Lil Durk is a legend in his own right after successfully progressing from his Chicago drilling days to superstardom, where he’s featuring on tracks with big dogs such as Drake and scored huge placements on the Billboard 100. Voice of a generation Lil Baby has also worked hard for his accolades, earning one of the highest-selling albums of 2020 with ‘My Turn’, while fighting on the streets for Black Lives Matter. Finally colliding for ‘The Voice of The Heroes’, the two try to show off great prowess and make a record that’d be certified Platinum in the streets – but it falls a little short.
The title track, for instance, is a disappointment. With Durk being a drill icon whose cadence is electric every time we hear him, and Lil Baby seeming to be everyone’s favourite rapper, you’d think they’d glide on the trap beat with a little more finesse. ‘Medical’, on the other hand, produced by LondonOnDaTrack, sees the Atlantan and Chicagoan make the most of their storytelling skills to reiterate their firsthand experiences on the streets of two of America’s most gang-riddled cities; it sounds like therapy. When Durkio croons, “I need medical”, the hook is mesmerising; proof that the art of autotune hasn’t died out.
The Lil rappers have also got their friends’ help in the album too. On ‘Up This Side’, YSL Records founder and ATL badass Young Thug sets the boastful tone, gruffly rapping: “Half a band, purple Benzo and I’m gone – it’s a wrap / Breakin’ out ’cause you scared to run your bags”. And that’s not even the best feature: ‘Hats Off’ sounds like an eerie sci-fi theme tune, exuding a melody that’s fun and refreshing for trap. But then the 808s come in, perfectly illustrating why Durk and Baby are at the top of their game, before Houston’s frontman Travis Scott offers a glimpse of the fresh-faced rapper we saw in his 2013 XXL Freshmen freestyle (predating his love of computerised vocals).
Utilizing beats from prolific producers such as Wheezy and Chi Chi, ‘The Voice of the Heroes’ is technically accomplished but, given Durk and Baby’s sometimes monotonous verses, it’s great only in smaller doses. On their solo projects we’ve seen the two explore emotions and musical range to make knockout hits, but when Lil Baby and Lil Durk come together, it’s a little more hit and miss.
Release date: June 4
Record label: Quality Control Music