Lil Durk – “The Voice” (Album)

At the end of an eventful year marked by career highs and incalculable personal losses, Lil Durk remains one of the most enduring rappers around. Since breaking out nationally as one of Chicago’s drill stars, he’s dealt with the deaths of brethren while navigating a fickle music industry that hasn’t always recognized his greatness. But his tenacity paid off in 2020 in a big way with the success of his Just Cause Y’all Waited 2 mixtape and a massive hit in “Laugh Now Cry Later” with Drake. An unexpected Christmas drop, The Voice finds the now Atlanta-based rapper at the top of his game yet still battling demons and coming to terms with new tragedies, not the least of which being the passing of King Von.

Though a number of the project’s tracks appear to address him, his departed Southside friend makes a posthumous feature on the characteristically hard “Still Trappin’.” On the reflective “Death Ain’t Easy,” Durk reflects on how far he’s come from the days when he made his breakout hit “Dis Ain’t What U Want” in a basement. He keeps that same energy for “Backdoor,” another shining example of how he sings through his morbid mindset. On the relatively lighter side, Young Thug and 6LACK bless the promiscuous “Stay Down” and its elegant Metro Boomin beat.

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