He's been a fashion model, an MTV VJ and a sitcom actor — but these days Simon Rex is best known as raunchy rapper Dirt Nasty, whose profane punchlines have been heard on the sound tracks to Hung and The Hangover. "I want to be the Jack Black of rap!" says Simon, 36, whose second album, Nasty As I Wanna Be, just came out. "Jack has his rock band Tenacious D; people accept it, it's funny, it's good music."
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Simon's radically random career trajectory has confused many fans. "People are like, 'He played Eminem in Scary Movie 3 and now he's rapping?' It's weird, because a 16-year-old girl who knows me as Dirt Nasty will see me on a rerun of What I Like About You that I did seven years ago and then hit me up, saying, 'You sell-out! You're acting now?''' he laughs. "It's all backwards."
And while his rhymes are comedic, he makes sure the music is no joke, lining up collaborators like LMFAO ("I Can't Dance") and Ke$ha ("Miami Nights"), a friend who he met before she blew up. (He even appears as her boyfriend in the "Tik Tok" video.) "I remember going over to [producer] Dr. Luke's house and there was this girl sitting there in this empty mansion and Dr. Luke said, 'Simon, this is Ke$ha, I'm going to make her the next big pop star.' She looked at the ground sheepishly and was kinda insecure. Eight months later, she had a No. 1 hit. We did a bunch of songs together, but after all of her success, I didn't get to keep all of them because everyone and their mother wants a song with Ke$ha right now. It was like 'You're not going to get seven Ke$ha songs — pick one!'"
Simon doesn't aspire to be taken seriously ("If I was to see me, I'd say get the eff outta here!'): Dirt Nasty's ultimate agenda is to make party music people can laugh with and party to. "Growing up, I remember playing 2 Live Crew and my mom turning it down," recalls Simon. "My goal is to make music that parents turn down!"