Lil Durk: "Actually, I recorded my first mixtape with DGainz. He recorded my whole first mixtape. It was bogus—all the songs leaked. I just put it together to put it out. And then I made I’m Still A Hitta. I got a lot of feedback. And now I’ve got Life Ain’t No Joke.
"I like ‘Rob Who’ with me and Lil Reese. I did [videos] for all the songs. Even for all the songs I don’t like—I still made them. [With ‘227k,’] We were just bored in the house. There’s a hallway scene, house scene, outdoor scene. [‘Fly Wit Me’ was about] one of my homies who died.
"I'm Still a Hitta was when I first got into it with Paris Bueller. I used to know Paris Bueller back then when I first made ‘Sneak Dissin.’ I used to record a third of the songs at his house. They moved and that was that. I forgot about him completely. Then when I had gotten with a guy named Focus. He had told me, ‘Bueller said what’s up.’ I’m like, ‘Who’s Bueller?’
“He’s like, man, he used to quarrel with him on Emerald [Street]. So I went over there, it clicked in my head a little bit, like he looks familiar. He was making beats. I asked him to make something from scratch. He made ‘L’s Anthem.’ That’s the first song I made with him. I’m like, "Brother, this is a hit right here." We made a chorus, chopped the chorus up and went from there. I didn’t even think it would do what it did, though.
“[With ‘I Get Paid’], [King] Louie got all types of different ways and styles. He said, ‘Let’s do something different.’ I already knew it was going to be something crazy. When the beat came on, it already came with a chorus. He was like, ‘Repeat this.’ And we went in on it.
“[With ‘Right Here,’] again, I was at Bueller’s house. [Young] Chop was like, ‘Let me make you a crazy beat.’ I said, ‘Go ahead.’ He made it. I made ‘Right Here.’ At first, I was like, ‘It’s alright. It ain’t going to do good.’ But when I made the video, that’s when the views starting going everywhere and everybody’s listening to the same song. But now I got Meek Mill on it. He hit me yesterday. Actually, I had sent it to the wrong email at first. I was like, ‘No wonder.’ I’m checking it all day and [he didn’t] send it back. He hit me on Twitter yesterday and told me to send the track. I told him I had already given it to him. Then he inboxed me and said I sent it to [his booking] email.
“[On Life Ain't No Joke] I’m more versatile, more organized. It had different songs, and the names just stand out by themselves.
“[On 'Disappearing,'], I was in Atlanta when I recorded it. Paris Bueller sent me the beat through gmail. He told me it was a beat nobody really liked. He wondered if I could do it, so I rapped over it and he chopped it up. That turned out to be one of the best songs. Yeah, he said nobody was messing with it. I listened to it and was like, ‘Alright.’ The only thing I told him to add was the snares. I told him to add some snares to the beat to make it more head-nodding. He did it his own way so I’m like, ‘Alright.’ When I got done with it, it was hot. I give him advice sometimes and he will give me some.
“[For ‘All White,’] I met Yo Gotti. [We didn’t record together because] he was working on CM7. He hit me on Twitter wanting to work. I know he like white, so I thought it would work. [Whether I use it as a single], I’m going to listen to that. I would listen to the Yo Gotti and the one with Meek and see which is better radio-wise.
“[The song I like the most on the new tape] is ‘Life Ain’t No Joke,’ the outro. I was trying to be like, real life stuff. I try to make the outro and the intro the best two songs.”