It's already been a life-changing year through seven months for burgeoning rapper G Herbo. The Chicago rapper became a father back in April, inked his first partnership deal with Luc Belaire, inspired a run of "Who Run It" remixes with a fiery freestyle, and released his highly anticipated sophomore album, Swervo, on Friday (July 27).
The 22-year-old worked exclusively alongside Southside, who produced every track from the hard-hitting project. Herbo linked up with the 808 Mafia co-founder for a number of sessions in Miami and Los Angeles to handcraft Swervo, where G finds himself morphing into his more careless alter-ego.
Being natives of hip-hop hotbeds in Chicago and Atlanta, Southside and Herbo exercised their relationships to call on some of the best their cities have to offer. Loaded assists are peppered throughout the album from a few of Chi-town and ATL's elite, including Juice WRLD, 21 Savage, Chief Keef, and Young Thug.
Billboard caught up with G Herbo and Southside recently to break down a few of the pair's favorite tracks on Swervo.
I did that in Miami. Southside] was gone again. He left me in the studio with the beats... I made that the same night as 'Focused.' I was just swagging out. Usually, my two first bars describe what the song's gonna be about. I'm telling you this is what I'm on right now.
Kobe and Cap were two people I lost that are near and dear to my heart. Cap was one of my best friends that I lost. Kobe was like a brother. Those are two people I got tatted on me. Anything I put on my skin, I'm willing to die for. I got Kobe with a cup of lean because we used to really do it. My homie was obsessed with it. We went super heavy -- times ten with it once he passed.
One of the last songs I recorded. My engineer just names songs whateve,r so it used to be called 'Slaveships.' I recorded that in Miami. Southside] dipped from the studio. It's so repetitive that he could literally give me the pack to do these beats and walk out. I can't even tell him "no." That's how I did everything. I was in the booth talking about my past. Sort of reminiscing and kind of venting about what I used to do.
I used to talk about what I was doing from the perspective of "Oh, this happened." Now, I'm looking back on my life from my experiences on the 50th floor. I'm looking back from a private jet. It's just a different perspective. I'm really enjoying life, and reflecting like, "Damn, I made it this far." I'm in a place where I always wanted to be.
"Honestly" (feat. Juice WRLD)
That shit happened like a movie. I randomly met Juice WRLD] through my DJ and he linked with Lil Bibby. This was around the time we were just getting to know him, and it was his first time around us out in Los Angeles. He was high as fuck. I was writing the hook for myself and he was asleep. So we woke Juice up and made him sing it very melodically. It came out perfect at like five in the morning.
I originally tried to do it to my unborn son and I tried but I couldn't finish it. I had like eight bars done too. Then I did this letter to him while he was on the way. My son has me way more motivated. I'm just more consistent. I always try to find more hours in the day to see him and balance out work and spending time with my son. I was never able to do that before because I was all over the place.
Southside: This is like a scripture for young n----s. I said I was going to make some epic shit and he rapped some epic shit to it.
G Herbo: He told me this is the intro, just rap on this shit. Don't even make a hook. This was at the end of us recording. It took me 20 or 30 minutes to record the intro and you could see the growth as an artist. The process was really Southside] developing me as an artist. He created Swervo and kept pushing me to create the body of work.
"Pac N Dre"
Southside: I rap too, so I do eight bars then let him rap after that. He'll rap and then mute me on the track. Then we'll move onto the next part and the song ends up being crazy. That's like my little trick. It's a little finesse game.
G Herbo: It's like some Dre and Pac shit. We'll go back and clean up four of his bars or leave them and lead into my shit. He's really producing these tracks like Dre and I'm rapping on these bitches like Tupac. Tupac is one of my influences. I'm not even supposed to be able to study Pac's musi,c but he's one of my biggest influences. I rap about Pac a lot. Not even what he did in music but what he did for the world, period. He was only 25 when he died. He was already a legend before he passed. I got songs like "Momma I'm Sorry" that could be equivalent to "Dear Mama."
Southside: I still can't figure out how the fuck I made this shit. I was so goddamn high. The beat is off, I don't even know how to explain it.
G Herbo: We were high as fuck -- I was still drinking lean at that time. He created that record. I would've never created that record without him. We're always talking about someone tweaking in Chicago, so I said, "Tweakin' for some head." Everyone can relate to that -- even the girls -- It means you're bugging the fuck out. He told me just to rap. My brother E] told me I put too much thought into it sometimes. I don't even write anymore unless I'm bored on the plane. I can write verses in my head and keep repeating them until it turns out to be a twelve.