Sequels can be tricky. In order to create a second installment of anything, the project must contain two key components; a contextual relation to previous works that grew your fan base initially and the ability to evolve artistically to a space that allows for a new-wider audience. Lil Durk’s “Signed To The Streets 2” is a perfect example of when a sequel is done right. “STTS 2” picks up where the first one left off, Chicago’s street culture through Durk’s eyes. On the opening Cardo produced track “Ready For Em” it’s evident that Durk has made a major leap in delivery, mixing and matching more complex rhyme patterns that set the theme for the entire project. In spite of Durk’s increased notoriety and star-power (also increased budget) he only enlists four features, Johnny Cash on “I Go,” Migos and Cash Out on “Lil Ni**Az,” and French Montana on the tape’s conclusion “Fly High.” This is a testament to his maturation process not only as a rhymer, but a composer of records that contain distinct and signature sound. The street narrative stays consistent on the Young Chop produced “Feds Listenin,” one of four tracks the Chicago go-to producer blessed the project with. One of the more interesting turns for “Signed To The Streets 2” is the vulnerability Durk shows on multiple records such as “Party” and “What You Do To Me” where he melodically raps
“Baby I’m different/I wanna be faithful/Baby just listen/I wanna be grateful.”
making it the closest song he has to a love ballad. The most impactful message comes on “Hell In My City” where Durk documents his struggle with his hometown, loss, and the overall attitude towards the well-documented violence of Chicago with
“I’ma ride for my brothers/I die for them that’s on my mother/Only the streets can feel my struggle/One thing about him, ain’t no other/I raise hell in my city.”
The 18-track, DJ Drama/Don Cannon hosted mixtape isn’t reinventing the wheel, however, what it is successfully accomplishing is displaying Lil Durk’s range as an artist. “STTS2” remains consistently loyal to Drill music ideology, (Durk’s bread and butter) but furthers the notion that he can thrive in that world, as well as crossover to a more widely accepted, mainstream outlet. Sequel aside, this body of work creates a landscape of where Durk artistically feels most comfortable and pays homage to what inspires him the most—the streets.