Lil Durk has come a long way in the hip-hop scene, growing from an underground hit on the Chicago drill scene to one of the biggest names in music. Working with Lil Baby and starring in Drake’s Laugh Now Cry Later brought him great commercial success. From a troubled past to a life of luxury, Durk’s latest album takes a different turn, exploring the reality of fatherhood and sustainability in the industry.
In Almost Healed, Durk explores his personal growth and his quest to be a better man, both as a father and as an artist. The album title itself hints at his journey and ties in with his previous release 7220. The lead single “All My Life”, featuring Dreamville’s J Cole, addresses the state of the hip-hop industry. Durk emphasizes his desire to change the image, while Cole passionately calls out those who support artists only after the tragedy. This theme of dealing with political and street-caused issues runs throughout Almost Healed.
As he approaches thirty, Durk reflects on his formative years and the trial and error that shaped him. Many of his childhood friends are still struggling, trapped in a vicious cycle of crime, or dependent on government support. He sheds light on the harsh realities of drug addiction and aims to raise awareness about the struggles in Chicago. This authenticity is nothing new for Durk, who has rightly called himself “The Voice.”
With “Almost Healed,” Durk takes listeners on a healing journey, coming to terms with the losses of his brother DThang and his close friend King Von. Alicia Keys leads the charge at the Therapy Session album opening, acknowledging Durk’s resilience and leadership in the rap industry and community. The album also includes collaborations with artists such as 21 Savage and Kodak Black, symbolizing Durk’s conscious approach to the society he fosters.
“Almost Healed”, while displaying Durk’s vulnerability, suffers from a bloated track list and sonic inconsistencies. Trying to recreate the hit of “Broadway Girls” with the country-trap formula in “Stand By Me” fails. With 21 songs, listening to the album becomes boring and loses sound and narrative momentum in the middle part. Some tracks, like “Before Fajr” and “War Bout It,” belie the positive revelations found in songs like “All My Life.”
Despite these flaws, the album still offers gems worth exploring. The groundbreaking Never Imagined captivates with its perfect chemistry and soulful production from him. Durk’s transition to a more introspective and reflective MC is evident, even if his attempts at singing don’t always hit the mark. “Almost Healed” condenses the ups and downs of Lil Durk’s musical and personal journey into an hour-long experience worth listening to.