Polo G proves himself over and over again as one of rap’s hottest spitters. The Chicago native exploded onto the rap scene with his 2018 breakout single “Finer Things,” and the visual currently has over 94 million views on YouTube and counting. Similar to each song he releases, the record encompassed his real-life, as he melodically raps about his departure from the streets and changing his life for the better.
When it comes to rapping and making music, it’s almost effortless. Real name Taurus Bartlett spends the majority of his time locked in the studio perfecting his craft, creating not only street anthems, but bangers for audiences all around the world.
Beyond the accolades, Polo hopes to be a role model for all the youth — particularly those stuck back in his hometown of Chicago. His vivid storytelling and smooth, facile flow comes alive in his debut album, Die A Legend, which has already been certified gold. The project also hails standout single “Pop Out” featuring Lil Tjay, a song that undeniably goes all the way up during his shows.
Now, Polo is in straight album mode ready to gift fans with even more heat than his last. REVOLT caught up with him to discuss building a studio in his crib, new single “DND,” relationship with Mozzy, being a father, and more!
How’s quarantine life treating you?
It’s been stressful and tedious, but I’m making the most of it. Day by day trying to figure out something, really doing the same things over and over again. I put my studio inside of my crib, been recording from home. It’s a different process than actually going out and driving out to the studio. I could come up with more ideas, get my whole song and thoughts together before trying to record. That’s the upside for music.
I would have thought you had a studio in your crib already!
I just did it when the whole Corona[virus] outbreak started, I knew I wouldn’t be able to shoot to the stu(dio). When they first announced it, I had a week’s worth of studio sessions and I had to cancel all of them. It feels good to record at home, but I do actually like the thought of driving out, getting away. That’s my peace of mind really when I’m in the booth. If I could go next door to the next room and think, it’s different.
How’s having your son at home? Is he in the studio with you?
Sometimes I have to kick him out because he’s getting into too much stuff while I’m trying to record. For the most part, I’m chillin’ with him. Really soaking in that time because I know once I hit the road or everything opens back up, it’s going to be hectic.
What have you learned in fatherhood?
Me trying to figure out his tendencies, what he might like, what he might not like. When he wakes up in the morning, at what time. Learning certain things, I’m figuring him out more. His sleep schedule is crazy. He goes to sleep at about 11 o’clock at night, wakes up in the middle of the night at around 3 or 4 am for a bottle. We give him a bottle, he sleeps and wakes up again at 9 or 10 am. Give him another bottle, lay down with him. He’ll go to sleep again and wake up at 1 pm.
What’s your favorite Polo G song?
Right now, off my upcoming project called “No Matter What.” Another one of my favorite songs that I think is underrated is “Heartless.” My fans know it, but it could’ve been a bigger record, more involved in radio, etc. It’s still doing pretty well though.
“Pop Out” goes so crazy. What’s your favorite song to perform?
I know “Pop Out” is going to turn them up more than anything. One of my favorite songs to perform on set is “Neva Cared,” the remix I did to the G Herbo song. It’s always fun when I’m with one of my core fanbase crowds. If I’m in a place like Chicago, if I’m in a place like Minnesota or New York, that’s the song that really turns up the crowd.
Congrats on your new single “DND.” What inspired this record?
It was me trying to put the pieces together with my project. I was down to my last two songs. I felt like I was missing a harder track, something I went really hard on with the production. Most of the music I make is heartfelt music. This time around, I wanted to show people I could do other things. I could turn them up, I can make a heartfelt song. I didn’t want everything to be so soft this time around, so I went to the studio with that mindset. When I heard that beat, I knew that’s how I was going to execute.
The visual already has over 5.6 million views on YouTube. How’s it feel to see those numbers every time you drop?
It feels good, but I always feel like I can be better. Always feel like I can do better, always want more out of myself. I try to push myself to be doing crazier than the numbers I’m doing right now. Those crazy numbers I’m looking at, I want to go even harder. Make the numbers look even crazier. It’s me reaching new levels really.
You’ve been proving yourself over and over as a spitter. How much do you record and how do you know a song is going to be a hit?
I record pretty frequently. When I have a studio session, I’m not the type to try to do 10 songs. I limit the amount of songs I force myself to do because a lot of times that interferes with the content, the subject matter. I don’t want to be repetitive. I don’t want any songs being average, so I try to put my all into a song or two. As far as songs that were going to be big or do good, I thought “Dyin Breed” would have been a big song. It did pretty well too.
Die A Legend was such a success for your debut album. What can we expect from your second one?
Die A Legend was more so everyone got to know who I was, I executed that pretty well. This time around, I want people to see me as an artist, see me in other lanes I’ve never hopped in before. See my versatility and show that I’m living up to my potential.
You and Lil Tjay also linked on “First Place.” Do you guys have more bangers in the vault?
We have a song or two aside. We really don’t lock in as much as we could because our schedules are so hectic. With the Corona[virus] going on, we never had time or a chance to sit down and really lock in a studio. But, we have plans to dish out more music — make it organic. We’re not trying to top “Pop Out,” we just want to put good music out there together.
Can you bring us back that session for “Go Stupid”? You snapped.
When I was creating “Go Stupid,” Mike was playing me a lot of beats. They were all hard beats, but I wasn’t vibing with them like that because I’m so used to doing melodic type beats or melodic songs. But, when that beat and it was so hard, it put me in the mindset of how I used to rap or how I used to come on a track. [I] wanted to show off my lyricism. I wanted to go hard on it. I was actually thinking about who can I put on this song to really make this pop.
That’s how you got Stunna4Vegas and NLE Choppa?
I rock with both of them heavy. I knew it was nothing for them to send me the verse right back, and they did within a week or two.
Talk about linking with Mozzy on “Pricetag,” I heard DaveO brought you out to Rolling Loud way early.
Yeah, DaveO brought me to Rolling Loud. I wasn’t even living in California at the time actually. I was out here looking for a home. This was around December before I got my first house in California. Mozzy was up onto my music, DaveO reached out to my manager and said they wanted to bring me out to Rolling Loud. He brought me out. It was a cool experience — my first ever Rolling Loud.
Ever since then, we’re locked in and rocking with each other. Him and Poppa had a stu session at Paramount, they’re in there recording a few songs back and forth. They invited me. I came there and recorded my verse, chilled out with them. I rock with Mozzy and had a song with Lil Poppa, so it was really organic.
What’s your relationship with Mozzy?
We rock with each other heavy. We both support each other 110%. Mozzy’s always going to let me know when I’m doing my thing. Shows me love and I show him the same love.
You say you “cut everyone off.” How close is your circle?
My circle is really family-based. I’m an introverted person. I don’t really make friends too much. Not to say I’m an a**hole or I’m so against making friends, I just keep my circle tight. I have a few childhood friends that I keep around, but mostly it’s my family. My immediate family.
That reminds me of Roddy Ricch’s Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial.
I definitely relate to him. He was talking about my life with just that album title.
Have you and Roddy tapped in?
Yeah, a few times. We ran into each other at the same studio at Chalice. We exchanged numbers, followed each other back on the gram. He invited me to [his] birthday party back in L.A. a while back. We tapped in, but never got around to locking in on the music side.
Is there anything you’re struggling with as you get bigger?
It’s nothing I really struggle with as far as fame because I’m pretty used to it now. Thinking back to my past, sometimes I do long for when it was a simpler time. Back then where I could go outside and only people who knew me personally would come up to me. I don’t get that type of freedom anymore, but I adjusted to it pretty well.
What are some goals you have for yourself?
To become one of the biggest artists I can be. One of the biggest and top artists in the whole entire world. That’s what I’m aiming for. That’s the only thing I got my eyes set on.
Anything else you want to let us know?
My project’s out now! I have about 16 songs, a few crazy features. It’s lit.