Lil Dicky for fall WILD uninspired, problematic headliner
The big secret is out—the headliner for 2017 fall WILD is rapper Lil Dicky.
With last year’s fall concert canceled due to the presidential debate, the event has seen a hiatus that some were hoping would bounce back with a bang. The rumor mill indicated that Ke$ha would grace the stage, while others were still happy to ride the Jason Derulo hype left over from the spring. With all the expectations surrounding WILD, its not surprising that reactions to Lil Dicky are mixed.
But let’s be real—there really never is a true WILD artist consensus. There are always students ticked off that Beyonce isn’t coming. But complaints this year have been particularly varied since the Social Programming Board’s announcement on Wednesday.
Lil Dicky has been described as a “comedic rapper,” blending elements of satire about hip-hop culture into his music. Think Lonely Island meets Mac Miller with arguably weirder music videos. But some aren’t sure whether they want comedy thrown into WILD, rather than just a musical act. Others had concerns over his eclectic discography, and many have taken to social media to call out the rapper for racist and sexist elements in his lyrics.
I’ll be very honest—I don’t know Lil Dicky’s music very well. Sure, I’ve heard “Ex-Boyfriend,” and who hasn’t been shown the “Pillowtalking” video, but other than that, I’m clueless. Same with the double openers: hip-hop artist Lizzo and electropop group A R I Z O N A are fairly unknown to me. Our artists this fall seem to be either very niche (comedy rap is not a genre I knew existed), or fairly generic.
And while Lil Dicky’s music may translate well into expensive music videos (“Pillowtalking” came in at the 49th of all time), his nonsensical lyrics might not play so well on the main stage.
Also, most of the songs off his only album, “Professional Rapper,” also involve extensive back and forth with big industry names. The title track features a three-minute conversation with Snoop Dogg, an act we probably won’t see show up for a guest appearance. Fetty Wap, T-Pain, Hannibal Buress and even Brendon Urie of Panic at the Disco fame make prominent appearances on the album. It seems like part of Lil Dicky’s music is lacking outside of a supported studio setting.
I referenced Mac Miller earlier, but I’ll (unfortunately) bring up his 2015 WILD appearance again to point out how similar these two acts seem. In my four and a half WILDs, we’ve gotten Icona Pop, Mac Miller, Kygo and Jason Derulo. All-American Rejects were the only non-pop or rap performance to hit the stage, but SPB seems wary of bringing another full-band group.
Lil Dicky might be fine for this fall, but here’s hoping SPB will branch out in the spring and bring a larger variety of genres to Brookings Quadrangle. We’ve already had Bo Burnham and Mac Miller, no need to combine the two.
So best of luck to Lil Dicky—hopefully he’s got more up his sleeve than the same stuff we’ve heard before.