If all you knew of Lil Dicky was the intro to his newest music video, accompanying his first new song in three years, you’d have a pretty good idea of who he is, or at least who he thinks he is. Lil Dicky, whose real name is Dave Burd, sits in a Chinese restaurant with two other friends. A fan walks up to him, and can’t believe he’s really Lil Dicky; the man’s girlfriend also can’t believe he’s a rapper, until he clarifies that, no, “he’s not like a rapper rapper. He’s like, a funny rapper.” Humbling served, Dicky sees superstar Chris Brown on TV, and wishes they could trade places. Surprise, they do, and the video for his song “Freaky Friday” is off and running. Chris Brown lives Dicky’s life, dodging phone calls from his mother and living in relative obscurity, while Dicky gets a day in Brown’s shoes, which he uses as an opportunity to say the n-word and show off some dance moves. Jewish, self-deprecating, struggling to legitimize himself as more than rap-adjacent. That’s the man right there.
The News: Lil Dicky has officially made his return (not counting his vanity side-project, I’m Brain, an EP released by a character he does called, you guessed it, Brain).
Fans expecting the rap-focused Dicky of Professional Rapper (2015)—“Bars, man, you be spittin’ bars”—won’t find him on this song. It’s more of a Chris Brown song in its danceability, as well as in its reception. It’s kind of hard to avoid that when your featured artist is probably more famous for beating Rihanna than his considerable talent, but if Dicky minds, he’s yet to say anything about it (though he does briefly reference Brown’s “controversial past” in the song).
The song is funny, as expected, and Dicky gets to flex his new fame. The video features Kendall Jenner, Ed Sheeran, and DJ Khaled too, and he’s obviously reached new heights in his clout. What he’ll choose to do with it remains to be seen.
Jesse Bernstein is a former Intern at Tablet.