David Burd, aka LD aka Lil Dicky, seems to have the formula that has allowed him to make a viral music video just about every time he steps up to the plate. In 2017 it was “Pillow Talking,” an eleven-minute conversation over a soft beat between Dicky and a one-night lover about her ignorance and close-mindedness. Just last year it was “Freaky Friday,” a radio hit with Chris Brown where they switch bodies and Dicky gets to say the N-word in his counterpart’s beautiful singing voice. And this year on April 19, Lil Dicky released “Earth.”
LD has always claimed to be a comedian that just happens to be musically talented and in all of his songs he makes this as apparent as possible. He makes music that creates a lasting impression on everyone listening and watching, but then adds important messages so he can get a point across in between all of his jokes. In “Pillow Talking,” the message was being open to different ways of thinking, “Freaky Friday” was about loving who you are and in “Earth,” LD attempts to explain that “scientists are saying that we have about 12 years to turn this environmental crisis around or we’re screwed.” This specific piece of information is at the seven-minute mark of a seven-minute and 11-second video, which would be determined as ineffective if Dicky wanted his main message to be about the environmental crisis. But the video doesn’t let you look away; it makes sure that you’ll be hearing that message at the end.
The song isn’t anywhere near fantastic, but neither was “Pillow Talking.” Both songs know that the lyrical content and message being provided is more important than the radio and/or replay potential and are just focused on capturing the viewer’s attention so those messages can be received.
The “Earth” music video begins with news footage from California’s wildfires, and the song starts when a kid opens a magic book with an animated Earth in it. Over 20 artists playing different life on Earth flood the video and keep the viewer watching to see what animal their favorite singer ends up voicing. People haven’t heard Justin Bieber’s voice in a long time, so of course his appearance as a baboon in the first few seconds would excite people. A marijuana plant is voiced by none other than Snoop Dogg, the HPV virus by Lil Yachty and Kanye West voiced by Kevin Hart.
All these jokes aside, when Lil Dicky actually begins his talk-over-music rap verse, he states, “But these days it’s like we don’t know how to act, all these shootings, pollution, we’re under attack on ourselves” and follows this with a request that we all just “chill.” He personally says “we’re cool” with Russia and then forgives Germany. The animation at the end shows him standing at the top of Mount Everest, talking about how even though we’re not all the same, we live on the same Earth and we have to save it. Justin Bieber questions in song “are we gonna die?” and Dicky says: possibly, because people don’t think climate change is real.
If anything I’ve discussed makes no sense, I would suggest you watch the music video. That’s the genius Lil Dicky has when making these videos—if a friend were explaining it to me, it would become a “no you just have to see it, I can’t even put it in to words” type of conversation. And that’s how Lil Dicky’s messages spread every time he releases music.
Lil Dicky promises in the video that all the revenue from streams and plays of the song will go to charity, which I believe is a great way to start awareness. I think anyone who knows of Lil Dicky and his music on a surface level would be impressed by the rapper’s dedication to opening people’s minds in positive ways that will ultimately create good in the world. His messages brought to the viewer through both music and comedy will surely be taken more into account than when your high school environmental science teacher says the same thing, and I think that is the way artists with large platforms will be preaching to their audiences from here on out.
And not to get all Katara from Avatar on the readers—but I believe Lil Dicky can change the world.
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