Lil Durk has plenty of reasons to celebrate life. The Chicago rapper has spent the last year working relentlessly to drop three projects (They Forgot, Love Songs for the Streets, and Signed to the Streets 2.5.) after the release of his sophomore LP Lil Durk 2X, and he hasn’t cracked a bead of sweat yet. As he continues to record for his next project Signed to the Streets 3, Durk is also prepping his fans for his upcoming PSD Underwear collection. With all of that work on his plate, the Def Jam rapper decided to get away from his studio for a special trip to the 305.
For his 25th birthday (Oct. 19), Lil Durk hit up Miami Beach with his OTF family to celebrate being alive for a quarter of a century. Before he hit up South Beach’s major clubs like Story, Durk’s fellow cohorts gave him a special cake signifying their bond. “Everybody might say [we’re] savages but we call ourselves vultures. Vultures do everything together,” Durk tells Billboard, alluding to the top of his birthday cake. “That’s how we portray ourselves.”
There aren’t not many people who can click with Durk and his vultures instantly, but recently, the OTF chief discovered that one rising artist from the Midwest fits in like family. Recently, Detroit rapper, Tee Grizzley, has been spotted in the studio with Durk on social media sparking up rumors of a joint project. Over the weekend (Oct 26), both Durk and Grizzley confirmed their project is dropping on Thanksgiving in coinciding Instagram posts. They even asked for fans to help come up with a name.
As of press time, the new duo haven’t decided on an official title. According to Durk, the name will come after more time in the studio, and possible consideration from their fans. After his birthday turn-up, we caught up with Lil Durk to talk about his recent mixtape Signed to the Streets 2.5, his upcoming solo LP Signed to the Streets 3, his joint project with Tee Grizzley, and how it came together in the studio.
You just dropped off Signed to the Streets 2.5 and said it’s a mixtape for the fans. What’s something about it that you feel your fans will really appreciate?
Songs like “India,” “Basically Fr“ and “The Story 2.5,” which is the intro. I felt like that needed to be put out there. It’s for people wondering, inside my circle and the fans. I gave them a quick story about what’s been going on.
This is obviously the predecessor to Signed to the Streets 3. What other stories will you tell us on your upcoming project that you haven’t told us before?
It’s just everyday things. There’s so many things people can relate to that’s going on in the real world or that they’re going through themselves. I’m always going to be able to touch fans and get new fans because everybody goes through something everyday. I just keep touching different subjects by talking to the streets and reaching out to my fans by telling them a story instead of just giving them music to listen. I want them to feel it. 2.5 was just for the fans, but 3 will be major.
What kind of sound were you influenced by for 2.5?
It’s crazy, because I feel like it’s my own sound. I enhanced my regular style because I look at it as just switching my swag up seven times in one verse, and still be talking about the shit I’m saying. I’ll never stick to one sound, I switch it up. I feel like with 2.5, I created another style that nobody else is coming with.
It’s all about evolving. You got to have a strong mind if you fall back. When you fall back, they going to count you out. So you got to have a strong mind and know your worth. When you come back, you’ve got to be different and even more better.
Describe your ideal studio session. What kind of preferences or rules do you have when you record?
Sometimes, I like to be in there by myself. Other times, I like having a lot of people around. I think they bring the best out of me, and they give me their input. It don’t really matter if there’s a lot of people or no one as long as they respect our session. Don’t be loud when we recording. We’re not really picky about it.
You’ve been in the studio working overtime on your own project, but from what I’ve seen you’re working a lot with Tee Grizzley. Are you two working on a joint effort?
We’re dropping something on Thanksgiving. It’s like we’re family now. I’m rocking and he’s rocking. He would sleep at my crib, so if you’ve seen us in the studio together, then he was probably just there like family. And why hold music? That’s what we make music for: to put it out.
How did you guys meet?
Well, he’s from Detroit. We got big homies that know each other. So they were telling me that we should make a song. When he actually came around, we were like, ‘Damn, this dude like family.’ We don’t get that vibe from everybody. First time I met him, he stayed the night in my crib. With us, we be around all savages ,so it’s like we know people aren’t just going to come around us who don’t know us like that. First time he came through, he had about $200,000 on him and all the jewelry on. We were like, ‘Oh he a real one.’
How long have you both been working on the joint album?
Two weeks. It’s different, though. It doesn’t take us four or five months in the studio. How I work is I go to the studio everyday for 12 hours. And he’s really amazing. He can really rap. He can actually rap quick, get in and out of the studio quick, and still have the hardest verse in the room. But we’ve been working on this for about two weeks. We’ve got like 13-15 songs for it, but we had at least 50 songs to choose from.