Lil Durk released 300 Days 300 Nights on Tuesday. It’s his latest mixtape and an update for fans on what he’s been going through in life, which is a lot. He’s got a semi-new side piece in DeJ Loaf; creating a relationship with more PDA than you’d think two people from the roughest areas of their respective cities would display. He’s also more popular than ever before.
Back in 2012 there were so many rappers buzzing from Chicago you couldn’t count ‘em if you tried. Durk has always remained among the top names from the Drill scene and perhaps one of the ones with the best head on his shoulders. It’s his level headedness, as much as his musical output, that has him as one of the top shot-callers from his hometown.
BET.com recently spoke with Lil Durk about his most recent release. We also asked him about his thoughts on Spike Lee’s film Chi-raq. As one of the early users of the phrase, Durk wasn’t to happy about how Spike decided to represent his city even if it’s in a satirical sense. He also talked about his relationship with DeJ and says he’s already completed 10 records with her. We asked him about her lyrics on one of those tracks, “My Beyoncé” and one line in particular: “Durk and DeJ / I'm thinkin' 'bout changin' my last name.” He laughs about it, but perhaps the less said, the more revealing. We’ll let you be the judge.
I feel like this project is your most complete musically as a songwriter. Tell us about creating it and your goals for it.
Lil Durk: I’ve definitely come a long way from where I came from, where I started from, so I put a lot of the new me to the side and went back to what I knew: to the originality and the stuff that was going on in the city, I just put it in my mindframe and just got to it.
Last time we talked was all the way back in 2012. You were young in the game then and Chicago was really starting to bubble at that point. How have you grown between then and now?
Lil Durk: You’re supposed to get smarter everyday. Some of them don’t. I want to get smarter everyday and just open my mind up, open my eyes up and see things and networking, talking with different people, and definitely like working with French [Montana] and them and getting advice from them and just opening my eyes up and spreading the word around.
Your father is on the intro of 300 Days 300 Nights talking to you, giving you advice and what he’s going to do when he gets out of prison. Why did you decide to include him on this?
Lil Durk: [He’s] definitely keeping it to the streets and being my mentor. I ain’t have have him in my life so [it’s] a fresh start-over again. His words [are] powerful in the streets of Chicago so I just wanted to give everybody an update. He come home a positive man-type stuff, keeping it together. He coming off strong like that so I wanted everyone to hear that so I thought it would be a good idea to put him on the intro.
Would you consider him a powerful voice for guiding the streets away from violence?
Lil Durk: Yeah for sure. Anybody got [any] type of fans. You got three fans, your voice means something so everybody rapping in Chicago got a voice. It’s how you going to use it.
Have you gotten a chance to see the Chi-raq film and if so what are your thoughts about it?
Lil Durk: Our artist [Hypno] Carlito, he got the leading song for it, “Pray For My City,” we actually about to walk in and go see it right now [laughs].
Oh word? [laughs]
Lil Durk: Yeah.
What are your thoughts about Chance The Rapper’s disapproval of the film and what he believes to be a misrepresentation of actual “Chiraq?”
Lil Durk: I don’t blame him. Because at the same time you got to make something real. We don’t even do [gang] colors in Chicago. It’s like he’s putting together a made up story when things should be official and real so I don’t blame him. I don’t got nothing against Spike [Lee] but the way I see it, if you’re going to use the name “Chiraq” you should’ve made it more realer, more us.
So you think Spike’s misrepresenting it from what you believe Chiraq to be?
Lil Durk: Yeah for sure. For example, Straight Outta Compton, everything was real, that’s what happened. You can name things in the movie. I just thought [he] would use current things of today like the violence going on, what’s going on with the kids, who’s going on strike. That’s what we was waiting to see. We were waiting to see stuff like that. We weren’t ready to see females telling us they wasn’t giving us no sex ‘cause of guns. It ain’t make no sense to us.
Something you’re catching headlines for is your relationship with DeJ Loaf. Tell us about her a little bit and why she’s the one for you.
Lil Durk: She’s amazing. She’s different with the music. She came up different. She definitely got a lot of fans and she versatile. That’s one thing about it. When we first did our song, when we got our song together, it wasn’t no six or seven tries. We got in and we put it in.
You’re referring to her verse on “My Beyoncé,” correct?
Lil Durk: Yeah, “My Beyoncé.” We got, man, 10 other records that sound good. The one that’s out is “My Beyoncé,” so I’m referring to it.
Word? So you have a lot more music recorded together for either her projects or yours?
Lil Durk: Yeah we got like 10 records.
On “My Beyoncé,” she mentions “changing her last name.” Are you guys thinking about marriage or is she just talking s**t?
Lil Durk: [Laughs] I don’t know. That’s something you gotta ask her.
I spoke with DeJ last year hot off of “Try Me” and it just seems like she is so much more grown now as an artist and woman. Do you feel the same?
Lil Durk: Yeah, she got different music. She came off with the savage talk and now she’s just a sexy symbol now. She’ll tell you in a minute that she like that ‘cause that’s what sells more.
She’s from Detroit and you’re from Chicago. Both of those places can be rough. Do you feel like your rough backgrounds have you connecting on a different level?
Lil Durk: Yeah that’s like the same place, Chicago and Detroit. Ain’t no big difference. Only thing different is she a female and I’m a male.
What’s next for you?
Lil Durk: We working on tours, politicking with different artists out there, doing collab mixtapes, another album, shows, we working!
Paul Meara is a Columbus, Ohio native and resident. He’s been with BET since October and written for Billboard, Complex, HipHopDX and NahRight, among others. Follow him on Twitter: @PaulMeara
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Watch: BET Breaks: DeJ Loaf and Lil Durk Were Booed Up and Kissed at '106 & Party' in the video below.
(Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)