Photo Credit: Alamo Records
There’s no denying that Lil Durk has had a tumultuous journey to where he is now. From growing up on the tough streets of Chicago to finding fame and success in the rap game, Durk has endured his fair share of struggles and hardships. And on Almost Healed, he sets out to explore his journey towards healing – unfortunately, it’s a journey that falls short in its execution.
The opening track, “Stay Down,” introduces us to Alicia Keys as Durk’s therapist, setting the stage for what promises to be a vulnerable and introspective album. But as we move through the tracks, it becomes clear that Durk hasn’t fully dealt with his trauma. He frequently references past experiences but fails to bring anything new to the table. Tracks like “Pelle Coat” and “All My Life” feel like rehashes of things we’ve already heard from Durk, and even with J. Cole as a feature, “All My Life” falls flat in its attempt at delivering a message about fighting through hardships.
One of the biggest issues with Almost Healed is Durk’s insistence on making radio-friendly tracks. While it’s certainly understandable that he wants to appeal to a wider audience, this results in several lackluster collaborations. The Morgan Wallen-assisted (still shocked by this collaboration) “Stand By Me” feels particularly forced, and it’s hard to imagine that either artist saw many benefits from the duet.
Although perhaps most disappointing of all is the fact that Almost Healed fails to truly deliver on its promise of exploring Durk’s struggles and journey towards healing. Instead, he seems to be stuck in his ways, navigating toxic relationships, and justifying his reluctance to trust people. It’s a tired and predictable theme, one that Durk has explored before to much greater effect. The lack of depth and introspection on Almost Healed is especially noticeable considering other recent releases from rappers like Kanye West and Tyler, the Creator, both of whom have delved deeply into their own psyches and experiences.
Yet, it is on Durk’s most confident tracks where he truly shines. In “Put Em On Ice,” Durk delivers assured verses that demonstrate his clear-headedness and features a thorny beat by Chopsquad DJ that perfectly complements his flow. However, it is on the drug-induced “B12” where Durk truly lets himself go, delivering a carnivorous rant that blurts out his conscience. It’s moments like these where Durk’s raw energy and unbridled passion are on full display, reminding listeners why he’s considered one of the most exciting rappers in the game. Despite some more reflective moments on the album, it’s the tracks where Durk is at his most complacent that truly make Almost Healed worth a listen.
It’s clear that Lil Durk has been through a lot, and it’s certainly commendable that he’s trying to use his music as a means of exploring his journey toward healing. Unfortunately, Almost Healed simply doesn’t measure up. With its lack of depth and uninspired tracks, it’s hard to recommend this album to anyone looking for something new or meaningful.