“Lil Herb” has come a long way since shooting to stardom on his highly-acclaimed, Don Cannon hosted mixtape “Welcome To Fazoland”.
Through Fazoland, many were drawn into the reverberating, commanding flow and raw stories Herbo relayed on each track. His hunger was undeniable and talent astounding for someone only 16-17 at the time. The world’s fascination with the puzzle that is Chicago, only fueled the fire that Herbo was creating on the city’s eastside.
A series of camera phone freestyles and YouTube uploads had Herbo buzzing in and out the city as the limelight from his predecessors had all eyes on the murder capital. We searched for insight and understanding as to what was going on in the big city, and why the youth seemed so lost and streets so red.
Herbo pulled back the veil with his music, as we uncovered the grim realities of a city who had turned its back on the lower end and those who stayed there. With little resources, soon young boys walked the streets filled with pride, empty pockets, and artillery at their disposal.
In a flash, the city known for it’s deep rooted mob ties became open season for guerrilla warfare.
With the violence came the murder music, or drill scene. Young teens expressing their thoughts, as well as what they’d seen over production that took the booming sound of Atlanta and flipped it on it’s head, while drizzling it with violent lyrics that White America saw as glamorization of a life filled with crime.
Perhaps what made Herbo so intriguing an artist was the fact he didn’t fit in at all with much of the music we heard from out of Glo Gang, and the numerous other “Chiraq” figureheads. With a fresh flip and innovative sound to the drill scene in tow, Herbo was destined to take the reigns and he did just that with “Swervo“.
The Humble Beast known for intricate narrative’s and street tales definitely loosened up for this one. Across each track Herbo shows resiliency and stamina, as his volatile freestyle flow throttles and swerves through each verse. Amidst the flurry you still find gems, heartfelt odes to fallen friends, and relatability that has drawn fans to Herbo since day one.
But Swervo proves to be an alter-ego of sorts for the Chicago MC. One who fears no man and flexes and boasts as he careens through traffic with a glick on his lap. Never afraid to edging out rappers, naysayers, and opposition with little remorse.
Though different, Swervo stands as a prominent piece in Herbo’s discography. A project where he pushed and tested his limits, entirely freestyling the album, as well as tapping into the chemistry that comes from working solely with a producer like Southside.
Given an opportunity to freely paint his canvas, clad in flooded VVS watches, 150 Dream Team chain and all, Swervo was able to finally relish in the spoils of his work ethic that took him from gun toating on Essex in Chiraq, to a self-made family man in Los Angeles, California.