Rapper Lil Duke, a moniker that stemmed from childhood and transitioned with him into rap stardom, wants to see everyone around him win. As the first signing to GRAMMY-award winning artist Young Thug’s Young Stoner Life Records, Duke simultaneously grew as an artist while fostering the growth of the label.
While Duke is a member of the Young Stoner Life roster, his relationship with Young Thug goes back over a decade -- before either of their beginnings within music. With Duke hailing from Jonesboro Road, an area within Atlanta, the pair grew up roughly four minutes away from each other. As Duke would describe his relationship with Thug as a “brother” rather than CEO, he knew from the onset of the label what it was destined to become. He also knew that with him being the first artist to be signed, he was also responsible for ushering in who would come after. It would eventually be Duke that would play a pivotal role in the addition of Gunna, who is now a multi platinum GRAMMY-nominated artist, to YSL Records by bringing it to Thug’s attention that Gunna could rap even featuring him on some of his early mixtapes.
In 2015, Lil Duke dropped his first self-titled project which featured a roster of producers and artists who would then go on to be all-stars within hip-hop such as Travis Scott, Wheezy, Offset, Peewee Longway and more. At the time, a lot of his peers saw his penchant for music and lyrics encouraging him to finally release his first mixtape. With the release of his first project under his belt, Duke then went on to release a slew of mixtapes such as Blue Devil, Uber, Life In The Hills, Uberman 2 and more. All of which housed features from a wide spectrum of artists such as Anthony Hamilton, 21 Savage, Lil Durk, Lil Yachty, Lil Baby, Wiz Khalifa, and many others. In addition, Duke has made appearances on songs for artists such as Trippie Redd, Chris Brown, Machine Gun Kelly, and NAV along with the projects of his labelmates such as Lil Keed and Gunna. Not mention the verses he’s contributed to some of Young Thug’s most culturally iconic projects including Barter 6, I’m Up, Slime Season 3, Slime Language, and most notably the #1 Album So Much Fun.
When talking about the 2021 release of the YSL Records compilation album Slime Language 2 on which he appears, Duke explains that the approach that the roster took when recording the album was “to tap into other people’s world” using each other and the artists they collaborated with to create the most cohesive body of work. As a follow-up to his 2019 project Blue Devil 2, Duke is gearing up to release his next project Duke Hefner.