Lil Durk has been hyping the release of his next album, 7220, for a while now, sharing the dates for the album’s spring tour in late January and making himself as visible as possible on tracks like 50 Cent’s “Power Powder Respect,” Cordae’s “Chronicles,” Gucci Mane’s “Rumors,” and 2 Chainz’s “Lost Kings.” And although he hasn’t yet released an official single for the album, he did just reveal its release date — and his strategy for getting fans’ attention focused on it to ensure they stream it as much as possible.
My album drop same day as YE 2/22/22
— THE VOICE (@lildurk) February 7, 2022
“My album drop same day as YE 2/22/22,” he tweeted, revealing both the release date and subtly challenging his fellow Chicagoan. Although plenty of artists would likely loathe releasing their albums on the same projected day as Kanye’s hotly-anticipated Donda 2, it appears that Lil Durk is so confident in his own project, he doesn’t mind risking getting overshadowed. In fact, the tactic more or less takes a page right out of Kanye’s own playbook. In 2007, Kanye bet on his own album Graduation against the sales juggernaut named 50 Cent and 50’s impending release of Massacre.
Kanye and 50 both got into the spirit of the competition, which held seismic implications for the state of hip-hop at the time. When Kanye outsold 50 after their first weeks were tallied, it signaled a shift away from 50’s dominance (and, by extension, the gangsta rap genre in general) toward Kanye’s (and so-called “alternative rap,” which opened the door for successors such as Drake and J. Cole). While Kanye isn’t likely to repeat this tactic twice, especially standing in 50’s position this time around, a big streaming week for Durk could signal a similar end to Kanye’s own charts dominance in favor of a younger generation of rappers.
We’ll see how it all pans out — or whether Kanye even releases his album on the promised date — on 2/22.