By: Alex Scheib
The song “Earth” by Lil Dicky is the “We Are the World” of Generation Z. Rapper Lil Dicky is typically known for creating upbeat, laughable songs. His discography includes two albums with one of his most popular songs being “Freaky Friday” where he switches bodies/voices with rapper Chris Brown. Others are entitled “Lemme Freak” or “$ave Dat Money”, whose content is about as silly as the grammar in their titles. Don’t get me wrong though: Lil Dicky is by no means a joke. He knows what he’s doing, he knows what will sell, and he is passionate about using his craft to make this world a better place. “Earth” came out four years ago, in 2019. In the beginning of the music video, we hear a news announcer’s voice discussing the wildfires and drought which ran rampant through Southern California at the time the song came out. This was before the COVID-19 pandemic! Since then, extreme weather events and disease have merely grown at the hands of climate change, as frequency and intensity rise with each passing day. By remaining timeless and relevant, this song continues to be a reminder of just how much we’re ruining the planet around us.
The remarkable thing about “Earth,” and the reason why it became so popular, is that Lil Dicky managed to rally 20 celebrities to be featured in this work. Some, like avid environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio, were likely easy to convince, but this song also features Justin Beiber, Katy Perry, and Maroon V. Each one of these celebrities depicts a different animal or species that is in jeopardy from climate change. From Zac Brown as a cow, to Kanye West as himself, to Snoop Dogg as a marijuana plant, this song showcases artists across all genres to come together with one main focus: protecting the planet.
This concept of having musicians unite to create a song for change is not a new one. The song “We are the World” by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie has been used a few times to raise money for different humanitarian causes. In 1985, it raised money for African famine relief; In 2010, celebrities did an anniversary edition to raise money for victims of the Haitian Earthquake. When 20 celebrities come together to create art around one cause, it is a big deal, and its impacts reach way beyond to improve society.
“Earth” by Lil’ Dicky appeals to an audience that wouldn’t necessarily otherwise be interested in sustainability. It’s not for an Earth student like me, but it's for any person who listens to Lil’ Dicky. “Earth” has close to 200 million plays on Spotify, showing its widespread reach. The song’s one flaw is that it is quite explicit, so it doesn’t reach children. Children are the future, and they are the ones who will be cleaning up the planet, so an equivalent clean version that could be played on the radio would be ideal to help reach kids and their parents. Understanding this song is of critical importance, and everyone should listen carefully to the message embedded within it.
After reading this, please go give it a listen, keep the song relevant, and incorporate it back into the algorithms. Let's hope it reminds you to recycle, support green businesses, and donate something instead of throwing it away.