Welcome to the age of Kickstarter, Gofundme, Pledgemusic and various other methods of crowdsourcing. For many independent artists, crowdsourcing is a great way to raise money for music videos, albums, and even concert tours. However, Lil Dicky said "Fuck that" and decided to go around begging people to use their homes, cars, yachts, clubs etc. in his music video "$ave Dat Money". Some people were actually nice enough to let him use their stuff with the promise of promoting their business, and thus the most epic rap video ever made on a $0 budget was created.
Yo, dude really went and did it. Got the girls, the cars, the crib, popping bottles and he apparently did it with no money spent. In fact... boy even got PAID. Straight profits bro.
I'm a big fan of Lil Dicky's work, both musically and conceptually. Been a fan of his since his So Hard mixtape. I've got no beef with this video; shit is dope and hilarious. But somebody has to ask the important questions in life... and strike matches.
Would this video have been successful...if Lil Dicky wasn't White?
Would Kendrick Lamar have been able to pull a music video off like this where he goes around several seemingly-White establishments begging to borrow some expensive "props" for a rap video?
Would Mrs. K (the old white lady who owns the house they filmed in the video) have let Joey Bada$$ and the Pro Era crew into her house?
I mean, Lil Dicky himself is no stranger to his own White Privilege. He's even made a song about it before.
I mean, at least dude recognizes it... right?
The reason I ask this question is not to throw shade at Lil Dicky... but really it's to open up a conversation about privilege, cultural appropriation, and where I stand in this Black and White binary as an Asian-American... rapper. It's no secret that Asian-Americans are viewed completely different on either sides of this racial binary. On one hand, the common perception of AAs in the Black community is that we're pretty much just like White people. With the institution of the Model Minority Myth, it would seem that we're favored amongst White American. We're not.
White people pretty much view us as minorities as well. We face discrimination, profiling, and hate crimes as well. White America steam-rolled both of our communities with a divide-and-conquer strategy. And it worked. Asians and Blacks are actually stuck in a Venn Diagram of struggle. It's important to remember that and not get into the "Struggle Olympics," but I'll save that for another post.
Let me get back on track. Is this video an example of White Privilege?
While we're in the same ball park... with all the Macklemore and Iggy Azalea drama last year, is Lil Dicky a perpetrator of cultural appropriation?
I'd really love to know the answer to the second question because it pertains to my career as well. Is this song, which includes many elements of hip-hop (creativity, social commentary, conceptual integrity and flow), an example of cultural appropriation?
Or rather... when hip-hop is done correctly, will the race of an artist factor into the discussion of appropriation?