Lil Durk is a 29 year old rapper from Chicago, Illinois who came up a little over a decade ago off his debut mixtape I’m a Hitta. This was followed up with Life Ain’t No Joke & the first 2 installments of the Signed to the Streets trilogy, the latter of which led him signing to Def Jam Recordings for his full-length debut Remember My Name & the sophomore effort Lil Durk 2X. Since then, Durk has made himself home at Alamo Records & dropped 9 more mixtapes. But now in light of his late protege King Von’s latest posthumous outing What It Means to Be King seeing the light of day last weekend, Durk is continuing to apply pressure in the form of his 3rd album.
“Started From” kicks off the whole thing with a bare piano instrumental talking about his beginnings whereas “Headtaps” vulnerably opens up on starting from the bottom, but the beat is so painfully generic. “AHHH HA!”comes through with a vicious YoungBoy Never Broke Again diss down to the Southside/TM88 production, but then “Shooutout @ My Crib” mixed some pianos & snares addressing a home invasion that took place last summer.
Meanwhile on “Golden Child”, we have Durk over a cloudy Hitmaka instrumental detailing the violent gang life just before “No Interviews” talks about trying to turn up even with the beat being as comatose as it is. Future tags along for the spacey “Petty Too” to get back at their women being salty leading into “Barbarian” bringing back the keyboards talking about not letting up.
Gunna comes into the picture for the Chopsquad DJ-produced “What Happened to Virgil?” to pay their respects to the late Off-White founder while “Grow Up” starts off as a piano ballad talking about what he is wanted to be as he grew up prior to “Keep It On Speaker” switching it up into more tenser territory telling a story where the cops pulled him over because of the color of his skin.
Following that, “Smoking & Thinking” once again incorporates some keyboards venting the shit that enters his mind when smoking while “Blocklist” comes off as an arduous ballad bragging about the people he has blocked on his phone. “Difference Is” with Summer Walker feels redundant in the track-listing given that it just seems like a forced R&B duet to get radio play whereas “Federal Nightmares” on the other hand expresses some serious paranoia that he’s dealt with in the past & it’s really admirable.
The song “Love Dior Banks” does it’s job at tugging at the heartstrings telling his niece to hold her brother close while the penultimate track “Pissed Me Off” goes into drill territory paying tribute to his protégé King Von & his brother DThang. “Broadway Girls” however has to be one of the worst closers of the year, as Morgan Wallen pops in for a country trap tune describing their regrettable experiences with women.
All of that being said: I went into 7220 excited as Hell & wound up coming away from it at a crossroad. I appreciate Durk getting a lot more personal through his songwriting this time around & the lack of features further cements that, but the production is so remarkably inconsistent & it really makes me hope that he can get that situated sooner than later.