos that parody contemporary cultural norms. Some of his most popular videos include “White Dude” and “Ex-Boyfriend.” The artist discussed his rise to YouTube fame, his current projects and his future goals with the Daily Trojan at his home in Santa Monica, Calif. on Sunday. A lightly edited version of the transcript follows.
DT: What made you pursue rap as a career?
LD: I started rapping because I knew I wanted to do something in comedy, and I knew that I would have a better chance of getting noticed if I came in through an interesting outlet.
I didn’t want to be a rapper, necessarily. I wanted it to be the gateway to what I wanted to be.
DT: Who are your musical inspirations?
LD: Drake, J. Cole, A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar. I like Donald Glover a lot too, but more just as a guy with similar aspirations.
DT: So who’s your favorite rapper?
LD: Drake is my favorite rapper … probably ever.
DT: Can you see yourself reaching a Drake-level of stardom?
LD: I can see myself being one of the bigger rappers in the world. That’s what I would deem successful.
DT: What is it like trying to become commercially successful as a “comedy” rapper?
LD: There’s a stigma because no good rappers have done it … but I’m getting attention from completely different people — people who like rap and people who like entertainment and comedy … So you double your audience. Just because it’s not hitting in a mainstream way doesn’t mean it’s not hitting f–king society.
DT: “White Dude” is one of your most popular songs and videos, and perhaps your most political. Would you describe it as a satire of our hyper-PC culture, or is it just in-your-face comedy?
LD: That’s a great question. I’d definitely say it’s a combination of the two. And I’m not trying to play some super artistic hero. On a macro level there is intelligence behind the satire of it, but I’m also trying to make individual jokes that make people laugh. I believe very strongly in the joke. That’s my philosophy … I don’t believe in God, I believe in the joke. No matter how politically incorrect it is, if it can make people laugh I believe in it, and I think the South Park guys were that way as well … People also don’t realize the satire I’m doing is just within the genre of rap. Looking at the stuff other rappers are allowed to say, and the way they’re allowed to be proud of their race — they do it in a pretty obnoxious fashion themselves. I think you can get away with doing a lot in the rap context because of the way the game has evolved.
DT: From listening to your music, one would think that Judaism is a major part of your identity. Is this really the case or do you milk the fact that you’re Jewish because it’s an easy part of yourself to poke fun at?
LD: I think it’s me milking a part of my persona that’s easy to milk. From here on forward you’re gonna see a lot less Judaism … I’m very Jewish culturally, but I don’t believe in any form of the religion. If I were to characterize myself I’d get to Jewish in the first three sentences, but I feel like I’ve over-branded myself as this Jewish thing.
DT: What else can we expect from your new music and your forthcoming album?
LD: There might end up being an EP before the album comes out. I’m not putting an album out until I feel like it’s legendary, and I’ve underestimated how long that will take. So in an effort to maintain my patience in a non-stressful way, I think I need to put something out in the meantime.
DT: How would you describe your new music?
LD: It’s a very serious combination of funny and serious. It’s going to be your “Russell Westbrook on a Farm” and your “Ex-Boyfriend’ — hopefully on an elevated level.
DT: In “Russell Westbrook on a Farm,” you mention conversations with “big dawgs from sitcoms” and dinner meetings in New York City. Are these real elements of your life?
LD: Yeah, the vice president of Comedy Central called my cell phone … Yeah, they are.
DT: So what kind of projects do they want to see you in?
LD: They’re not being like, “We have this for you.” They’re asking, “What are you interested in doing?” I’m interested of making my own version of Girls meets Curb Your Enthusiasm for us — about the post-grad male. It’s also gonna be about a rapper and it could turn very Entourage-esque as the rapper achieves fame.
DT: Would you want to write the show?
DT: Do you have any background in that?
LD: No. But I’m so confident. That is what I was born to do: write comedy.