[Words By: K1ng Eljay]
- The Favorites
- “Pillow Talking” (feat. Brain)
- “$ave Dat Money” (feat. Rich Homie Quan and Fetty Wap)
Firstly, read this.Seriously, read this and then come back. You may have known this review was coming, but just in case you didn’t, here’s a quick preface for you…
Lil Dicky’s an interesting individual, indeed. The first time he’s popped up on most of our radars was when “Lemme Freak” dropped and had us all watching the video on YouTube in amusement. Since then, he’s been on tour, done multiple awkwardly shot personal vlogs to update his fans, dropped dope songs like “The Gumption“, collaborated with Mickey Christmas, and much more, but that’s not why we’re doing this quick preface.
The problem with that particular single being the first thing most have heard is that it’s hard to distinguish legitimate rap skills from that. Every time I mention L.D. in conversations, people reference one of two things: firstly, the “Lemme Freak” video, or – not surprisingly – the “White Dude” visual. Granted, that has to be a part of the conversation since those are singles he released, but the more you know about L.D’s previous music, the more you realize how much he’s actually sobered up off the jokes (sort of) and has tied it into a legitimately great debut album.
Professional Rapper is hilarious, smart, witty, and overall as clever as any project you’ll hear this year, even if it is for completely different reasons than, say, To Pimp A Butterfly, or The Meth Lab (METHOD MAN BACK, BRUH). It goes against the grain of normal topics in rap, but with a purposeful calculation that makes it hard to disagree with
(mainly because Earth go hard). When Dicky rapped to Snoop Dogg that he wanted to do this differently, he wasn’t lying by any means.
It’s not a perfect project, and nothing truly is anymore with minor exceptions – but the interesting thing is that Professional Rapper swan dives towards those imperfections and makes them arguably the highlights of the project. On one end of the spectrum, L.D. decides to out of nowhere just rap for about five minutes straight on a couple of occasions (“Bruh…”, “The Antagonist”) and each one has a different vibe that’s a full 180 from the other. “Bruh…” has him flipping lines and punchlines with a vigor that most of our favorite rappers can’t even begin to match, and the lines are ingenious to boot. Inversely, “The Antagonist” has him literally looking for something to get mad about, but bringing it full circle at the end in a revealing manner.
Those “imperfect” moments continue with the character L.D. displays here. The “Lemme Freak For Real Tho (Outro)” is one of the more enjoyable moments full of quotables (“What’s your policy on birth control?”) that would not work anywhere else, except here, with him. Cheesy moments like “Molly” work because it’s not forced. “$ave Dat Money” features an inaccurate (but incredible) verse from Rich Homie Quan and vocals from Billboard monster Fetty Wap as L.D. goes completely against rap culture today to encourage saving money in every area of life.
Funny… because Macklemore did the same thing with “Thrift Shop,” but no one recognized it.
However, for every “imperfect” part, there’s an equally impressive song to go with it. “Oh Well” features Jace of Two-9, and is done extremely well. “Personality” with T-Pain seems destined to be a single in the future, and it could work due to the different angle in the writing. The “Truman” outro is literally one of the most spirited things I’ve had the honor of hearing this year; it’s not often where someone’s ambitions spill out via raps and resound so heavily, but it does here.
…That being said, none of this matters because “Pillow Talking” exists. If there’s a moment that’s the pinnacle of the project that both sides of the coin of rap appreciation could…uh… appreciate, then it may be here, where L.D. details his late night conversation with a female whose womb he had just invaded (twice). What happens in the next ten minutes is ridiculous, entertaining, and proof that L.D. should write short stories (shout out to Brain). I’ve never quite heard a song structured like this, but yet this imperfect, out-of-place song is easily one of the highlights of the project.
Lil’ Dicky caught me by surprise with the project, and I can easily say that if L.D. got serious for a full project, some rappers would genuinely be in trouble because he could lyrically eat them alive (how crazy is that to read?) due to his skills, cadences, and ability to still remain comical when throwing bars. That being said, the funny moments on this project lengthens the replay value, and also proves that there is indeed a lane for this type of music when done correctly. If L.D’s serious about proving himself, and he continues to go down this path, he could truly reach the plateau of greatness.
That is, if Brain doesn’t beat him there.
The Quick Recap
- + Lil’ Dicky recruits a bit of everyone to help launch his brand of rap to the general public, from T-Pain, Snoop Dogg, and Jace, to Panic At The Disco!. And, of course, Brain.
- – L.D. still left a bit of fat on the project that holds it back. “Classic Male Pregame” could’ve stayed on YouTube and no one would’ve noticed. “White Crime” is clever, but also sadly can easily be picked apart due to social situations – which is completely NOT the point of the song, but #internetculture sucks sometimes.
- + The best moments on the project are when L.D. swings for the fences with unorthodox ideas, such as “Pillow Talking”, or “Bruh…”, or even “The Antagonist”, as he raps literally in circles.
- + The amount of character L.D. displays in the project is incredible, and the quips laced through tracks (“Do you f**k with ‘de war?”) make this not only a solid project, but a fun one at that. Who Knew?
The REDEFINED Rating
4 out of 5