Lil Durk was wallowing with no album or official collection of new music in sight, so the Chicago rapper took matters into his own hands last summer and released a one-off single, the Dej Loaf-assisted “My Beyonce.” The smooth ballad–and its memorable video that replicated scenes from the beloved 2001 romance film Love and Basketball–was initially released to keep fans engaged while he readied the follow-up to his debut album, Remember My Name, which reached No. 2 on Billboard’s Top Rap Albums chart. But what started as a simple single release last summer morphed into a full on studio album, and Durk is ready for the people to hear his artistic growth on Lil Durk 2x, which drops today (Jul.22).
The long-awaited 14-track album features Kid Ink, Future, Young Thug, Ty Dolla $ign, Yo Gotti and the aforementioned Dej Loaf. But his new release wasn’t always slated to be an album. In fact, until recently, Lil Durk and his team promoted the project as an official mixtape. But at the end of the day, with hard work and the continued evolution of the 23-year-old MC–both as an artist and a person–Durk wanted to make it an album.
“It’s good music,” says the Chi-town rapper. “A lot of songs on there – [really] one or two of them – I had for the last album. So I just went back in [to the studio], switched the verse and turned it back up.”
But just because Durk chose to recycle and rework unused material doesn’t mean fans won’t hear a change in the music – or the person. He made headlines in early July when he decided to show his support for Black Lives Matter with a tattoo, and he says there’s more evidence of how he’s evolving in life on the new album.
“I would say I grew without a doubt. My whole energy in life – as an artist and as a person – has definitely got me smarter and wiser,” Durk tells The Boombox. “I’m just trying to open my mind up. I can’t be talking about the same type of fashion or the same type of liquor. Everything [is] different now.”
Lil Durk 2x lyrically breaks down his transformation over the past year, and introduces fans to his alter ego – 2x (two times). He even penned a song that recognizes his life indulging in everything “2x.” “I got my gun you got yo’ gun, n—a…I swear I do it like it’s two of me/I love that two time, yeah/I love that two time,” he rhymes on the aptly-named track “Lil Durk 2x.”
Lil Durk and his official sophomore project have come a long way. And now Chicago’s own is ready for fans to find a few new favorites in his growing catalog. “I want them to walk away with three or four songs sitting in the top 10,” says Durk.
Lil Durk’s new album, Lil Durk 2x, is available on iTunes.