Lil Durk Draws Inspiration From Chicago’s Most Violent Neighborhoods
For a kid from the notoriously violent South Side of Chicago, Lil Durk seems to be doing pretty good. He’s signed with Def Jam, co-signed by French Montana and the Coke Boys. He has two lovely children, a son and a daughter. He just propelled himself up the ranks of the tumultuous Chicago drill-hop scene like a heat-seeking missile aimed at the top of the charts. His latest street single, “Dis Ain’t What U Want”, off the mixtape Signed To The Streets, is poised to tip 10 million YouTube views by week’s end. He raps about the same stuff Chief Keef raps about -- Keef being the figure that spearheaded this new wave of hyperactive Chicago drill artists. He woozes (rap-sings) like Future. We asked Durk to fill us in on what he doesn’t have yet, what he’s hungry for and the current status of the Chicago scene.—Peter Marrack
"Ain’t nothing wrong with Chicago at all. We got the best balls games, football games, ain’t nothing wrong with it. It’s just certain areas, neighborhoods. You get a group of people together and they don’t act right. ”
XXL: When did you first hook up with French Montana and the Coke Boys?
Lil Durk: We’ve been in the process, but we just started really making it happen like two months ago.
Did they come to Chicago, to shoot the “L’s Anthem (Remix)”?
Yeah, they came down. We shot it here.
What did French think of your hood?
He liked it. Everything was cool, no violence. We didn’t have to worry.
When they [Coke Boys] heard Signed To The Streets, what was their feedback?
They were going crazy. They really wanted me to hold it, but I wanted to put it out.
You were saying on "Sway In The Morning" that you made some changes, spiffed it up.
I had to keep picking songs and going over them, choosing which ones I like better, which ones I can hold for later.
What was the inspiration for “Dis Ain’t What U Want”?
Just the days we be living in, what we see every day. So I just made a song about what’s going on, instead of just making a song for making a song.
What is going on?
All the violence, what we’re doing, being a Dad. They’re songs people can relate to.
Did you think “Dis Ain’t What U Want” would be the track to pop off?
Yeah, everywhere I go, people know that record, it’s hot. That’s why we got Ross and them [Meek Mill] on the remix.
Why do you think people like that one?
Like I say, I relate to a lot of people. You ain’t got to go through the video in a Ferrari, you ain’t got to do that. AZae shot it so you could really feel it.
Are you actually afraid to perform in Chicago, or is that just a line in the music?
Naw, I ain’t say afraid. I say, ‘they’ terrified.
They terrified. Who’s ‘they’?
With violence, anything can happen, even at shows. It was going on once upon a time, but everything’s cool now.
It’s not like that anymore?
It’s 50/50. It’s probably about relationships right now.
What do you mean relationships?
Everybody is cool with us. They want us to make it happen. But somebody who don’t know us, who hasn’t heard of us, they’ll still go off on us. But nah, we cool. We don’t want no brawls happening.