Lil Dicky, the self-flagellating Jewish rapper slash comedian, came out with another banger on Friday. Born Andrew David Burd, Lil Dicky is known for his hits with rappers Fetty Wap, Rich Homie Quan, and Chris Brown. His songs are about stuff other artists don’t usually discuss, like fiscal responsibility and being a white rapper, and often verge into satire.
Lil Dicky’s latest jam, Earth, takes on new and unusual subject matter, even for him: climate change. The 7-minute music video is his most celebrity-packed yet, featuring Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Halsey, Bad Bunny, PSY, Zac Brown, Miley Cyrus, Sia, Snoop Dogg, and more. How did Dicky get all those celebs to star on his track? Probably the same way he got strangers to let him use their mansions and yachts for free for his $ave Dat Money music video: a lot of begging.
Regardless of how Lil Dicky pulled it off, Earth is already trending on YouTube with 6 million views and climbing, and the rapper worked with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to donate proceeds from the video to climate and environment projects. So what all is the song about? Think “We Are The World,” but animated and millennial as f***.
The video opens with a clip of a newscaster talking about the fires that ripped through California last year. But the video rapidly leaves the sweltering California streets and enters an animated world, replete with talking bald eagles and safari animals.
Dicky frolics with penguins, analyzes chatty microbes under a microscope, and talks to a marijuana plant voiced by Snoop Dogg (duh). The video might look like a Disney channel special, but isn’t too concerned with being wholesome (Justin Bieber’s line: “I’m a baboon. I’m like a man just less advanced and my anus is huge).
The second half of the video is a call to action. “These days it’s like we don’t know how to act, all these shootings, pollution, we under attack on ourselves,” he says. “Like let’s all just chill.” Gripping stuff.
If you don’t want to watch an animated Lil Dicky sing about the planet in a loincloth g-string for seven minutes, I don’t blame you. But think of it this way: what if this whole video is a critique of the tired and worn-out tropes used by old-school Earth Day advocates? Hmm??
As Dicky recently told TIME in an interview, “If we don’t completely redefine how we do everything on earth, from an energy perspective, from a food perspective, from a conserving nature perspective, in the next 12 years, the damage is irreversible and we’re screwed.” Clearly, he knows that recycling bottles and changing light bulbs isn’t enough to get ourselves out of this climate predicament.
Then again, the celebrities in his video are contributing more than their fair share of pollution by jetting around the world to play shows, as Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg points out. Commenters have also noted some racist and misogynistic tropes. (Case in point: Lil Dicky points out India, Germany, and “Africa” as he twirls around the globe. You can’t group a whole continent with a bunch of countries, ya dingus.) Maybe this shit isn’t that deep and I’m just looking for an excuse to dunk on Earth Day? You be the judge.
Either way, the fact that Lil Dicky chose to focus one of his songs on climate change in the first place marks a shift in popular culture. “I’d like to figure out a way to impact humanity as best as I possibly can beyond my typical d**k and fart jokes,” he said. Well, Mr. Dicky, I guess you succeeded?