Though many hip hop fans are talking about J. Cole’s verse like they were the last part of Kendrick Lamar’s “Control” verse in 2013, the “All My Life” record is centered around Lil Durk and his pain. So is the whole Almost Healed album.

The Chicago, Illinois rapper mourns King Von, who was killed in 2020, and his older brother Dontay “DThang” Banks Jr., who was lost the following year. Lil Durk knows what a “Therapy Session” is in real life – it’s not just the name of the opening track that features the famous soothing voice of Alicia Keys.

I played through the extensive 21-track project this weekend and I was impressed to find a few more stand-out songs. Autotune rap is annoying and lazy to me, in general, so it’s basically impossible for me to enjoy an entire project like this, but I’m about supporting Midwest artists, and I appreciate how this rapper is dropping music to fight through whatever pain he’s going through.

I’m really feeling this “All My Life” song a lot right now. The radio will make sure to ruin it for me by July but I’m going to keep banging it for now. I recently started opening up about some traumatic events and stretches that have haunted me for a long time so I connect to concept of “All My Life”. The message hits me.

Lil Durk goes in how those familiar with his flow would expect him to and I think he fits the track well. He carries a meaningful tone with his words and expresses concern for others going through it even during his time of trial. I like this bar of his:

“The Voice, but the system ain’t give me a choice”.

The Internet is going crazy over J. Cole’s verse, especially this part:

“These days seeing rappers be dying
Way before they even gettin’ they shine

I never even heard of lil buddy
Til somebody murder lil buddy
Now I’m on the phone, searching lil buddy name
Got to playing his tunes
All day in my room, thinking, ‘Damn
This shit wicked, to get they names buzzing
Some niggas just gotta go lay in a tomb’
And media thirsty for clicks
I got a new rule
If you ain’t never posted a rapper when he was alive
You can’t post about him after he get hit
It’s simple, it’s the principle”

There was a rumor that Cole was paid $1 million for it. I don’t care about wasteful rapper money gossip bullshit but it would be completely false of the coastal private school rapper to charge Durk that much for a song about overcoming pain. I hope that’s not the case. J. Cole is one of the most uniquely talented and outspoken mainline rappers in America.

The section is another “duh” facepalm-type moment for anyone anywhere close to being either genuine or educated on local hip hop, but, these types of simplistic flows and revelations do seem to draw massive American crowds. Solid marketing regardless. I like this song and I appreciate the effort at sincerity if it’s real. I also recommend the “Cross the Globe” and “Stand by Me” records off the album. Bless.

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