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The Breakdown | Lil Durk - The Voice (Deluxe)

Last year was productive for Chicago rapper Lil Durk. The music scene saw the rise of the artist as he had nothing but success in 2020. This success included reaching certified platinum in collaborating with Drake on the Toronto rapper's single ‘Laugh Now Cry Later’. Releasing two albums with one being certified gold, and expanding his fanbase worldwide, it is fantastic to see the Chicago artist gain recognition for his hard work as he has grown throughout the last couple of years. Nonetheless, on 29/01/2021 Lil Durk released the deluxe version of his album 'The Voice' which features various artists such as Lil Baby, King Von, Pooh Shiesty, Booka 600, Young Thug and many more. This album did expect to do well due to the singles that were released. Those singles being 'Backdoor', 'The Voice', and 'Stay Down'.

The theme of 'The Voice' revolves around street life. Lil Durk's objective was to make an album that is relatable for the streets. To be successful in undertaking this role, the Chicago artist gives different perspectives on the lifestyle. There are songs on the album where Durk exposes his vulnerability and speaks on his drug abuse. In other respects, Lil Durk shows the vicious side of him, which presents a picture of the gritty Chicago lifestyle. However, this doesn't stop the Chicago rapper from pursuing different topics. Lil Durk raps about love with his current girlfriend, India.

The music producers Lil Durk co-operated with provided instrumentals that helped separate the three personas. The songs that have Durk opening up on his trauma and drug abuse such as 'Backdoor', 'To Be Honest' and 'Death Ain't Easy' use instrumentals that give off a distressing tone throughout the song. Which differs to his tracks that highlight his savage lyrics as they arrive with a Chicago drill sound. 'Still Trappin', and 'Should've Ducked' use a heavy drum-set sound to correlate well with Durk's fierce lyrics, providing an aggressive ambience. Finally, Lil Durk's instrumentals for his love songs such as 'India, PT. 3', 'Coming Clean', and 'Love You' are soothing as they correspond well with his intimate passion for his lover. Overall, this exhibits the Chicago rapper's versatility in his sound, songwriting and flow.

Moreover, Lil Durk throughout 'The Voice' has been able to express his emotions effectively. Where he opens up to the audience on how this rough lifestyle he grew up in has traumatised him. In the songs 'Backdoor', 'Death Ain't Easy', ‘Misunderstood’, ’When I'm Lonely' and 'To Be Honest' he goes into more detail on his pain and trauma. Lil Durk expresses how losing loved ones, and being backstabbed by his fellow friends in Chicago has led him to be a broken man. In 'When I'm Lonely' Lil Durk mentions "I take drugs when I feel lonely". Being alone makes him think of all the friends and family he lost to violence in Chicago and all the close ones that have stabbed him in the back. However, Durk losing his friends and family to death has caused more devastation to his mental health than those who have betrayed him. In 'Death Ain't Easy' he mentions, "They ain't bleed like we bleed" .going on to name some of his fallen friends. From this circumstance, Durk acknowledges the suffering him and his friends have experienced from the brutal Chicago lifestyle. Also, it indicates that Durk thinks deeply into these ghastly encounters of death and violence.

Furthermore, the failure to cope with these occurrences in life has shown the rapper as being demoralised, who to some extent has lost hope for living. On the other hand, these events have brought out an alternative character of Lil Durk. The agonising emotions have driven him to become a man of vengeance. The song 'Let Em Know' gives a snippet on a sadistic, aggressive side of the character, Lil Durk, as he insists "I keep on crying, I put my feelings in my g-lock". This lyric links back to the line in 'When I Get Lonely', Lil Durk asserts "Ride with my gun when I feel lonely". These lyrics highlight how when the Chicago rapper is alone, he may dwell into his memories of his fallen loved ones, which convinces him to want revenge. Different songs in the album highlight how he becomes a savage. In this circumstance, Lil Durk gets a thrill from seeing his enemies fall victim to violence. In 'Let Em Know' Lil Durk asserts that he feels like King Von. "B****, I am a menace, I feel Dayvon Bennet". King Von is known for humiliating his enemies and Lil Durk's mannerisms mirror King Von's, because he starts to ridicule his enemies. For example, in the song "Should've Ducked" featuring Pooh Shiesty. Durk mortifies his rivals for the suffering his associates has inflicted onto them. Durk holds no remorse to his foes as he states "He survived one to the head, but it f***** up his body", showing a lack of contrition. Taunting his rivals did become a pattern throughout his album, which is evident in other songs.

In other respects, Lil Durk shows the world that he's not just a man of the streets. The rapper expresses his intimacy in different songs. It shows that although Lil Durk has been through so much chaos, he can still love and be close with a woman, which he mentions in 'Love You, "And my heart cold, but you heat it up". Lil Durk made a whole song called ‘India, PT. 3’ for his current girlfriend. This song reflects how India has brought peace into Lil Durk's life as he takes physical intimacy to another level. Sex means something to him now because the Chicago rapper is in a healthy relationship with India. Lil Durk's persona changes because he's compassionate, chilled and happy, unlike his other personas where he is angry and depressed. This connection differs compared to Lil Durk's other relations as India is someone he trusts and loves. The Chicago rapper mentions she hates the idea of liars in his song 'Every Freakin' Day' which means Durk doesn't expect betrayal from her. As she becomes his peace, he states in 'India, PT. 3’ that he will be there for her, so she never feels lonely.

To summarise, 'The Voice' deluxe album was fantastic for many reasons. One important reason was he was able to show the street lifestyle from different perspectives. Also, he manifested a tender, loving side of him. Enabling him to be versatile and have multiple sounds throughout the project. Nonetheless, the music production was expertly done as the creative team created distinct sounds that suited the separate personas of Lil Durk. Overall, this deluxe was a work of art, so give it a listen, and there is no doubt that it will be a fine addition to your 2021 playlist.