Lil Durk Credit: Armando Esteves

Chicago rapper Lil Durk dropped his debut mixtape nearly nine years ago, and he’s since matured into one of drill’s most consistent, influential, and successful artists. His four previous major-label full-lengths have all peaked in the top 50 of the Billboard 200, including August’s Love Songs 4 the Streets 2, which debuted at number four. His flair for melody and his no-bullshit hooks have helped give rise to a new wave of drill artists, including everyone’s new favorite Chicago rap sensation, Taurus Bartlett—better known as Polo G. On Durk’s fifth studio album, Just Cause Y’all Waited 2 (Alamo/Geffen), Bartlett adds lithe vocals to “3 Headed Goat,” augmenting the brawny texture of Durk’s vocals and the subtle vulnerability in his inflection. Just Cause Y’all Waited 2 leans on melancholy instrumentals: regal piano notes inform the sound world of “All Love,” and a dusky, lonesome saxophone sets the tone for “Viral Moment.” Durk understands how to look back without getting sentimental, and he remains guarded while combing through his regrets on “Turn Myself In.” He originally released the track in May 2019, just before he surrendered himself to the Atlanta Police Department—it had issued a warrant for his arrest in connection with a February 2019 shooting, and his attempted murder case remains pending. Lil Durk delivers a powerful performance on “Turn Myself In,” and when his Auto-Tuned voice hits the occasional high note, he offers glimpses of the depth and complexity in his story that stray hard-news headlines can’t convey.   v