Following a successful 2020 for Lil Baby and Lil Durk, the two artists have collaborated to release their joint album ‘The Voice of the Heroes’. The connotation behind the title represents the separate identities both rappers have undertaken. Lil Durk identifies with being the voice because, through his music, he speaks for those living in the inner-city communities.
In his previous albums, the Chicago rapper shares life experiences about the dangerous street culture where his fans bond with his pain due to having similar life encounters. To an extent, Lil Durk’s fanbase considers him as a mentor for those living amongst that rough lifestyle. However, Lil Durk isn’t afraid to reveal his maniacal persona where he shows no remorse for his foes by insulting and mocking them. Lil Durk’s deranged nature makes his role as the voice complex as he goes from being this mentor to this sinister man glorifying violence. It’s debatable that this aspect of his music enhances the authenticity for his songs because it is realistic for a person in that socio-economic environment to have hatred for their enemies, which increases his relatability between him and his target audience. Lil Baby, on the other hand, is ‘The Hero’. His role is to be the saviour of the streets. As he asserts in track 3 of the album, ‘Hats Off’, “I’m the hero, I come through to save the day”.
‘The Voice of the Heroes’ is one hour long with 18 tracks featuring Young Thug, Meek Mill, Rod Wave and Travis Scott, which solely rely on Trap instrumentals for the production. Numerous fans questioned the quality of music as they didn’t see the chemistry between the two artists. However, many fans were excited about the link up due to relishing previous hits from Durk and Baby, such as ‘How I know’, ‘3 Headed Goat’ and ‘Finesse Out The Gang Way’. Not to forget their proceeding albums have Trap production. Although Lil Durk has introduced his music through Chicago Drill, the Chicago rapper has transformed his sound to Trap music, evident in ‘Signed to the Streets 3’, ‘The Voice’ and ‘Just Cause Y’all Waited 2’. Both rappers occurrences in this sub-genre contributed to the chemistry flowing between the two artists in ‘The Voice of the Heroes’.
Multiple producers composed the album’s production, such as TouchofTrent, Haze, London on da Track, DJ Young Pharoah, Irocconthebeat and more. They phenomenally formulated Trap instrumentals that allowed both rappers to correlate their musical styles together. Also, some of the instrumentals founded the mood of the songs, whether it was a poignant, or belligerent vibrancy.
Solely relying on Trap beats brought a disadvantage for the album as it made the majority of the project sound the same. This negative element made it difficult to keep up with the album because hearing the identical sound became monotonous, especially when you have to absorb in 18 tracks. Having 18 tunes was another down for ‘The Voice of the Heroes’ because it didn’t need many songs. While listening through ‘The Voice of the Heroes’, some tracks were throwaway fillers as they sounded rushed with the average, retelling lyrics. All these problems made it harder to ignore the repetitive production for certain songs. It is debatable for the fans to decide which tracks didn’t do the album justice.
Nonetheless, the album begins with the first song, ‘Voice of The Heroes’. ‘Voice of The Heroes’ is a solid introduction for the album as Lil Baby and Lil Durk establish their separate identities on being the voice and the hero. TouchofTrench wondrously produced the track’s instrumental, where he combined a chilling melody with the Trap beat. ‘Voice of The Heroes’ is followed up by multiple songs. Throughout these tunes, both Durk and Baby differ in their approach to speaking on topics. Lil Durk’s lyrics are mainly negative as he dwells on the reality revolving around the streets.
Lil Baby diverges from Durk’s pessimistic perspective and chooses to motivate people involved in the street lifestyle in fulfilling his role as the hero. Lil Baby in ‘The Voice of The Heroes’ mentions the rewards he gained from grinding through the hardship and becoming successful to inspire his target audience.
While thoroughly listening to the album, there are positive elements in ‘The Voice of the Heroes’. Lil Durk’s versatility in his flow gave him an advantage over Lil Baby. Lil Durk switched up his flow throughout the project, where he would mix his rapping flow with his euphonious singing. The Chicago rapper’s change to his musical approach in ‘The Voice of the Heroes’ enabled Durk to express his emotions appropriately when speaking on different topics, evident in the tracks ‘Bruised Up’ and ‘Still Runnin’, which differs on the subjects he speaks on, and the flow varies amongst the two tracks. Switching up his style enables Durk’s fans to feel his emotions, whether it is pain, or anger which strengthens the bond between Lil Durk and his fans.
Lil Baby’s approach to his flow lacked versatility as he relied on one style for the majority of the album. Nonetheless, the Atlanta rapper’s lyricism made up for this fault in his part of the album. His wordplay, including his rhyming scheme, is pleasing for the ears. Lil Baby’s best verses are packaged in ‘2040’, ‘Hats Off’, ‘Please’ and ‘That’s Facts’. Lil Durk isn’t recognised as a lyrical genius as he mainly stands out for his harmonious flow, the authenticity and the energy he delivers to the music scene. But, he doesn’t fail short of being a satisfactory lyricist for this project. His best performances are evident in the following songs ‘Still Runnin’, ‘Man Of My Word’, ‘Bruised Up’ and ‘Rich Off Pain’.
Overall ‘The Voice of The Heroes’ is an eminent project for the fans to savour. Despite the negatives mentioned earlier, Lil Durk and Lil Baby met the bar with their abilities. Their strengths managed to correlate with each other to outweigh the negatives and compose a decent album. ‘The Voice of the Heroes’ is their first joint album, which is thriving. Seeing what the future holds for this link-up will be entertaining to witness.
Check out Lil Baby & Lil Durk ‘The Voice of The Heroes’ below.