Album Review: Lil Durk & Lil Baby - The Voice Of The Heroes
Grade = 89% or 4 ⭐️
Track List - 1 Hour
Voice of the Heroes 3:29 ✅
2040, 3:13 ⭐️
Hats Off (Lil Baby, Lil Durk, & Travis Scott) 4:17 ⭐️
Who I Want 2:53 ⭐️
Still Hood 3:15 ✅
Man of my Word 2:52 ✅
Still Runnin (Lil Baby, Lil Durk, & Meek Mill) 2:53 ⭐️
Medical 3:08 ⭐️
How It Feels 2:47 ✅
Lying 3:02 ⭐️
Okay 3:37 ❌
That’s Facts 3:39 ✅
Please 3:26 ⭐️
Up The Side (Lil Baby, Lil Durk, & Young Thug) 3:38 ⭐️
If You Want To 3:15 ❌
Rich Off Pain (Lil Baby, Lil Durk, & Rod Wave) 3:55 ✅
Make It Out 3:06 ✅
Bruised Up 3:26 ✅
Best Song carried by Lil Baby = 2040 Best Song carried by Lil Durk = Lying
Before the release of this project Lil Baby and Lil Durk have had great success collaborating on songs like Downfall, Off White VLONE, 3 Headed Goat and most recently Finesse Out The Gang Way. Lil Baby was the obvious rapper of the year in 2020. The favorite to win 2021 is Lil Durk, and he knows it. In the song Hats Off Durk ends his verse saying:
2010, I had a gun in my Pelle. 2011, I was fightin' my celly. 2012, I signed my deal in Cali. 2021, I'm big as Khaled.
Many rappers considered themselves in elite company once they appear on a DJ Khaled album. Durk made the cut this year by being on the song EVERY CHANCE I GET IT which also included a feature from Lil Baby. This song was the perfect warm up to this album and has done numbers since it’s release. Obviously one song isn’t enough to claim rapper of the year but Durk has many more statistics to make his claim. It’s only been 5 months and Lil Durk’s is on his 3rd album release. The deluxe version of his LP The Voice was released in January, the OTF album Loyal Bros came out in March, and now this project was released less than a year from releasing his album Just Cause Ya’ll Waited 2. Don’t be surprised if we get at least one more project before the end of the calendar year.
Both Baby and Durk are no strangers to releasing joint projects. Baby did Drip Harder with Gunna in 2018 and Durk did Bloodas” with Tee Grizzley in 2017. Other artist who have released joint projects include Fabolous and Jadakiss who made Friday On Elm Street in 2017. More recently, Moneybagg Yo and Blac Youngsta released Code Red. What makes this joint project special is that both Lil Baby and Lil Durk did this album at the peak of there careers. When rapper’s are as big as them, they usually want to release there own music to capitalize on there superstardom. Some work solo for financial gain while others don’t want to share the spotlight. Friday On Elm Street was a good project but both Fabolous and Jadakiss were past there prime when the album was released. When it comes to Code Red, Moneybagg Yo and Blac Youngsta are just not as popular as Lil Baby and Lil Durk at this point in there careers.
Future is no stranger to joint projects as he has made albums with Young Thug, Juice WRLD, and Lil Uzi Vert. All of these projects were solid but not as good as The Voice and the Heroes. Future and Young Thug definitely had the star power when they released SUPER SLIMEY in 2017. Although frequent collaborators and friends, Future and Thug are two of the most unique rappers in the game. While there album had some good songs it was considered a disappointment because there was several times there styles didn’t mesh well together. It is much easier to make one or two good songs then it is to make a full length cohesive album. Future made WRLD ON DRUGS in 2018 with Juice WRLD and Pluto x Baby Pluto with Lil Uzi Vert this past November. Future was 15 years older than Juice WRLD when there project was recorded and 11 years older than Uzi when Baby x Baby Pluto was released this past November. Again, both decent projects but I think the reason Baby and Durk had the better project is because of there age. Baby is 26 and Durk is 28. They can relate to each other much better especially being two of the rappers in the game who actually came from the bottom.
Both Lil Baby and Lil Durk have dominated the feature game. Baby has appeared on songs like Future’s Life Is Good (Remix) and Pop Smoke’s For The Night. Durk is featured on Pooh Shiesty’s Back In Blood and Fredo Bang’s Top (Remix). We haven’t seen rappers doing so many features since Lil Wayne did a ridiculous amount in-between Tha Carter II and Tha Carter III albums. Baby and Durk were both on a Drake song that topped the charts. Baby appeared on Wants And Needs while Durk was featured on Drake’s Laugh Now Cry Later. It is important to recognize that they were featured on Drake’s song rather than Drake being featured on there's. The fact that Drake picked these two to appear on two of his biggest songs means a lot. Drake is not only a great artist but he is also an avid listener. Aubrey has been able to stay hot for years by keeping his ear to the street. This shows that Baby and Durk are respected by there peers or at least Drake who has a huge influence.
The work load on this project was nearly dead even. The quantity and quality of the verses was close but I’d give the edge to Durk. As far as hooks go, Baby had one more chorus than Durk. Baby had 8, Durk had 7, Thug had 1, Rod Wave had 1, and the song with Meek Mill didn’t have a chorus. The only other artist who appeared on this album besides Thug, Meek Mill, and Rod Wave was Travis Scott. He came in with a very strong third verse on the song Hat’s Off. All four artists delivered. The song Up The Side could have easily been meant for Slime Language 2. It was a surprise that Lil Durk did not appear on that project which had so many big name features. We also expected Baby to appear on SL2 multiple times since he been known to make a lot of music with both Thug and Gunna. There is also evidence of this since Thug had a verse and hook on Up The Side while Baby and Durk only had a verse.
Besides being superstars, Baby and Durk are also bosses. I was a little surprised to see no artists from Lil Durk’s Only The Family label or Lil Baby’s 4 Pockets Full label. A verse from King Von or 42 Dugg would have added some variety to the album. While the features were very selective the production was not. Over 20 producers worked on this album including London On Da Track, Murda Beatz, ATL Jacob, and Turbo. The Producers who put in the most work were Wheezy and Chi Chi. They both produced on 3 different tracks. My favorite Wheezy track was Up The Side which included Oscar Zuzu and Dez Wright on the production. Chi Chi’s best track was Hats Off which included Young TN.
Baby and Durk are two of the best rappers in the game. One of the main reasons for there success is there versatility. Lil Durk left Def Jam because they were trying to make him a pop star. Most of his fans and peers prefer No Auto Durk but he can still go back to using some auto tune if he is making making a different kind of song. Besides making street music which mostly caters to men, Lil Baby and Lil Durk both have a huge female fanbase. Durk has made several songs about his relationship with his girlfriend India. Meanwhile, Lil Baby included his girlfriend (at the time), Jayda Cheaves in the music video for one of his biggest songs Close Friends. This album had great balance. You have plenty of street content that consists of gang banging, trapping, drug use, and money talk. Most this content appears on the drill and trap beats we’ve grown to love. At the same time, we have content that talks more about sex and relationships, which is more appealing to the female audience. These are also the more radio friendly records.
The song Please is the most pop sounding song on the album. This is a song about relationship trouble. It talks about ups and downs, fighting to make up, and how money and fame can change things. This is a possible break up song as Lil Baby says:
Go to sleep, we fucking. Wake up, then we fussing. Baby, we can't force it. Love will run its course.
Lil Durk is no stranger to auto tune but baby hasn’t used it as much during his career. Usually Baby has been able to make a hook with out using the tool. However, on this song it sounds like Baby has experimented with the sound. You can hear it most in the chorus when he says the words “Please your body”. Lil Durk also goes on to talk about how woman have tried to trap him for his money. In his verse he says:
Child support did me wrong, tried to get me out a M. Only time I hear from them when I post money on my 'Gram.
My favorite song carried by Lil Baby was 2040. This is a money talk song where baby boasts about his riches and talks about how he’d rather be out spending his money than be on the internet. He feels that a lot of rappers portrait a persona on the internet that is not true to who they really are. Many artists want you to think that they are gangster or from the hood, when really they want no part of that world. In the first verse he makes a few references to being on the internet, like when he says:
I feel better with no IG but I'm too big of an influence... We don't even social beef, we get active. Everybody killin' now 'til somethin' happen.
The best song on this project that is carried by Lil Durk is Lying. This is the classic heavy hitting drill song where Durk gives you No Auto Durk. Similar to 2040 Durk goes after the want-to-be gangsters on the internet. He’s telling us that he really comes from that lifestyle but other rappers are lying. In the Chorus he says:
Niggas bitches, act like they be gettin' switches, niggas lyin'. Hit my DM like they killers, niggas really ain't outside.
Durk then takes a shot at 6ix9ine. Although he doesn’t say his name, it’s clear that he’s talking about him snitching and thinking he was a blood before he went to jail. Durkio says:
Who told these niggas that they gang and they can hang? That shit be strange. I be there, then I pull off, my entourage will take your brain. We put switchеs on them glizzies, we ain't еven got no time to aim. If you snitch, your ass can't come back 'round, we ain't that type of gang.
This could be looked at as a dis to the 9 Trey Bloods but it’s more so taking a shot at the few guys who allowed Tekashi to claim that set.
This past weekend Lil Durk lost his brother DThang. He was shot in the head at Club O in Chicago. The shots were presumably from a rival gang. “Club O” has been known for its violence. Besides shootings, the club has been affiliated with drug trafficking and prostitution. It has been closed down several times but has always reopened in a different location in Chicago. Even at Durk’s level of stardom he seems to still have one foot in the streets. Unfortunately, it’s part of the reason he’s become so successful. Listeners know he’s really living, or at least lived that lifestyle. He even goes as far as bringing up real peoples names in his songs. If he was making up fictional characters his buzz wouldn’t be as big.
This might be one of the best joint projects I’ve heard. It has something for every kind of listener. You can tell that both artists like each other and enjoyed making it. Over the last few months we’ve seen them together quite a bit on social media which suggests they recorded this album together. Sometimes labels will pair up artists randomly but this doesn’t seem like one of those projects. When listening you can tell that they were actually in the same studio making the majority of this album. Particularly, in the songs when they go back and forth in the same verse. This technique is sometimes a little more difficult when your not working together in the same studio. It’s hard to get on the same vibe being in different environments. Many songs today are made over a computer screen. A rapper will make a song then send the file to another artist for a feature.
It is possible that maybe one or two of these songs were throw away songs that wouldn’t have made on of there solo albums. Okay was my least favorite song carried by Lil Baby while If You Want To was my least favorite song carried by Durk. Other than those two songs the rest of the album was really good. This project had high expectations and it did not flop. If anything the friendly competition only elevated them. At 59 minutes and 45 seconds I wouldn’t bank on there being a deluxe. However, these two make so many songs that it wouldn’t be surprising. You might get another 4 or 5 songs with maybe one of two features but I wouldn’t be disappointed if we didn’t. Overall, I would give this album a rating of 89% or 4 stars.
Download: The Voice Of The Heroes
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