The red flags waved so evidently for this album that it was on the brink of not being reviewed.
When you see 18 tracks of music spread out across an hour from Lil Baby and Lil Durk, the migraines set in because you know you aren’t getting anything conceptual nor will there be a single motif carrying listeners through the album.
Usually, records from these types of artists are just covered with filler after filler and every song will be wiped from your memory within 24 hours.
Since the days of Drip Harder with fellow mumble rapper Gunna, Lil Baby has been on the no-listen list for lacking any sense of rhythm, flow or vocal prowess. Essentially, you can throw Lil Baby’s voice into a group of similar rappers and if you asked someone to pick out his voice from a group, you’d have to make a wild guess.
Meanwhile, Durk was never someone on my radar as I expected him to fall into the same branch of quantity over quality that a lot of artists are pulling nowadays.
What I can say about this record is Lil Durk certainly has a high ceiling and there is a sense of hard work and effort across the first half of the album.
Even though Lil Durk has been in the game for close to a decade, The Voice of the Heroes is a breakout for him in the context of the current rap field. At the bare minimum, I can get somewhat excited if he’s hopping on a track from now on. The main problem for Durk on this record is that he bogs himself down to the quality of Baby, but when there are tracks with features, he steps up his game and tries to outshine a Travis Scott or Meek Mill. When it’s just Lil Baby and him, it’s almost like he takes a step back to not flat out embarrass a much-weaker collaborator.
A lot of credit has to be given to the string of producers as Haze, London on da Track and Touch of Trent provide a lot of life in some of the bangers in the first half-hour of this project. It forces Durk and Lil Baby to be at their best in their delivery, but at Baby’s best, he’s still running the same one-note, inaudible, processed-to-hell flow that we’ve come to know since he first broke into the mainstream. There’s never been any presence from Baby and whenever Durk follows him up on a verse, Baby becomes obsolete from a track.
There are a handful of likable songs in the first half with “Hats Off” collab with Travis and the Meek Mill feature on “Still Runnin.”
“Medical” and “How It Feels” keep the hard-hitting energy going, but by the time we get to “Lying”, that’s when the two completely gas out and phone it in the rest of the way. Again, there is no reason why these two should be dropping an hour-long project. It’s just to beef up those streaming numbers.
You almost lose sense of time with the final leg of the record as Durk and Baby forget how to flow across these up-tempo instrumentals. It’s like Blueface transferred his soul into both artists to put a dagger into this album.
At this project’s best, Lil Durk is a rapper worth listening to when put with that hard-hitting, in-your-face production. There’s certainly a voice that can put out quality tracks, and even a quality album if it’s not bloated to hell.
As for Lil Baby, there’s still just no hope unless he’s willing to make a big swing in adjustments. No one can take away his superstar platform, but he needs some mentorship that isn’t from a Young Thug or Future.
However, the realist in me says that it’s not going to happen.
Richest Tracks: “Hats Off”, “Still Runnin”, “Medical”, “How It Feels”
Worst Track: “Lying”
LISTEN TO THE ALBUM