Release Date: Jul 22, 2016
Record label: Def Jam
Lil Durk has always fallen in between “things. ” He was always the most pop-inclined of the 2012 Chicago hip-hop boom, transitioning to a broader stage with more grace than his 300 cohorts in Lil Reese, Fredo Santana, or even the enigmatic Chief Keef, despite suffering considerable loss and adversity since landing his Def Jam deal. Durk’s major label debut Remember My Name was all but memorable, a cloying crossover effort only buoyed by inclusion of mixtape banger “Dis Ain’t What U Want” and an electrifying intro in “500 Homicides,” and last year also saw the rapper lose both his manager OTF Chino and his cousin and long-time collaborator OTF NuNu to gun violence within Chicago’s city limits.
Few artists withstood the peaks and valleys of the short-lived drill surge better than Lil Durk, who got a major label deal, landed two breakout hits, weathered a string of bad breaks and later an underwhelming debut album, all before he turned 23. He also lost his manager OTF Chino and his cousin OTF NuNu to gun violence during that stretch. His Def Jam debut, Remember My Name, was uneven and largely forgettable, but he didn’t stay down long, opting instead to refocus.
In the world of mainstream hip-hop nowadays, it’s hard to find an artist who’s truly unique and exceptional. More often than not, the rappers that have made it big in the 2010s have been trap rappers, fusing the autotuned crooning of T-Pain with the proto-trap flavorings of Gucci Mane. Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, Future, and Desiigner are just a few examples.
Lil Durk’s career has been a slow-burner to say the least. Riding in on the undertow of Chicago’s drill wave back in 2012, Lil Durk has managed to achieve moderate success over the past few years by putting out consistent projects and adapting to the times. Unlike a few of his Chi-Town cohorts, Durk has evolved his sound from gun bars and goons to popping bottles and Auto-Tune.