(Credit: Eric Johnson)
“I know a couple n*gga’s that’s down to ride for a homicide when it’s drama time…”
Like a skilled thief perfected by the struggles of poverty, the Rapper then known as Lil Herb, used the opening lyrics of his 2012 song, “Kill Shit,” to slip into the world of Hip-Hop and successfully steal the genre’s attention.
While the song’s superficially violent lyrics helped to further the Chicago creation that is “Drill Music,” at only 16 years-old, it was Herb’s age paired with an amateur music video that featured a litany of adolescents brandishing military style weapons that turned him into an instant celebrity.
Since the explosion of “Kill Shit,” Lil Herb has been featured on multiple songs with several popular artists including fellow Chicago native, Common. Been dubbed “the future” by Rap superstar, Drake. And even underwent a name change, choosing to continue his career under the moniker G Herbo. Yet despite this success, G Herbo has yet to release a debut album.
This, however, is set to change.
After years of displaying his skills as a versatile lyricist, G Herbo is finally ready to drop his first official album, “Humble Beast“, which is slated for a September 22nd release date.
In an interview with RESPECT., Herbo spoke about the origin of his stardom, the plight of his beloved Chicago, and what fans can expect from his upcoming album.
RESPECT.: “With your debut album, ‘Humble Beast,’ set to release on September, 22nd, I would like to take you back to your ‘introduction’ to mainstream Hip-Hop with the song ‘Kill Shit’ featuring Lil Bibby. What was it like making that song and did you expect the reaction it received? Did you guys know y’all had a classic on your hands?”
G Herbo: “We were just doing what we do. We didn’t know it would blow up the way it did. We were just rapping like we always did. Like even the video. We shot that b*tch at like four in the morning. Just in the neighborhood with the guys. We didn’t know it would be the thing it is today. Looking back on it that whole thing is crazy. It’s crazy to think that that song is our biggest collaboration to date.”
RESPECT.: “What prompted your transition from the street-life of Chicago to being 100 percent committed to music?”
G Herbo: “It was just natural. There’s nothing that really made it happen. I just knew that you can’t be in the streets all your life if you’re trying to make something of yourself. I knew I wanted something different.”
RESPECT.: “Drill Music has impacted and influenced almost every facet of today’s Hip-Hop. How do you feel about the tremendous impact of a sub-genre you helped pioneer?”
G Herbo: “I don’t consider myself a ‘Drill Artist.’ I just came up at the same time as Drill Music, but I wouldn’t consider myself a part of that. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against those guys, but I can talk about that drill shit and more. If you wouldn’t consider Nas or Meek or Jay a ‘Drill Artist’ then I wouldn’t consider myself as one.”
RESPECT.: “In your music, you tend to not only speak about the violence of Chicago but also address the issues that could be its catalyst. A perfect example of this is your song ‘Red Snow.’ Why is it important for you to create songs like that one?”
G Herbo: “Because a lot of people judge us. You can’t really judge us if you don’t really understand our story and what we’ve been through. The things we had to go through to get where we are. We grew up doing negative and thinking negative and that negative environment is still apart of us. People don’t understand the decision we made or the things we went through. We survived. We really just adapting to our environment. All the situations we have been in. I wouldn’t say we chose this. I didn’t choose this life for myself. It just naturally happened. It chose me. People have to understand that there are certain thing and situations that make you the man you are. And if I could relive my life, I would do it exactly the same way I did it before because it made me the man I am today.”
RESPECT.: “It appears that you have created a genuine connection with your 2016 XXL Freshman classmates, most notably Lil Uzi Vert and Dave East. Do they having dropped well-received projects add any additional pressure for your own release?”
G Herbo: “There’s no pressure in general. I’ve always been a calm person. Even when I was on street shit, in the field, I was always calm, I never froze up. And personally, don’t worry about what the next man is doing. Yeah I f*ck with them and their projects are nice, but I don’t base my moves off theirs. So, there’s no pressure for this album because I don’t feel that.”
RESPECT.: “Speaking of Uzi, you two released a song last week called: ‘Everything.’ Yet, you have also been seen in the studio with many up and coming talents such as producer, ChaseTheMoney. How important was it for you to find the right sound rather than the right name for this album?”
G Herbo: “It’s never about that. It’s never about ‘the name.’ It’s all about the music and the connection. If I f*ck with you and I like your music than we can work. Like Uzi, I f*ck with him and he’s talented so we made a song. ChaseTheMoney. He’s a really talented dude. I like his production so I chose to work with him. I don’t care about a name. You could be a guy off the street if you got talent I’m going to f*ck with you. You never know who that next ‘big name’ is so I don’t get caught up in that. I just create good music with talented people.”
RESPECT.: “You stated that you would like your album to be ‘perfect,’ resembling Nas’s ‘Illmatic’ and Jay-Z’s ‘Reasonable Doubt.’ What makes these albums the standard for you and how are you planning on reaching that bar?”
G Herbo: “That’s self-explanatory. Those are two of the most complete albums in Hip-Hop. So, if I want to be the best I have to compare myself to the best. But, I’m not doing anything different. I’m still going into the studio and being me. I just want to be great so I have to put myself up against greatness. Those should be standards and goals. Those are people and albums I look up to.”(“Humble Beast” cover art)
RESPECT.: “The latest installment to your ‘4 Min of Hell’ song series has been added to “Humble Beast” as a bonus track. Fans were under the impression that Part 4 was the last one. What made you revive this popular series?”
G Herbo: “It was just natural. Even when I said after 4 I wasn’t going to do another, everyone was like: ‘do another 5.’ But there wasn’t anything that ‘made’ me do it. I got the beat and when I got to rapping to it people were like: ‘yeah this needs to be another 4 min.’ But there was no stop to the series. Even when I said part 4 was the last one, I knew I could pick it up again at any time. It was really about the beat and timing that made me do it. Nothing other than that for real.”
RESPECT.: “What can fans expect from ‘Humble Beast’ and what’s the hopes for your debut album?”
G Herbo: “I feel like the fans can expect, me. What’s true to me, Lil Herb/G Herbo. Everything I’ve ever been through that got me to this point in my life. Everything that I plan on doing 5 to 10 years from now. This is my story. I feel like ‘Humble Beast’ is the introduction to who I am. To who Lil Herb/G Herbo is to everybody. To the fans and to people who have never heard my music before. That’s what it is. An introduction to me.”
RESPECT.: “So, will fans be able to witness the growth and obstacles that turned ‘Lil Herb’ into ‘G Herbo?’
G Herbo: “Of course, that’s what everything I make is about. It’s to showcase my growth. I’m not the same 16/17-year-old artist. So, of course, you’re going to see tremendous growth.”
(Credit: Eric Johnson)
Since his emergence, Hip-Hop has witnessed Herb’s transition from the fiery and exuberant ‘Lil Herb’ to a still passionate but more collected ‘G Herbo.’ And although a lot has changed throughout this journey, what has stayed consistent is the advanced sense of maturity that has accompanied Herb’s career.
This accelerated wisdom hasn’t only allowed Herbo to maneuver the epidemic of impatience, it also equipped him with the ability to propel himself onto a stage of cultural reverence.
Herb’s skill, age, and subject matter speak directly to the plight of the oppressed millennial. Because of this, he bypassed the short-lived sensation of “fame” while on route to establishing himself as one of this generation’s more prophetic prodigies.
Herb’s intellectual standing paired with his passion to be great creates hopeful expectations for his debut. It is understood that G Herbo possesses the skill and awareness to not only create a legendary album but also affect lives. This rare combination only heightens anticipation. Yet if Herb taps into his unique charismatic abilities, “Humble Beast” will undoubtedly surpass the expectations that precede it while molding the lives of its listeners.
Pre-order G Herbo’s forthcoming album Humble Beast via iTunes/Apple Music.