Remember My Name is a 12-track debut, originally slated to pay declaration to Durk's own legacy and the city he hails from, but took on greater meaning following the untimely deaths of his long-time manager OTF Chino and Coke Boys companion Chinx Drugz earlier this year in separate instances of gun violence; their deaths hovered over the album's lead-up. But while the gritty, Chicago rap subgenre of drill music, which infuses trap-inspired production with aggressive street stories and violent imagery, would have offered a powerful backdrop to share an honest proclamation of his losses, he's chosen to hide behind auto-tune, hurried lyricism and formulaic production.
Opener "500 Homicides," a reference to the city's total number of murders in the year 2012, hits with energy and fervency, and guest vocals from Def Jam label-mates Jeremih and Logic serve as unexpected and complementary additions help Durk makes "Like Me" and "Tryna' Tryna," respectively, stand as project pinnacles, but although Metro Boomin and Chicago beatmakers Young Chop and DJ L offer synth-heavy production on the album, as it progresses, Durk quickly runs out of steam, as evidenced by the ill-written "Lord Don't Make Me Do It" and repetitive "Why Me." His flashes of brilliance and evidence of growth are outweighed by moments that feel disconnected, as though they were rushed. This time, his stories of violence on the Windy City's streets fail to resonate.
While Lil Durk's impact on the Chicago rap scene and the legacy of drill music may yet prove worthy of commemoration, Remember My Name is mostly forgettable. (Def Jam)