Different Meaning by Lil Durk: Lyrics Meaning and Interpretation

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Different Meaning is a rap song recorded by Lil Durk for his studio album Just Cause Ya’ll Waited 2. The song was not released as a single.

The Title – What does it mean?

The song title Different Meaning suggests a change in the way we look at gang violence depicted in rap culture. It is a serious issue. Lil Durk has lost his brother, his cousin and some of his closest friends to gang violence. Through this song, Lil Durk hopes to reach out to both the perpetrators and victims of violence. Wielding guns and picking up fights is not something to look up to.

Verse 1 – What does it mean?

(12 Hunna on the beat)

(DY Krazy)

When you wake up off them pills, that feeling terrible

The worst thing to be known is when they scared of you

“…pills” in these lines could refer to anti-depressants. Medicines for depression can uplift the mood. But when you come off them, reality hits you hard. Lil Durk comments on how the cure to his sadness is not medicine. Meds do not change his living conditions. They cannot solve the problem of violence and the hardships Lil Durk has experienced growing up in his neighborhood.

Lil Durk talks about how rivalry and aggression stems from fear. When people are “scared of you” they will act violently towards you. But it is a defence mechanism, a product of fear. They think of you as a threat that must be eliminated, before you will kill them first.

And they gon’ laugh right in your face when they ahead of you

And to be technical, that shit we do is federal

The rivalry and hatred between different gangs is mutual. Even though the other party or gang fears you, they will not miss an opportunity to get the upper hand. “…ahead of you” can also refer to intoxication on drugs. These violent gang members overcome their fears through substance abuse. It is so intense that they manage to derive humor from violence, which otherwise should be a harrowing experience.

Lil Durk makes a socio-political comment in the next line. He believes that the government (“federal”) is ultimately responsible for the violence in his community. The government either ignores the problem of gang violence, or has actually instigated it through bias and discrimination.

Holding tear backs from this life, it’s so unbearable

You a copycat, that’s not lean, that’s Theraflu

Lil Durk expresses sadness for the state of his hometown. It is unbearable to lose your loved ones to violence. But Lil Durk is staying strong by “Holding tear backs”.

The second line is directed to people who engage in violence. Some people join gangs because it is what they have seen their whole lives. They might even view it as a cool thing to do. But Lil Durk wants to remind them that by following the footsteps of their violent ancestors they are not acting cool.

“…lean” is a street drug made from codeine (an ingredient found in cough syrups). Theraflu is an over-the-counter cough and cold medicine which does not have codeine in it. Lil Durk mocks gang members who think they are “lean”, when in fact they are Theraflu, a cheap rip off.

I’ma jump from the top of my money with a parachute

And who you look up to a ho, I wouldn’t dare salute

I keep taking care of my killers, they wouldn’t care to shoot

As a professional rapper, Lil Durk finally has access to money and resources to bring about a change. But even if he jumps out with a parachute, people in his area still won’t look up at him. Instead, they will continue to be led by a “ho”, a dirty, unworthy leader.

Lil Durk’s efforts are paying off. Some of his enemies (“killers”) have switched over to his side. Now there is no aggression between them.

I got your address from a bitch, that’s for a pair of shoes

You got a text like, “He got hit,” that shit be scary news

They told me, “Get up out the streets, you can go back to school”

Lil Durk critiques the lack of morality and ethics within the gang community. Members have no sense of loyalty. Something as basic as “a pair of shoes” can motivate them to ditch their own community. Through menial bribes, gang members can turn against one another.

Bridge 1 – What does it mean?

My life hurts so bad

Thinking ’bout if you was here, what kinda life you would have

As mentioned earlier, Lil Durk has lost many close friends and relatives to gang violence in real life. He is devastated by the current state of affairs. He is praying to the deceased, thinking, even if they were alive their life would not be any better.

Nowadays, the way we live, we live our life on the edge

Nowadays, the way we live, you would die if you scared, uh

The problem of gang violence is alarming in the present. People are living “on the edge”. Nobody knows when they’ll get killed. There is no room for fear, if you want to survive in this environment.

Verse 2 – What does it mean?

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Nobody put fear in us

I put real life inside this music, they not hearing us

I know what’s real, I had some real killers tearing up

I did all I can for ’em, they not sincere enough

Through his music, Lil Durk had hoped he would spread the message of peace to stop people from killing each other. He could have glorified gang violence in his song, like many rappers do. But instead of death and devastation, he put “real life inside this music”. He reveals that some gang members were moved to tears on hearing his music. But his message is not reaching an audience large enough to make a “sincere” change.

They stopped believing me way back then, they can’t cheer with us, mmm-mmm

It get treacherous, that’s why they don’t mention us

Lil Durk talks about the early days of his career. He confesses that many people in his life did not support him in his journey as a rapper. They stopped believing in him. Perhaps, they wanted Lil Durk to remain in the gang. In a way, Lil Durk is now an outcast in his own community.

Why you holding onto a snitch? Just give that victim up

They can’t take care us alone, that’s why they cliquing up

They told me to go pop and give the trenches up

The hatred against Lil Durk is so intense that he is labelled as a “snitch”. A snitch is slang for a backstabber who betrays his own people. But Lil Durk warns the listeners about these gangsters who instigate friends against each other. According to Lil Durk, these gang members do not care about the community. They are “cliquing up”, meaning, they are forming an exclusive group that only looks out for itself.

In fact they warned Lil Durk to “give the trenches up”, that is, leave the community. Otherwise, they will “pop” him, meaning, shoot him dead with a gun.

I said fuck that shit, four killers inside a Bentley truck

It would’ve been five, but one of them died, his soul was given up

Wish I talked to him on the last call, told him live it up

But Lil Durk is not afraid of these threats. He will try to convince people into giving up the life of violence. He cites an example of how in a raid or attack someone always dies. Lil Durk wishes he could have met the deceased person before he/she got into the fight. He would have told them that their life is more precious than asserting dominance.

Bridge 2 – What does it mean?

Where the love? Mmm, where the love?

You know it’s tiring tryna clean blood from a rug

You know it’s tiring watchin’ my back and duckin’ slugs

I know two robbers said they tired of sticking up

Lil Durk now asks gang members bluntly “Where the love”? How can they claim to enjoy what they do when mothers have to wash off their sons’ blood from the rug when they get shot? How can they have a good time when they are always alert and afraid of an incoming attack? Lil Durk knows that these members are tired of violence. But can they give it up before it is too late?

Chorus – What does it mean?

This life is for the ghetto

This life, this life, this life

This life is for the ghetto

This life, this life, this life

This life is for the ghetto

This life, this life, this life

This life is for the ghetto

This life, this life, this life

Lil Durk exclaims that his life is dedicated to the ghettos – his home. He will continue to work towards solving the issue of violence even if it gets him killed.


This song is extremely personal to Lil Durk. It also describes the harsh truth behind gang violence. Being a gang member is not cool like many rap songs depict. There is no glory in a life of violence. There is only sadness, loss and fear.

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