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‘Lil Durk 2X’ review: Chicago rapper steps up his game

"Lil Durk 2X" contains the much-buzzed-about "My Beyoncé." Credit: Def Jam


BOTTOM LINE The Chicago rapper continues to step up his game.

Maybe the most telling thing about Lil Durk’s new album “Lil Durk 2X” (Def Jam) is that it wasn’t supposed to be an album in the first place. It was supposed to be a free mixtape for fans.

But one listen to “Lil Durk 2X” and it’s clear that these songs are too well-crafted not to get the full push of an album release. After all the buzz that his love song “My Beyoncé” with Dej Loaf received from his previous mixtape “300 Days 300 Nights,” his label smartly saw the potential in pretty much everything Durk does these days, even adding “My Beyoncé” to “Lil Durk 2X.”

It will likely join a whole bunch of future hits from the album, which could dominate this summer the way Fetty Wap dominated last year. The first single, “She Just Wanna,” featuring Ty Dolla $ign, takes an old-school R&B groove and adds more current beats, while describing a modern relationship quandary. “She just wanna love a thug,” Ty Dolla $ign sings in the hook. “Sorry, I’m in love with money.”

On “Good Good,” Durk layers in some rumbling bass into another throwback R&B groove, with help from Kid Ink and Dej Loaf, who both add some memorable verses. For “Make It Back,” Durk goes for something lean and hard-hitting, showing another side of his appeal, while “Hated on Me,” featuring Future, shows his comfort in the hazier end of hip-hop as well.

“Money Walk,” with Yo Gotti, bends the trap vibe to Durk’s style, as it also lines up to start the next dance craze.

“Lil Durk 2X” show how much he has grown since last year’s well-received debut “Remember My Name,” both in flow and in production. He was good then, but now Durk seems poised to be one of 2016’s breakout stars.

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