The crowd packed into Burruss Hall deviated from the usual VT favorite, “Let’s Go! Hokies!” on Friday, February 10th. Instead, the 3003 individuals who attended the sold-out concert chanted the initials of Lil Dicky, the comedic rapper headlining the event.
David Andrew Burd, or Lil Dickey, is a songwriter and rapper who had an interesting beginning to his career. Working in San Francisco at an advertising agency, he delivered his three-page monthly progress report in the form of a rap video. He was then moved to the agency’s creative department, and found a fan base for his rap on Twitter and YouTube. In an interview with HipHopDX in 2014, Burd explained that he “started rapping simply to get attention comedically, so [he] could write movies, write TV shows and act.” Burd began a Kickstarter campaign in November 2013 with the goal of raising $70,000 to fund his new album; by December 2013, he had raised $113,000 instead. That album, Professional Rapper, was released July 2015, and Burd, now established as Lil Dicky or LD, has been touring on and off since that date.
Virginia Tech Union (VTU) brought LD to Tech Friday and the students, alumni, and community members in attendance went nuts for him. DJ C-Jay opened, playing several hip hop throw-backs and favorites, getting the crowd in a hyped-up mood. When he finished his set, the crowd began the afore-mentioned chant: “Lets Go! LD!”
I found myself sitting next to a brother and sister who shared an appreciation for LD. Ben and Amanda Galvin, the latter a VT alumna, have both previously seen Lil Dicky perform. They agreed that he is “hysterical,” and Ben explained that LD’s music is different than most other rap in that the content is satirical. Amanda likes him because “he’s breaking into something in an alternative way. He’s not trying to do it to be different, but because it’s funny and it’s what he likes.”
Amanda couldn’t choose her favorite LD song, but she narrowed it down to her top three: Molly, because it feels different than the rest and features Brenden Urie, the lead vocalist of Panic! at the Disco; Let Me Freak because it’s true, and Pillow Talk because it’s weird. Ben’s favorite is White Dude, because it’s “messed up” and makes fun of white privilege. “I’m into satirical stuff,” he said, “and [Lil Dicky] is into telling it like it is.”
Finally, Burd took the stage, and for the hour that he performed, he kept the crowd laughing. He opened with the National Anthem (much to everyone’s apparent delight as they all yelled along), and covered a few random songs as he told stories between those off his album. “This morning I was singing in the shower, and I truly believe if I went on American Idol and sang this song, I’d go to Hollywood,” he said before bursting into the chorus of R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly.” LD’s originals were just as loved as his covers, and most of the audience sang along, lifting their lit up phones and raising their hands in the air. His dance moves accompanying many of his songs involved a lot of arms flailing everywhere, and his walk back and forth across the stage was often exaggerated.
The Lil Dicky concert was an entertaining event regardless of the fact that I’d only ever heard one of his songs before the night of the performance. His personality was lively and fun, and he was thankful that his job is performing and rapping for fans screaming his name. The crowd obviously supported him, even booing when he mentioned his ex-girlfriend, about whom the song “Molly” is written, recently got engaged. His rapping did not disappoint the wild crowd that had gathered to see him, and certainly many will choose to see him in concert again.