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Burn Movie Review

Sizzlingly Odd
In his debut feature, writer/director Mike Gan has created a small film that, if there's justice, will attain a cult-like status. "Burn" takes place in the course of one evening and entirely within the confines of a rural, out-of-the-way gas station shop.
It's the kind of place that loners might wander into for a hot cup of coffee at 3am. Obviously this is not a big budget film, but Gan squeezes an awful lot of goodness out of it. Maybe we should call it badness.





Lil Durk - Love Songs 4 the Streets 2 Music Album Reviews

A sequel to his 2017 tape shows the one-time rising star of Chicago drill again offering a sobering depiction of life outside of rap myths.

Lil Durk’s music offers a sobering depiction of life outside of rap myths. He writes like someone keeping his head above water, hustling paycheck to paycheck, with dwindling hopes that a career in music will provide all promised riches.

Durk Banks knows what it’s like to brush with rap superstardom. A prominent player in the early-2010s Chicago drill surge, he leveraged interest in the scene to cut a deal with Def Jam. But Durk never seemed comfortable breaking bread with the majors, and has since retreated into the cold embrace of his hometown. Last year’s Signed to the Streets 3 was released in partnership with Interscope, representing another—perhaps final—throw of the dice in Durk’s pursuit of mainstream acceptance. But the album just kind of came and went, and so he returns with Love Songs 4 the Streets 2, a follow up to a 2017 tape that offered hymns for the Chicago neighborhoods he’ll forever orbit, and an antidote to some of his label struggles.

At its best, Love Songs 4 the Streets 2 evokes similar sentiments. “I thought my life was supposed to change when I got that deal,” Durk sighs on “Rebellious” as he details the need to pay his grandmother’s bills and mourns fallen cousins. Assertions like “even though I’m still rich” feel perfunctory, with Durk’s half-sung, Auto-Tune-doused croons deflating like a punctured basketball. On “Locked Up,” he appears to talk directly to a jailed friend about the thoughtlessness and pain that led the pair to this point in their lives—a song that hits just weeks after it was revealed that a Georgia judge has found probable cause to charge Banks, as well as fellow rapper King Von, with criminal attempt to commit murder. There’s no American Dream success story here. Durk makes being a rapper sound like a hard slog.

At a full seven songs longer than its preceding volume, Love Songs 4 the Streets 2 has time to run the full gamut of Durk’s styles. “Green Light” is a hardboiled trap thriller; “Die Slow” slides into guest 21 Savage’s haunted lane. As if to underline Durk’s mainstream struggles, cracks appear on the tracks ostensibly cut for radio appeal. The Durk-Meek Mill team-up “Bougie” lacks chemistry. Sleazy sex jam “Extravagant” comes close, but it’s held back by Nicki Minaj’s ill-suited bombastic verse and a few laughable Durk one-liners.

Culling these missteps would have helped the tape’s batting average, but they can’t mask Durk’s undeniable strengths. Looking back on drill, nobody really cashed in on the promised riches. Very young stars had the keys to the kingdom but couldn’t find their way through the gates. But in the case of Lil Durk, something special happened: He kept making great music, evolving out of a hard-boiled subgenre towards something more meditative and essential.

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