The past few years have been filled with a whirlwind of major wins for Lil Durk, as he established himself as a bonafide star and the most popular rap artist from Chicago outside of Kanye West. With a string of high-profile features, a blockbuster collaborative album with Lil Baby, and the release of his most successful solo album to date (The Voice) behind him, the phenom continues to push forward with his new album, 7220. Channeling the pain endured from the 2020 death of his artist and close friend King Von, as well as that of his elder brother, Dontay “DThang” Banks Jr., the album finds Durk giving autobiographical accounts that bring listeners into his world and provide a glimpse into the makings of the man behind the music.
Harkening back to his underprivileged upbringing in the Chi-Town slums on “Started From,” Durk speaks on the various hardships he’s faced throughout his youth. Exploring subjects like the void left from having an incarcerated father and the impoverished conditions he and his family were subjected to, the rapper spits from the vantage point of his grandmother’s home, a location that’s referenced throughout the album and inspired its title.
“You ever been evicted/ You ever been addicted,” Durk asks on “Head Tap,” a string-laden cut produced by David Morse and Touch of Trent, the latter of whom also scores 7220 standouts like “No Interviews,” “Federal Nightmares,” and the Summer Walker-assisted burner “Difference Is.” From sending a stray shot in the direction of DJ Vlad to claiming to have equipped incarcerated rapper Pooh Shiesty with a firearm during a visit to the Chiraq streets, “Golden Child” and the aforementioned “No Interviews” capture Durk in his freewheeling element that fans have come to love him for.
Flying solo for much of the project, Durk does make room for a handful of collaborative efforts, as Future joins him on the mid-tempo heater “Petty Too,” while Gunna joins Durk to send a farewell to late fashion icon Virgil Abloh on “What Happened To Virgil.” One touching moment on 7220 that marks Durk’s evolution as a family man comes via “Love Dior Banks,” which features DThang’s daughter singing about the absence of her father in her life and finds Durk continuing to mourn and memorialize his fallen brother. Previously released inclusions like “AHHH AH,” “Pissed Me Off,” and the twangy Morgan Wallen-assisted number “Broadway Girls” are welcomed additions and help round out the album rather than serving as unnecessary filler.
While it’s still a bit early for grand proclamations, as it stands, 7220 is an admirable effort from Lil Durk and is definitely in the running for being his most well-rounded and cohesive solo effort to date.