Spitters who can freestyle off the top of the dome has always been a move that gets a true MC the respect they deserve. REVOLT’s “Off Top” is here to bring real bars back to the game with Big Tigger, Rapsody and DJ Nyla Symone, as they chop it up with today’s biggest and rising rap stars. Peep the convos here.
On the latest episode of REVOLT’s new series “Off Top,” Big Tigger, Rapsody, and DJ Nyla Simone sat down with G Herbo to discuss fatherhood, mental health, and forging relationships with other rappers in the industry.
In May, the Chicago native welcomed his newborn son, Essex William Wright, with girlfriend Taina Williams. During the sit down, Tigger asked Herbo how it feels to be a father to a newborn once again. The emcee says the experience has been a transition for him. “I’m still in the process of dropping my album and working. So every time I feel like I miss more than five [or] six hours out the house, I gotta re-learn my baby again,” he joked. “New tricks and shit his mama done figured out, then I gotta learn this shit. She’s like, ‘You gotta pat him on the butt to put him to sleep.’ It’s still a learning process, but it’s cool.” Although he has two sons, Herbo is looking forward to having a daughter in the future.
DJ Nyla Simone asked him about his forthcoming collaboration with Lil Bibby. Despite the two Chicago rappers being longtime friends and frequent collaborators, Herbo explained they don’t have an established work relationship. Most of their music is a result of having fun in the studio, given why their unreleased songs have yet to be debuted. “We never really sat down, like, ‘Alright, we’re gonna lock in for a month, two months straight,’” he said. “That’s really like one of my best friends, so we never established a working relationship between us. So, that’s why we never finished the project. It was supposed to been done.” Herbo further explained that Bibby is focused more on the business aspect of the industry instead of rap. However, he is in talks with Bibby about staying in an apartment in their hometown to focus on a collaborative project together.
Continuing on the topic of music, Herbo shared his opinion on the state of drill music and its growing popularity in the rap game. Originating in Chicago, the rapper says they didn’t understand the global impact that drill would have years later. “When we came out, [drill] had such like a crazy wave,” Herbo explained. “It spread like wildfire, and we didn’t really understand what we was doing; we didn’t understand the influence and the impact it had on the rest of the world. So when I seen it, it was a good thing for me. I wanted to embrace it.” The rapper highlighted New York-style drill music for “making it fun again” by turning the negative connotation surrounding the genre into a positive, noting that the sound inspired his “Drill” track on his album 25. He further expressed interest in collaborating with UK artists.
Rapsody lightly touched on the subject surrounding Herbo’s ongoing federal case by asking how he balances the situation with being a father and an artist. For the emcee, he doesn’t dwell on what he has going on. “Every time I go through a tough time, I always come out like better — twice as better, 10 times as better than I was when it happened to me,” he answered. “I create that balance by focusing on what’s important to me. I can’t really cry over spilled milk or get too deep in that situation. I always been solid, I’ve always done the right thing, you know what I’m saying? So, I know God is always gonna make sure I’m cool.” He further added that it’s impossible to control what other people do around you, but you can control your own decisions.
The question opened up the conversation about police targeting hip hop artists. In Herbo’s opinion, it is rappers’ responsibility to take accountability for their actions. “We gotta make the right decisions as just artists and men to not really give these people a reason to want to target us. Everybody got a past, everybody makes mistakes, but what you going to do to kinda like make people feel, ‘Oh, maybe he’s not so much of a bad guy’”? The “Two Chains” emcee also believes it’s time for rappers to focus on their impact in the world despite the targets on their backs from both police and enemies. He added, “It’s always going to be a target on our backs, so we gotta move accordingly with knowing that... If you know there’s a target on your back, why be in a video with a million guns?”
On a lighter note, Herbo has amassed a number of collabs in his career including YG and Mozzy for their track, “Dangerous.” The rapper shared positive sentiments about forging friendships with the two California rappers, as well as his interest in expanding his network with other artists in the area that he meshes well with. When making music, Herbo is all about building genuine relationships with people he collaborates with. “A lot of times, music ... is not tangible — it’s not something you can touch or grab. It’s like a perception in a way. So like, not everybody is the same because they make the same kind of music,” he explained. “You gotta focus on that type of shit — that’s what I be focused on. I ain’t trying to be blending in and doing music with no niggas and I don’t like the way you move, and I ain’t trying to kick it with y’all because y’all too overly aggressive.” Herbo also recalled his experience working with Kanye West. “When I got up with Ye — when it was, like, the Trump shit and all that was going on,” he said. “When I actually sat down and actually had a conversation with him, I was like, ’Man, this is one of the smartest niggas I ever met in my life.’” He also teased that he has unreleased music with the Donda rapper. As far as Herbo’s collaboration wish list goes, he’s eyeing a JAY-Z verse sometime in the future.
Aside from his music, Herbo has made it a priority in his career to give back to his community. The “PTSD” emcee is a major advocate for mental health, and is the founder of the Swervin’ Through Stress initiative — a non-profit organization that seeks to cover the cost of three months worth of therapy sessions for people between the ages of 18 to 25 seeking care across the nation. The rapper shared recent developments in his initiative in which he is in the second phase of building a facility for youth to receive mental health resources in Chicago. His reasoning for focusing on mental health comes from aspects of his personal life. “When I was growing up...I always had like aspirations and dreams to get far in life, but I put myself in the line of fire over and over again where I could’ve been killed, or went to jail, or anything could’ve happened to me just because I felt like it was the only thing I knew,” he explained. “It’s more so generational trauma, you know, where people don’t understand the importance of mental health or any mental illness in the first place.” Despite the adversity he’s faced, Herbo seeks to open the door of opportunity for both youth and adults who feel that the streets are their only option.
Watch the full episode of G Herbo’s “Off Top” visit above. Tune in every Friday for new episodes of “Off Top” on YouTube and REVOLT.tv after!