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In 2011, Banks would start taking music seriously. After plans to sign with Chief Keef and French Montana's labels fell through, he considered rapping as "a full-time career" after the releases of his two singles, "Sneak Dissin'" and "I'ma Hitta", each of which received generally positive feedback. On October 19, 2012, Durk released his third mixtape, Life Ain't No Joke. As of September 22, 2015, the mixtape has been downloaded over 216,000 times on DatPiff. In December 2012, Durk released the track, called "L's Anthem", which was remixed, featuring French Montana, as a re-release.
2013-2015: Signing to OTF and Def Jam Recordings and Signed to the Streets
After a small number of delays, Durk's fourth mixtape Signed to the Streets was released on October 14, 2013, exclusively on DatPiff. It features two guest appearances from former Glo Gang affiliate Lil Reese, along with production credits from Paris Bueller and Young Chop, among others. Eight music videos were released to promote the mixtape: "Bars Pt. 2", "Oh My God", "100 Rounds", "Dis Ain't What U Want", "Bang Bros", "Traumatized", "Hittaz" and "Times". Signed to the Streets would later be named the eighth best mixtape of 2013 by Rolling Stone. On October 22, 2013, in an interview with XXL, Lil Durk said he was working on his debut album under Def Jam. Also, Durk was named part of the 2014 XXL Freshmen Class.
On March 25, 2015, Durk announced the title of his debut studio album Remember My Name and revealed its original release date, May 12. On the same day, the album's first single, "Like Me", featuring Jeremih, was released.
However, on April 20, 2015, Durk announced that the May 12 release date of Remember My Name was delayed; he also revealed the official album cover and announced that its release had been pushed back to June 2.
On June 2, 2015, Durk's debut album, Remember My Name, was released as planned. The album peaked at number fourteen on the Billboard 200 with 28,000 equivalent album units; it sold 24,000 copies in its first week, with the remainder of its unit count attributed to streaming activity and track sales.
Later that year, Durk released his sixth mixtape, 300 Days, 300 Nights, on December 15, 2015. The only single released in promotion for the mixtape was "My Beyoncé", which features Detroit rapper Dej Loaf. The single was released on November 20, 2015. A music video for "My Beyoncé" had since been released in early 2016. On June 5, 2017, the single was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for single-equivalent units of over 500,000 copies.
2016: Lil Durk 2X
Lil Durk released his second album, Lil Durk 2X, on July 22, 2016. Previously, he released the first single for the album, "She Just Wanna", featuring Ty Dolla $ign, in May. Other follow-up singles for the album include: "Money Walk", featuring Yo Gotti, and "True". The album, unfortunately, failed to meet the same standards as his previous album, Remember My Name, peaking at number twenty-nine on the Billboard 200.
On December 7, 2016, Durk's single, "Like Me", from his debut studio album, Remember My Name, was certified gold by the RIAA.
2017-present: Mixtapes and departure from Def Jam Recordings
Throughout 2017, Durk released several mixtapes: Love Songs for the Streets in February,Supa Vultures, a collaborative mixtape with Lil Reese, in August,Signed to the Streets 2.5 in October and Bloodas, a collaborative mixtape with Tee Grizzley, in December.
On March 29, 2018, Durk announced his twelfth mixtape to be released the following day by midnight and his first mixtape to be released for digital retail, Just Cause Ya'll Waited. That same time, he also wished Def Jam Recordings the best of luck while revealing that he had "quarantined" his contract with the label. Finally, the following day after he left Def Jam, Durk, now a free agent, released Just Cause Ya'll Waited exclusively on Apple Music and the iTunes Store.Just Cause Ya'll Waited had since been available for stream or download on other platforms. The mixtape has since became Durk's first non-album project to peak on a Billboard chart, charting at numbers fifty-seven on the Billboard 200, twenty-eight on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and twenty-two on the Rap Albums chart, respectively.
Durk has also announced a collaborative project with 808 Mafia producer DY, Durkio Krazy.
Throughout his childhood, his father, Dontay Banks, Sr., had been serving two life sentences without the possibility of parole, with no disclosed details.
On May 31, 2014, Durk's cousin, rapper McArthur "OTF NuNu" Swindle, was murdered. Then, on March 27, 2015, Uchenna "OTF Chino Dolla" Agina, Durk's friend and manager was also shot dead.
Throughout late 2015 and early 2016, rumors begin to swirl that Durk was involved in a romantic relationship with rapper Dej Loaf, but they had both refuted these claims.
In 2011, Banks was arrested on a weapon charge and sentenced to three months in jail. He was later released on bond, only to be sent back to serve 87 more days. On June 5, 2013, Banks was arrested after allegedly throwing a loaded .40 caliber handgun into his car when police approached him on South Green Street in Chicago. He was charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon. He was held on $100,000 bond and his lawyer would claim to have nine affidavits from witnesses who confirm Durk's innocence. One witness also admitted the gun was his. Banks was released on July 18, 2013.
In 2014, his house was searched because someone convicted of second-degree murder charged him with having guns.
On August 19, 2016, he was cleared of disregarding probation when he was arrested on felony gun charges; the judge dropped the charges.
Durk was baffled in a rivalry between Chief Keef and rival Gangster Disciple Joseph "Lil Jojo" Coleman. After Glo Gang affiliate Lil Reese offended his gang set, The Brick Squad (not to be confused with rapper Gucci Mane's label), Jojo responded with the diss track, "BDK (300K)", calling out a vast majority of gang members, most namely Keef, Reese and Durk. The feud ended in tragedy after Lil Jojo was shot and killed on September 5, 2012.
After signing, respectively, with Universal Music's sister labels, Def Jam Recordings and Interscope Records, social and personal problems between Durk and Chief Keef's label, Glo Gang, began to develop in late 2012. After a social media exchange, Durk disassociated himself from Keef's label. Then, a spawn of diss songs followed, even for Durk in particular, his remix to Nicki Minaj's "Chiraq" with Meek Mill and Shy Glizzy. There, he not only calls out Keef, but also mentions Lil Reese, The Game, Tyga, King L and the Gangster Disciples. He even calls Keef "disrespectful" for turning his back on their friendship for Tyga and The Game's own remix of "Chiraq". In the midst of Keef's then-ongoing beef with rap group Migos, Durk shouted out the group in support to humiliate Keef. However, in August 2014, as Keef was on the verge of losing his Interscope record deal, Durk decided to mend his differences with him and just squash the feud.
After Durk dissed King L on his "Chiraq" remix, L would respond to both him and Keef, calling their feud a "whack movie trailer" comparison. However, this ended up short-lived as King L called his debacle with Durk a "big mistake".
Durk's feud with California rappers The Game and Tyga ignited in 2014 after releasing their remix to Nicki Minaj's "Chiraq", called "Chiraq to L.A.". Other than Durk being called out was 40 Glocc, Compton Menace and Waka Flocka Flame. This urged Durk and The Game, both to respond by heated exchanges socially. After Durk threatened to "holla" at Tyga, he went to sexually boast about having an affair with Game's ex-fiancée, Tiffney Cambridge. However, this would force Game to respond with "Bigger than Me", which he targets Durk, 40 Glocc, 50 Cent, and many countless others. Just eight months following, Durk squashed his feuds with Game and a week later with Tyga.
In his adolescence, Durk and Famous Dex attended Paul Robeson High School, but after they both dropped out, the two seemingly lost contact. But after Durk became famous, Dex immediately revealed in an interview that he never saw him in his later days soon after, until they finally got a chance to meet with one another during the 2016 BET Awards. Durk also admitted that he was still "rockin'" with Dex. Musician Lil' Mister also alleged a collaborative project between the two rappers was in development.
In the spring of 2016, after Tay600 was accused of testifying against fellow Black Disciples RondoNumbaNine, CDai and DRose 600 in their murder trials as an eyewitness, he was kicked out of his gang set, The Team 600, and was also dropped from Only the Family. However, Tay600 denied "snitching" on his former friends and blamed the entire ordeal on Durk, as he responded with a music video for his song, "Pressure", as well as a mixtape, The Truth, released that February. After dissing Tay600 at a live venue, Durk also released a remix to Meek Mill's "We Ball" with Tay's former friend, Booka600. Infuriated of the fact that his ex-friend collaborated with a rival, Tay600 responded with his own remix of "We Ball", calling Durk's collective Only the Family "fags". The feud resurfaced later in September 2017, after Tay600 criticized his former gang members for not helping him. He also bragged that he was involved in a short-lived sexual relationship with the mother of two of Durk's three children.
Durk was in the middle of controversy after a song by J. Cole, "Everybody Dies", was released in late-November, days before his fourth studio album, 4 Your Eyez Only, was released on December 9, 2016. The lyric on the song cited: "Lil whatever/Just another short bus rapper/Fake drug dealers turned tour bus trappers", with many speculating that this could be aimed at Durk, Lil Yachty and Lil Uzi Vert. It is unclear whether if it is a diss or vice versa as neither Durk or Cole responded to the track nor one another.