What’s Happenin'
Lil Durk is ready to turn up.
Words: Robby Seabrook III
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Fall 2018 issue of XXL Magazine, on stands now.

It takes courage and foresight to move on, but that’s exactly what Lil Durk is doing after parting ways with Def Jam Recordings earlier this year. The Chicago rhyme slinger then jumped on the independent route, signing with Alamo Records, a quickly-surging label known for backing rap’s youth movement. Now living in Atlanta, Durk has been busy prepping the release of his upcoming album, Signed to the Streets 3. Durk is visibly excited for the next chapter of his career.

XXL: You recently left Def Jam Recordings and signed with Alamo Records. Why Alamo?

Lil Durk: No matter where you go, you wanna be the priority. If I went to Pluto or Mars, I wanna be priority and they give it to me. Anything I ask for, they give it to me with open arms. If I’m down to shoot a video with whoever, they behind it, supporting it. They ain’t coming up with no excuses. They let me feel my music out. If I wanna go with this as a single, they let me go with it without questions. They put they input in, but they input is important.

Is creative freedom the most important thing for you?

Definitely. They believe in what I do and they into my music and into me, period.

Your sound has changed lately. You seem to be evolving. Is that the case?

Yeah, definitely. Changing the sound, interacting with the fans. Moving to Atlanta is one of the best things I did.

How has that benefited you?

It changed the way I move, the way I think. It enhanced my music. I done stayed in 11th Street Studios for a month straight. Everybody pulled up on me. It’s more easy. You build relationships.

Who have you been in the studio with most recently?

PnB [Rock], A Boogie [Wit Da Hoodie], Future, Gunna. I got a lot of records with everybody. Even like, the younger artists coming up: Yungeen Ace, Booka600, Quando Rondo, Goonew. It’s a lot more! They turnt, they ready.

When you were on the come up, what rappers supported you and showed you love the most?

Future, fo’ sho. And this is around the time they were counting him out.

What advice did he give you?

He was just like, “Stay on your game. Keep growin’. Stay out the streets. I fuck with your sound, try this.” Just giving me tips and you can really grow from it now, ’cause it’s like, everything he said to me, he did.

What should your fans be checking for on your new album, Signed to the Streets 3?

I definitely just want to get back to my mood. I wanna get the streets riled back up. I wanna get super tours and bookings. Even Grammys, they doing tapes at the Grammys. I don’t wanna put no limit to it.

Who did you work with on it?

Future, Gunna, Lil Baby, Ty Dolla $ign, A Boogie [Wit Da Hoodie], [Young] Dolph [and] Juice Wrld.

What about producers?

I like aiming for the producers who are hungry. I don’t chase the wave.

Chicago has been bubbling for a minute but you were one of the first more recent hip-hop artists to help get it on the map. Is it easier than it used to be for a new Chicago artist to get noticed?

For sure. Basically just open doors, they just puttin’ they sauce on it. It’s either you finna cre- ate your own wave, you finna sound like me or you finna sound like G Herbo, you finna sound like Chance The Rapper, you finna sound like Juice Wrld. You ain’t gonna get too far ’cause you sound like somebody. So, create your own lane and do your own style. I fuck with Valee. The whole wave right now in music culture is just crazy.

Check out more from XXL’s Fall 2018 issue including Meek Mill's letter to his younger self, Gunna speaking his success into existence and more.

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