Here are eight essential G Herbo & Southside tracks you need to check out before the duo drops "Swervo".
G Herbo and Southside have been teasing a collaborative album - Swervo - since the former was Lil Herb and the latter first began going by Young Sizzle. Now, while the 808 Mafia co-founder occasionally raps under the Young Sizzle moniker, this forthcoming 14-track project is being billed as G Herbo’s sophomore effort and the official follow up to last year’s critically acclaimed debut, Humble Beast. The cover for Swervo even pays direct homage to Eric B. and Rakim’s Follow the Leader.
Over the years, this fledgling dynamic has developed into a fruitful professional relationship that has resulted in multiple captivating moments on wax. The following eight tracks are stray collaborations between the two artists and should serve as a effective sampler prior to the release of Swervo at midnight.
"I'm Rollin" (2015)
When Lil Herb and Southside first started collaborating, the young Chicago rapper was fighting for his soul. Although Herb had faced countless traumatic events in his short life, the death of one of his closest childhood friends, Jacobi Herring, seemed to take a real toll on his mental health. Ballin Like Kobe, the mixtape featuring "I'm Rollin", was an ode to this friend, and bookends G Herbo's time as Lil Herb. The track itself is purposefully over the top as Herb tries unsuccessfully to relieve himself from the burden of his day to day.
"100 Days 100 Nights" (2015)
Another record from Ballin Like Kobe, "100 Days 100 Nights" is a true highlight in G Herbo's catalog. Backed by an uncharacteristically atmospheric Southside beat, Herbo is able to tone down the aggression in order to drop countless insightful gems. A majority of the first verse is autobiographical and paints a vivid image of a displaced child, first separated from his mother by circumstance, now due to tour dates. By the second verse, he's more purposeful in his commentary and militant in a manner that will go on to inform much of the storytelling throughout Humble Beast: "We ignorant, we immigrants, we murders, we prisoners/We burglars, we hustlers, you start it off, we finish it."
"Eastside Story" (2016)
A triumphant rags to riches tale, this track is a single-verse onslaught of pain, perseverance and well-deserved bravado. Although he spends the entirety of the run-time eulogizing a depressingly long list of fallen friends, Herbo's talent lies in translating those extremely personal trials into poignant morality plays for public consumption. Over a soulful Southside instrumental, G Herbo lays claim to his turbulent rise to fame; from the year he met Kobe to the moment he became G Herbo, the Humble Beast, "Eastside Story" is a great introductory track for those unfamiliar with the artist's confessional style (ironically, it can be found on a project called Strictly 4 My Fans).
A rumored track that was supposedly meant for Swervo, "N*gga" features both artists on MC duty, with Young Sizzle working overtime to also provide a dramatic, piano-driven instrumental. Tracks like this one have us hoping there are at least a few Southside verses on their upcoming album.
"I Got That" (2017)
Possibly another potential Swervo joint that was left on the cutting room floor, "I Got That" is G Herbo fully on his bully. "Foenem starting to call me Swervo cause I stay in turbos," he boasts, sounding utterly unconcerned for a change.
Back when this Southside-produced street single first dropped, Herbo didn't even know if it was meant for a mixtape or album - now, with the project imminent, it's apparent just how tirelessly the duo has worked on crafting their collaborative debut. "Legend" is most likely the best example of what to expect from Swervo: off-the-wall instrumentals that harken back to the drill music's heyday combined with exquisitely lyrical shit poppin'.
A Young Sizzle track off of Trap Ye 2, "Actions" is the by far the best example of the well-known producer's understated skill as an MC. It's also proof that the prolific originator may be keeping many of his best beats close to his chest.
A street single like "Legend", "Yerkys" sees G Herbo intent on not letting the problems that haunt his mind devalue the gift that is the present. However, nothing is ever that simple with Herb. As always, the celebration is anchored by his consistent hustle, and the self-medication is never glorified.