Just before soundcheck, we caught up with rapper G Herbo at the Red Bull Sound Select show at the Brooklyn Bazaar last week (2/23) in NYC, curated by PopGun. With NYC based openers such as DonMonique and Kemba, a formerly Lil Herb, G Herbo has opened for a few of these shows in the past; and while gaining on his success, was the headliner this time around to a packed house.

In his early 20s, the East Side Chicago rapper is wise beyond his years, as he articulated his strategy with finishing up the last leg of his upcoming album “Humble Beast”, in the midst of preparing for respective projects with fellow Chicago rapper Lil Bibby whom he has had numerous collabs with already, and rapper/producer Southside in the meantime; his take on other Chicago emcee Chance The Rapper’s multiple Grammy wins, who he listens to, and how he plans to responsibly spend his earnings once fully in position.

Born Herbert Wright, the Creative Control signee explained his name change from Lil Herb to G Herbo in 2015 as being a part of a transition for him growing up from a younger emcee to a more mature version of himself.  While super chill, sitting back on the couch, entertaining my questions, he personifies as someone who has already lived a full life, talking about not wanting to overwhelm himself with too many projects at a time as he already has quite a few things on his plate.

Photo by @Money.Mick
Photo by @Money.Mick

You’re currently working on your debut album “Humble Beast”. How much have you completed for it thus far?

I’ll say I got like over 50 to 60% finished.  I’m still recording so I might feel some way about one record or that record.  I have over 100 tracks recorded, maybe 150 records.  So I’ll say maybe 60%; I have a solid body of what I know is going to go on there, of what has to go on; like you can’t really duplicate those records. But I’m still working, and I have other projects I’m working on too.

Have you teamed up with anyone so far for it?

No, I’ve been really focused so much on my album and everything that I’ve got going on.  So not yet, I can’t really say, I don’t really want to tell all who I’m aiming for.  But I’m probably aiming for maybe 2-3 features on the album.  I’ve never really been too much focused on features, I never really was.  

With my mixtape’s or anything, I never really focused on what features I was going to get, whatever happened naturally, just happened.  A lot of times when I collaborate with artists, it really be off of genuine relationships, off of me knowing the person personally or something like that.  Even when I first started rapping, I never really focused on those types of things.  Maybe I should though.  

When can we expect a single?

Ain’t no telling on a date for a single.  I kind of let the fans dictate what’s going to be the single.  I may just do a record, put it out there and then decide if that’s going to be the single off the feedback. 

You mentioned other projects, what other projects you got working on outside of Humble Beast?  And will they drop before or after?

Me and Lil Bibby have a joint album that we are dropping called “No Limitations”, and I got a project I’m dropping with Southside soon too.  (Both releasing before Humble Beast)

Who do you listen to?

I love music so much.  I listen to so many different artists.  Of course I listen to Drake, Yachty, Uzi, Bibby, Kodak, Playboi Carti, Famous Dex; a lot of different artists.  Of course, Meek, Hov, old Juelz – new Juelz, Gucci; pretty much everybody. I ain’t going to lie, I be dipping and dabbing.  Some days, I may just f— with this, or listen to that the next day.  Pretty much, I say I fairly listen to just about everybody, the Weeknd, etc etc.

How do you feel about Chance The Rapper winning the grammy’s? What Impact did that have on Chicago? 

The impact on Hip Hop and Chicago alone is crazy.  Just for Chance to be able to be under the legacy of being a Grammy award winner, multiple Grammy award winner.  And just by him being from Chicago and knowing where we come from and what we up against; and him being an independent artist and knowing what he was up against in the music industry, staying down with building his brand, only good can come from that I feel like.  It opened doors for of course other artists in Chicago, and other independent artists all over.

Photo by @JustinShootz

Explain the mindset of getting money at such a young age.

I can pretty much speak for everybody and say when you are young and you first start making money, your first mindset with getting that is to have fun and do everything you wanted to do, everything you’ve never done before, you know. But I feel like, at this point in my life of making money, that’s a product of working hard and doing what you do.  You still need to have a mindset with managing that and keeping it, and investing it.  Putting it into other things on top of having fun and enjoying yourself.  I don’t really focus on the money to be made, because I know money is going to be made in the business, regardless.  

 
So I still focus on the work I got to put in, and then with making money, you have to make sure you are doing the right thing with it and still providing for the people you need to provide for.  And it’s a lot of pressure with making money, so you can’t be focused on that, you have to be focused on how to maneuver around and maintain.

What kinds of ventures would you invest in?

Really, with me I would invest in of course real estate; my family is big on real estate. Other than that, I want to really give back my neighborhood; try to build the youth centers and stuff that we had growing up that really aren’t around anymore.  The after school, churches and programs that we use to have; really getting that back going for the kids because they don’t have that no more.  I really want to give back to my old grammar schools; despite what’s been going on.  

I’ve just been having a lot I’ve had to focus on, but when I’m in the position to really do that and be hands on with it, I’m going to do that.  I’m never really going to get myself into a situation where I got too much on my plate that I can’t focus on this.  I’m going to always set myself up to where every step or decision I make, I know what I have to do around it in order to maintain in keeping my word behind making the decision.

Original photos, courtesy of