Following in the path of Chief Keef’s runaway hit “I Don’t Like,” a slew of new talent is emerging from Chicago and one of the most-buzzed-about names is Lil Durk. Durk, like Keef, has built a following from independent YouTube impressions and his own grassroots efforts, eventually leading to him inking a deal with Def Jam. Now, the “300” affiliate drops his new mixtape Life Ain’t No Joke, and is poised to try his hand at solo success.
The viral video for “L’s Anthem” has been remastered as Durk’s official first single. Featuring a rattling, trademark drill music beat, “L’s Anthem” is a catchy bed for Durk’s undulating flow. Despite his indie success, Durk was excited to sign a deal with Def Jam even before being offered a contract. “Even before Def Jam came up, I liked their line-up over there,” he tells Rap-Up.com.
With an onslaught of new talent coming from the same geographic area, it’s hard for a new artist to differentiate himself. Durk admits that he shares many of the same experiences as his crew, but the specific manner in which he shapes his lyrical narration is how he differs from the next rapper. “We all the same. We all been through the same thing, but he seen something different, he gonna rap about it. I seen something different, I’m gonna rap about it. Drill still leads back to 300.”
His music industry mentor, acclaimed producer No I.D. (Common, Jay-Z, Kanye West), has prepared the young rapper for what’s in store. “He’s helpful. He gives me advice that I need,” says Durk. “He tells me what not to do. He just tries to lead me on the right path. He made it so I’ll take his advice and run with it, like a big brother.”
Durk’s mixtape Life Ain’t No Joke features appearances from French Montana, Yo Gotti, and Soulja Boy.