Chicago’s G Herbo (formally Lil Herb) was featured in XXL’s 2016 Freshman Class earlier this year where he stated his debut album Humble Beast would be released in the Fall. Fall came and even though we didn’t get the album, G Herbo decided to drop his fourth mixtape Strictly 4 My Fans a day earlier than expected on October, 24th just before Black Friday.
Strictly 4 My Fans is an 11-track project literally made for his core fans! Herb dedicates this latest mixtape to those who continue to support him and whilst doing so expresses his appreciation. The intro itself is a worthy dedication. It’s no secret that he’s a product of his hostile environment and this is something he reminds us of throughout. His violent beginnings are one thing, but with the mission to connect with fans and speak on real topics at the same time, Strictly 4 My Fans achieves both more effortlessly than his other mixtapes.
G Herbo’s memories living in East Side, Chicago are addressed quickly as an introduction to his experiences in the concrete jungle he grew up in. During Gutta he raps “Roaches, rats, and apartments – Mama’s smoking, babies starving – Pistols loaded, discharging – I grew up in all of it“. This gives a vivid insight into his life growing up, bearing in mind he only rose out of it a few years ago. He delivers using aggression which is felt throughout. However, there’s a major change in tempo 5 songs in with Pull Up and Control where he talks from two sides of female relations. Pull Up is the expression of lust and a song to be embraced by the females, whereas Control details attachment and loss. Both of which adds to the project’s diversity in subject matter and complimentary sounds.
Herb’s unique style is refreshing though his aggression can be a bit tedious. His flows the majority of the time are dope and the way he switches them is creative but he could tighten them up a bit at times to go better with certain beats. Speaking of beats, Herb takes a drastic change from his previous projects with production on Strictly 4 My Fans that has graceful samples and hard-hitting drums. This may seem odd but it goes well together adding a soulfulness to the production which gives the mixtape a lighter feel as a whole.
Herb is a knowledgable soul. He has a ‘been there and done that’ attitude in terms of living the struggle, which is felt by listening to his music and Strictly 4 My Fans has this same initial formula. The mixtape also has previews of upcoming projects on two of its songs. Eastside Story is a taste of what we’ll get from Swervo with 808 Mafia co-founder Southside, while the motivational banger Tired featuring regular collaborator Lil Bibby is a preview of their collab project No Limitation.
Strictly 4 My Fans is another solid body of work from one of Chicago’s youngest rapper’s popping. Though lyrically nothing exceptional, Herbo has bars, more so than most MC’s who came out of Chiraq’s Drill scene. Overall though, the mixtape excels most in its explicit depiction of hood reality (and the feelings attached to it) delivered over soulful production.
This tape presents Herb’s growth in artistry in contrast to earlier mixtapes like Welcome To Fazoland (2014) which had a noticeable raw essence. Strictly 4 My Fans presents a more polished Herb that continues to grow mentally and musically. His street ties and everyday lifestyle is a focal point that he utilises, not to glorify, but as a realisation through his music. G Herbo expresses himself and his life to his fans throughout and this intimate approach is probably the reason that Lil Bibby is the only feature on the project. Let’s see what he can do with his upcoming debut album Humble Beast due in 2017.