To hear Dad tell it, his recent round of inspiration was forged in fire, and sealed by a moonlit night.
“It felt like I was tripping,” the Milwaukee rapper explains. “I had put into this fire a piece of paper with a message of not chasing anything, of just letting abundance come to me. I threw it in this fire and I’m chilling for a couple of hours. Everybody is asleep and I’m the last one up. And suddenly it popped into my mind, this piece of paper where I wrote, ‘Abundance will come.’
“And then I come out into this field and there are three trees in this field,” he continues, “and the moon is coming down like the craziest lighting I’ve ever fucking felt. And I looked up at the moon, and I was overcome with this sense that everything was going to work itself out. I didn’t even have to work hard anymore.”
Mind you, all of this high-minded mystic affirmation has led to videos like the Red Rocks-shot (and weed-obsessed) “Treehuggin,” the Hank Hill-sampling (and, yes, weed-obsessed) “Big Dank Hank,” and the new “Big Buck Hunter.” But abundance has come to Dad—in the form of views. A lot of views. Old Dad videos that were languishing at 8,000 have since tripled. New videos that were shot on a whim regularly top 30,000. The glorious “Big Dank Hank” currently sits at more than 66,000. All thanks to not chasing anything. All thanks to letting go.
“I tried so hard for so long to be a good rapper and to have the best bars,” Dad says. “And now I make songs about chapstick that I made in two hours with my friends, and they get fucking 30,000 views.”
Dad—a.k.a. Joey Dadass—has been rapping since 2015, and Milwaukee is no stranger to his oversized persona and his outlandish videos. He took on the Revolutionary War in “17th Century.” He played both priest and demon in “Pastor.” He hopped on a jet-ski in “Holy Water” and preached to his followers in “Infinite.” He’s currently sitting on “four or five” albums of more material, including the futuristic concept album Dad To The Future. He’s been to heaven, hell, and everywhere in between.
“I created a whole universe for my character,” Dad says. “It’s very meta rap. It’s comedy rap. I throw some comedy elements in there just as part of the X factor.”
But ever since hooking up with Pittsburgh collective Glasshead (and, specifically, Glasshead rapper London Yellow), Dad has been on a new trip. He’s seen his music and visuals reach a worldwide audience. Messages from fans living in Russia and Japan are common. And yet Dad isn’t obsessed with keeping track of views or reveling in the sometimes deceptive world of viral fame. He’s humble. He’s reflective. He’s currently living in his truck. (“It’s fucking awesome. It’s very freeing.”)
“I’m not somebody who’s out here trying to gain material wealth,” Dad says. “I really do this because I want to make a change. The shit that I’m putting out now is just to garner attention. The shit that’ll come out later is more well-thought-out. I’m trying to get a platform to get my real message across in this world, which is peace and love. I really just want to spread positivity in the world.”