Why would a rapper catapult himself to fame under a name that exudes the opposite of BDE? Because Lil Dicky isn’t just a rapper, he’s a comedic artist. In FXX’s Dave, a new show based on Burd’s life written with Seinfeld writer Jeff Schaffer, the Jewish musician defends his stage name: “It’s actually a super-intellectual commentary on hypermasculinity.” (For those wondering, it measures two inches when flaccid. “Great girth tho,” Burd has said in a Reddit forum.)
An overnight success with a new TV show, Lil Dicky is achieving his dream of going from “the YouTube rapper with the small dick” to a Professional Rapper (the name of his first and only full album) with clout.
Don’t believe us? Here are 18 things you should know about Lil Dicky:
1. Burd was raised in an upper middle class Jewish home in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. He went to Cheltenham High School (as did Benjamin Netanyahu, weird fact) and was voted class clown: “I was a pussy. I was really awkward looking. I wasn’t getting any girls at all, but I was very class-clownish and I got good grades.”
2. Before rap fame, Burd was a 22-year-old “low man on the totem pole” or “that bitch” working on the Doritos account at advertising firm Goodby Silverstein & Partners. To get noticed, instead of sending a regular Word document with a report on chip sales, he emailed the team a rap of the analytics over Drake’s “Best I Ever Had.” The stunt landed him the role as lead writer on NBA commercials. Pretty dope.
3. The first music video he released on YouTube, “Ex Boyfriend,” went viral overnight with 1 million views. Burd’s parents and girlfriend begged him not to drop the 10-minute video because it would make it harder for him to get another job. Imagine where he’d be if he listened to his support system!
After quitting his job Burd raised $100,000 with a Kickstarter to fund his absurdly hilarious music videos for Professional Rapper, his 2015 full length album.
4. Burd used his bar mitzvah money ($6,000) to fund “Ex-Boyfriend,” the first music video on his debut mixtape “So Hard.” Were his parents on board? Not really. Burd’s defense? “What am I gonna do, buy a couch when I’m 28-years-old?”
5. After seeing him perform at his Jewish summer camp, Camp Kweebec, hip hop group 112 asked Burd to open for them: “I was this little rapping kid and they liked me.”
6. Lil Dicky believes he’s in the running for most Jewish rapper in the game, but identifies with Judaism culturally, not religiously. “I think I’ve overblown my Judaism in terms of how actually observant I am. I’m not observant in the slightest but I definitely identify culturally with it.”
7. Birthright rejected him — can you believe?? On his first trip to Israel in 2017, Burd performed two sold-out shows in Tel Aviv and ventured on a DIY Birthright trip with a camel ride and visits to religious sites. “I feel like 4th of July in America is about celebrating our homeland, and I think it’s cool to be in my religion’s homeland on such a day.”
Israel, King David has returned
— Dave (@lildickytweets) July 3, 2017
8. Fellow Jewish rapper Mac Miller gave him advice when he was starting out. Lil Dicky tweeted after Miller’s passing, “when i began my career he went out of his way to talk to me on the phone and give me advice. an amazing artist and human being.”
so sad. mac miller was a great dude. when i began my career he went out of his way to talk to me on the phone and give me advice. an amazing artist and human being
— Dave (@lildickytweets) September 7, 2018
9. About that stage name: He has Hypospadias, a birth defect where the opening of the urethra, the tube where urine comes out of, is on the underside of the penis instead of at the tip. The surgeries Burd got on his lil dick straight out of the womb have affected him his entire life and is the basis for his alter-ego stage name, Lil Dicky.
In an interview with The Ringer, Burd elaborated:
“I like that people can watch [the show] and be like, ‘Oh, he’s probably just joking’… But then at the same time, I hate it. Because then it just makes it a dick joke. When really it’s the biggest truth of my life that I’m revealing. And it should be taken seriously, because it’s the thing that’s always weighed on me my whole life. It’s the reason I am who I am, is my dick. I know that sounds crazy. It’s the reason my name’s Lil Dicky. It’s the reason I’m so neurotic. It’s my gift and my curse.”
10. Those interludes on the phone with his parents in Professional Rapper? Yup, they’re real. “You couldn’t fake something like that,” he told Canadian Jewish News.
“My parents are just absurd characters, and classic Jewish parents so I felt I had to document it. I think who I am as a person has a lot to do with my parents, and I think that’s important to show. I’m probably as neurotic as I am because my parents were overprotective and made me think about shit all the time.”
Relatable! Also, please listen to the interludes. They’re gold.
One more note about his mom, Jeanne Burd: Her ringtone is Lil Dicky’s “Earth” and she described him to the New York Times as “not afraid to say what was on his mind and he was always fearless and confident.”
11. Hyper-neuroticism isn’t the only Jewish stereotype he wears on his sleeve — Burd loves a bargain, so much so that he made a music video with Fetty Wap and Rich Homie Quan without spending any money. Well, he spent a wee bit of cash on “$ave Dat Money,” but otherwise made a profit.
12. On the other hand, Burd’s “Pillow Talking” 11-minute long video using CGI is the 49th most expensive music video ever produced.
The bill? $700,000.
13. As all of Lil Dicky’s comedic rap is based on real experiences, the Jewish rappers music videos and lyrics are dripping with Jewish motifs and references. Matzah, Israeli flags, a menorah, and a synagogue make cameos in “All K,” but “Jewish Flow” truly takes the cake for Jewiest track.
Inspired by Hitler’s charismatic speeches that, to Burd, looked like a rap performance, “Jewish Flow” begins with a rap battle between the Jewish artist and real footage of the famed anti-Semite.
Noteable lyrics: Sicker than the Holocaust/That motherfuckerfuckin’ Jewish flow/That Third Reich raw/Concentration camp cold/Now we rollin’ in that motherfuckin’ dough’.
14. The silver medal for Burd’s most Jewish music video goes to “All K.” Satirizing the fact that as a white, Jewish rapper, he can’t say the most commonly used noun in hip hop, the “N” word. The video begins with text reading: “In a rap landscaped littered with hardened criminals, hyper-masculinity and irrational swagger, a mild Jewish boy can struggle for acceptance.”
So what does he do? He pulls a Manischewitz bottle out of a brown paper bag, sits on a chair in front of a menorah while women twerk on his lap, and feeds matzah to gaggle of Black men in front of a synagogue while he spits bars like: Watchu know about a balla/born and raised on the Kaballah/tryna make a dollar, until I’m cakin and stacking challah.”
His point? “Yeah, I’m saying/If they can say the “N”-word/I sure as fuck can say Kike.”
15. A crusader for safe sex, Lil Dicky collaborated with Trojan condoms for a series of PSAs to educate the masses about the sexiness of wrapping it up. In “The Big Talk,” dressed in a grey turtleneck and donning his Harry Potter glasses, he rants about the importance of using condoms and says: “Condom sex is still cool. Like, it still feels good. You’re still fucking.”
The first episode of Dave actually begins with Burd at an STI check-up, which is based on a real-life event.
I just got my std results back. I am clean. I can't emphasize how stressful this process was. Now I will look to destigmatize genital herpes
— Dave (@lildickytweets) January 6, 2016
16. Burd always wanted to be a comedian. Growing up, he idolized Larry David, Adam Sandler, and Seth Rogen.
“I felt like the feedback I was getting as a child when I met people was, ‘Oh, you’re really funny.’ I found that very validating,” he told Vulture. “I thought to myself, ‘I don’t believe the Larry Davids or Seth Rogens of the world began as anything more than somebody’s funny friend.’”
17. His latest and most animated music video, “Earth,” is touted as a “charity single” featuring a plethora of A-list celebrities, including Ariana Grande, Justin Beiber, Miley Cyrus, John Legend, and way more that you can Google. It’s fair to ask how in the heck Burd got these objectively more famous singers to sign onto the project, and we have the simple answer: The Jewish rapper shares the same manager as Grande and Beiber, the famed Scooter Braun.
Despite the A-list cameos, Pitchfork named “Earth” one of the worst songs they heard in 2019, even worse than “Freaky Friday,” the song he put out with Rihanna’s domestic abuser Chris Brown (notably, it reached #8 on the Billboard Top 100).
18. At the moment of writing this article, David Andrew Burd is single. In an interview with British DJ Tim Westwood, he predicted he’d peak and be “at the height of my powers” at 35. “I think I’ll have just met the love of my life which is like, a huge deal. Half of my satisfaction will have come from that.” On March 15, 2020, Burd will turn 32.
19. Bonus: Burd thinks he eats too many bagels. He does not.
I'm eating way too many bagels right now
— Dave (@lildickytweets) July 9, 2015
Like, we only found one bagel on his Instagram:
Image by Noam Galai/Getty Images