Lil Durk – “Almost Healed” review

This is the 4th full-length album from Chicago rapper Lil Durk. Rising to prominence a little over a decade ago off his debut mixtape I’m a Hitta, he would go on to follow this up with Life Ain’t No Joke & the first 2 installments of the Signed to the Streets trilogy until 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 by 9 more mixtapes & is looking to bounce back from the mixed reception of 7220 due to it’s weak production yet admirably more personal subject matter in the form of Almost Healed.

After the “Therapy Session” intro, the first song “Pelle Coat” starts off the album with an mellow trap instrumental from Chopsquad DJ explaining why everyone’s scared to come outside this day in age whereas “All My Life” featuring J. Cole despite the positive message of people always trying to bring them down was a disappointing choice for a single largely due to Dr. Luke’s sanitary production. “Never Again” works in some pianos & hi-hats talking about not helping others ever again prior to “Put ‘Em on Ice” telling everyone that nobody is safe over a rich trap beat.

Chief Wuk delivers one of the weaker feature performances on “Big Dawg” as they discuss only hating it when their bitches are on lil girl shit on top of a distorted instrumental just before “Never Imagined” featuring Future makes up for it with a more colorful trap vibe talking about the way they’re living now. The beat throughout “Sad Songs” is a bit of a nonstarter for me personally addressing a pretty lil liar, but then “Before Fajr” talks about people hating him for being more famous & Southside’s production here has a lot more going for it this time.

“War ‘Bout It” featuring 21 Savage make it known that you can’t discuss any criminal activity that you’ve ever been involved with as Metro Boomin’ supplies more keys & hi-hats while “You Got ‘Em” talks about perc poppers not being his friends except we have one of the weakest instrumentals on the album yet again. “Grandson” featuring Kodak Black has a hazier flare sonically courtesy of both Metro & Zaytoven as they discuss the lifestyles they live while “300 Urus” making it clear there’s a reason some ain’t with him no more over an atmospheric trap beat from Wheezt

Rob49’s verses throughout “Same Side” are underwhelming compared to Durk’s although I appreciate the back-&-forth delivery as well as the morbid Lil Ju instrumental while “B12” weaves some hi-hats & quirky synth patterns talking about being fucked up off ecstasy. “At This Point We Stuck” moodily asks why everyone’s mad at him while “Cross the Globe” featuring the late Juice WRLD is an acoustic trap hybrid with both of them tackling themes of love.

“Dru Hill” is an melodramatically piano trap crossover wanting to be shown something new & what love feels like while the song “Belt2Ass” declares himself to be a rockstar from the trenches & the instrumental here has more of a symphonic flare to it. The penultimate track “Stand By Me” returns to a cleaner sound so he can desire his girl’s honesty asking if she’d stand by him if he lost it all & “Moment of Truth” closes the album with a trap/rock fusion produced by Alicia Keys talking about being out all night getting the bread.

As admirably introspective as 7220 was, the production on that previous album was lacking quite a bit & it makes me relieved that Almost Healed revealed itself to be a step in the right direction for Durk because it could possibly be the best full-length he’s ever dropped. Some of the features underperformed but most of them stick the landing, it’s more well produced for the most part & it really does feels like a therapy session on wax as the personal themes of the predecessor are expanded here.

Score: 3.5/5

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Smokepurpp – “Psycho (Legally Insane)” review

Smokepurpp is a 23 year old rapper from Miami, Florida who broke out in 2017 alongside his childhood friend Lil Pump. Shortly after the release of his debut EP Up Now Fuck Next, he caught the attention of Houston superstar Travis Scott & dropped his critically acclaimed debut mixtape Deadstar under Cactus Jack Records in a joint venture with the Interscope Records sub-label Alamo Records. This was followed up with a 3-Pack EP a couple months later as well as the Murda Beatz-produced Bless Yo Trap tape in 2018 & the Lost Planet EP in 2019, but then Purpp would leave Cactus Jack that same year to release the full-length debut Deadstar 2. Which was below average in comparison to that debut mixtape. His sophomore album Florida Jit from last summer turned out to be mediocre, as the only saving graces of it were Ronny J’s production & a couple of the features. But to move on from a tumultuous 2020 like almost all of us are doing at this point, Purpp is coming out of the woodwork by dropping his 3rd EP.

Things start off with “Prom Queen”, where Purpp talks about being trigger happy over a trap beat sampling “After Laughter (Comes Tears)” by Wendy Rene. The next song “We Outside” with [Lil Mosey] finds the duo talking about poppin’ out until the sun comes up over an instrumental that has a bit of a country flare to it while the track “200 Thou” talks about walkin’ through the mall with a bunch of cash on him over a comatose beat.

The song “Rockstar” talks about his new lifestyle over an instrumental that sounds like it was copied right out of the Pi’erre Bourne playbook while the penultimate track “What You Wanna Do?” gets on the murder tip over a fittingly grisly beat. The EP ends with “Tic Tac”, where Smokepurpp talks about fucking up the trap over a trap metal instrumental.

Coming from someone who enjoyed Deadstar & Bless Yo Trap quite a bit, I really didn’t care for this EP other than a couple joints. The production choices are very questionable for a good majority of it’s 13-minute runtime & lyrically, Smokepurpp is just painting himself into a corner at this point.

Score: 1.5/5