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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Chicago Rapper G Herbo Hopes His Music Will Put a Stop to Inner-City Violence

Posted By on Wed, Jun 1, 2016 at 10:00 AM

click to enlarge G Herbo - BRYAN LAMB
  • Bryan Lamb
  • G Herbo
When the lineup for The Smokers Club Tour was released a couple of months ago, the pulses of many stoner hip-hop heads surely had to be checked. Cam'ron, now the purplest man on the planet (R.I.P. Prince), is set to headline, along with The Underachievers, Smoke DZA, and G Herbo. Both Cam, Smoke DZA, and The Underachievers, profess multiple times, in multiple songs, their love of marijuana, but in G Herbo’s music, the references are less opaque. (Although you can't argue that his name is an obvious nod to 420 culture.)

The 20-year-old rapper, who changed his name from Lil Herb to G Herbo in fall 2015 after signing to Machine Entertainment, spins tales that primarily revolve around gang life and violence in his hometown of Chicago. Not exactly music to have fun and get high to.

“I talk about my life and what’s going on with it," he says. "I consider myself a poet, not a journalist, but a poet. My music is for people outside Chicago to see what’s going on in Chicago. I’m never tired of talking about Chicago."
Musically, the sped up, manipulated, soul sampled beats that Herbo uses in his music owe a certain degree of influence to Dipset, Cam'ron's hip-hop crew, as well as other big-name rappers from the early 2000s.

“I grew up listening to Dipset, so when I hear those types of beats, I can relate and I can jump on them,” Herbo says, “In terms of lyrics, I relate to Juelz [Santana of Dipset, Cam’ron’s crew], Nas, [Jada]Kiss, [Lil] Wayne, more of the storytellers, the more soulful kinds of musicians.”
Herbo says his music focuses on the violence and danger in Chicago largely because he's hoping to create a conversation around the topic. (Even though he is a bit pessimistic about stopping violence as a whole.)

"Violence is always going to occur in Chicago, it always has, and it always has everywhere else," he says. "But you can create opportunities for people so that they can have other things to do with their time and more opportunities for them to provide for their families so they don’t have to go and commit violent crime and things like. People can come together and create more happiness, more opportunity, and less poverty in the world. People feel like nobody cares for them. I know that, I’ve been there. They feel like they on their own and it’s them against the world, but it shouldn’t be and it doesn’t have to be. You have to create opportunities for them so it’s not like that, and hip-hop can play a big role, and artists have to know that, they gotta speak on making it better, not making it worse.”

G Herbo will perform with Cam'ron, The Underachievers, and Smoke DZA at 8 p.m., on Saturday, June 4, at the The Regency Ballroom. More info here. 

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Sam Ribakoff


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