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Album Review: Polo G – The GOAT –

Polo G is a certified star and one of the latest talents to blow from Chicago's unique lineage of young rap phenoms. Over the last decade, the city has become a diamond mine that has built a reputation for producing teen rappers that spit a perspective that is years ahead of their time. But the reward comes at a price: the passion you hear within these projects derives from built-up agony from the close ones they've lost over the years. In his latest release The GOAT, Polo G proves to be all that and more as he reminisces on adversity but looks to the future with newfound vision.

The Chicago rapper avoids falling for the sophomore slump and comes back sounding like the fire inside of him burns harder than ever. From the moment it begins, the intro "Don't Believe The Hype" sets the tone as he establishes himself as a prophet amongst an industry full of messengers. The piano riff is a slow-building confessional as he reflects on his past as a thoroughbred street warrior. Polo G goes even deeper into his bag atop of Mustard production with the vicious track "Heartless". The chest-pumping instrumentation mixed with the off-kilter guitar chords makes his tales of being up to no good even more convincing.

His verses are standouts but it's the way he delivers them that separates the 21-year-old from the rest of his peers. The bars on this album are written with more purpose than you'd expect but it's the way he spits them that hits you in the chest. It's almost as if he goes in the booth carrying the spirit of his fallen brothers. It's the heartbreak pumping through the blood veins of this young man when you hear him mourn the loss of his friend Juice WRLD on "21": Can't relapse off these drugs, man, R.I.P to Juice, We was tweakin' off them Percs, I popped my last one with you

The stories that Polo G delivers reflect on past battles of PTSD and tragedy but it's one thing that makes this project rise above the darkness are the signs of hope shown in the album's second half. His collaboration with Atlanta hitmaker Lil Baby entitled "Be Something" is a well-crafted ode to winning as an underdog on an uptempo beat that sounds inspirational by nature. It's clear that he's made his way out of his prior struggles, but now he's spending his time passing on his keys to success to his brothers so they can leave their past life behind.

Now that he's solidified himself as a major talent, he proves that you cannot call yourself "The GOAT" without using your platform to inspire others to want or do better. His purpose hits home and gives a very deep look at why his mission is so important to him when you hear the first verse in the deep album cut "Relentless":

Ever since I made a play, been tryna educate my brothers
Heaven ain't the only way we can escape up out the gutter

These are inspiring yet chilling words out of inner-city Chicago. Polo G is the shining light that Chicago rap needs because of his ability to bridge the city's shortcomings with a vivid picture of a brighter future. The most hopeful part of the album is found on the outro "Wishing For A Hero", where he samples the powerful Tupac song "Changes" and does his best to end things off with a rose that's able to grow from the concrete. With his second album, Polo G reminds us that a light shines brightly within all of us despite the challenges and upbringings as he carries his own for all of those he's lost along his journey: that is why he is the GOAT.

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