interview by Eamon Whalen
illustration by Justin Hager
On a tour stop earlier this year we caught up with G-Herbo the gruff 20-year-old Chicago rapper formerly known as Lil' Herb. His project Strictly 4 My Fans is due out this Friday.
"I came up listening to Juelz Santana, Jay-Z, Jadakiss and stuff like that. I first got an ear for music coming up with my uncle who passed away –– his name is Kay-Tone. Being around him and listening to old Twista and Do or Die. Really that’s when I first started getting interested in music but I didn’t take it seriously until I was 15. My family appreciates my music because I rap about my life. They’re appreciative because they know it’s the truth. But my family doesn’t really anticipate my music like that. I got music in my family history but we’re not a big music family. They support it though."
Taking Care Of Family
"It don’t even weigh heavy, it’s just an obligation really because of how we came up. My family is close. Even when I was younger, anyone that was in a position to look out or take care of anyone, that’s what they did. That’s just how my family is, we close like that. It’s not an ego thing to have to lean on the next person, because that’s what family is for. If I’m in a position to do that, that’s natural for me because of how I was brought up. It ain’t no obligation or pressure, but that is why I started to take music real serious because it’s a way to provide for my family and make a difference. I just got into the zone of really thinking like that a year or two ago, striving to take it seriously."
Hardly Home But Always Reppin’
"I don’t feel like I’m losing touch when I leave home because I still keep in contact with family and close friends. The way I’m trying to set things up, I’m trying to leave my mark in Chicago. And I don’t necessarily have to be there physically to be there, you know? I can create certain opportunities for people, that’s what I plan on doing in the future. When my career gets to a certain point, I want to build community centers and fund AAU teams and create jobs for people."
The Chicago State Of Mind
"Other people judge people from my city, or people who go through what we go through. It’s just the way you’re brought up and different situations that you experience that change your life and make you who you are. There’s a lot of people who would come to my city and not make it. There’s certain survival skills that you learn in Chicago from just naturally adapting to your environment. People judge us and outcast us from what they see on the outside but they really don’t know what’s going on on the inside. We’re making rational decisions because what we go through forces us to make those decisions. When I was younger I had my family taking care of me. But by 14-15, there’s a lot of kids in my city who are living the lives of adults. Other places people don’t live like that. When I was 16 I started to see people die around me. In my city there’s so little to depend on, so people take other options to survive and make a way for themselves."