Lil Durk: Looking forward while looking back – Metro US

Lil Durk: Looking forward while looking back

Lil Durk

Right now, Lil Durk is straddling two worlds. The first is the world he grew up in, namely Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, well-known for gun violence as well as birthing heavy hitters in the rap game, including Durk’s mentor Chief Keef.

The other world is the one Def Jam is handing to him on a silver platter, after signing him in 2012. It’s a world of watching Chicago Bulls games from a luxury box, playing big venues and never having to take out his wallet when ordering a drink.

Surviving the struggle
After releasing six mix tapes, Durk’s debut album “Remember My Name” is due out June 2, a moment he tells us he’s been working hard for. “I want the album to be about all of the people who struggled with me,” he says. “I want everyone to understand the struggle and feel where I’m coming from. I want them to feel the music, track for track.”

Blood, sweat and bullets
In the year leading up to the album’s release, Durk’s cousin was shot and killed, not the first person he’s lost to gun violence. Two months ago, his 24-year-old manager Uchenna Agina, known as Chino, was murdered after leaving an anti-violence event.

“You know how some people have diaries? The studio is my diary,” Durk tells us. “I’m gonna let all my problems out in the studio. I’m going to let you know how I feel in the studio. My music is going to tell you how I feel.” Throughout “Remember My Name,” Durk pays homage to those he’s lost and says he welcomes any chance he gets to say their names.

Present tense
Durk is open about his struggles, but he also owns up to his mistakes, namely getting arrested (twice) for gun possession. He’s a father of three kids and has spoke openly in song and interviews about wanting to step up for them, especially considering his own father is serving a life sentence in prison.

Right now, Durk is living the hip-hop fairytale. A Twitter exchange with Logic magically led to his single “Tryna’ Tryna.’” He and Jeramih cut several tracks together including “Like Me.” This is his time. “I know what I gotta do to make this new world work,” Durk says. “I know I gotta work hard for a while to get to where I want to get to. … But I can balance both worlds.”

If you go:

New York City
June 2, 7 p.m.
Irving Plaza
17 Irving Pl., 212-777-6800

June 3, 7 p.m.
Voltage Lounge
421 N. 7th St., 215-964-9602

June 4, 1 a.m.
Voltage Lounge
421 N. 7th St., 215-964-9602

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence

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