G Herbo has one of the most loyal fanbases in the rap game, and his music speaks volumes to his character. A few months back, the Chicago native released his highly-anticipated, critically-acclaimed full-length LP titled PTSD, shedding layers of vulnerability, honesty, and integrity while raising awareness for the importance of mental health and overcoming trauma.
Born Herbert Wright, music isn’t just a means of income — it’s his full-blown purpose in life. His passion and work ethic hasn’t faltered since he started as a teenager, and it’s magnified with each release. From 2014’s “Kill Shit” with Lil Bibby to 2020’s “PTSD” featuring Juice WRLD, Chance The Rapper, and Lil Uzi Vert, Herb showcases growth and maturation. His rhymes are sharper, his production is harder, his stories are realer, his fans are happier, and no one can discredit his overall stature in the rap game.
Keeping the momentum going, Herb unleashed the deluxe version of PTSD which arrived in the form of 14 brand new tracks. He even gave the disclaimer that he likes the deluxe better than the original LP, stating “I wanted to get people excited, tell my story, then draw people in with emotion and with feeling. Go on a rollercoaster. ”
Flaunt caught up with Herb via Instagram Live, who was located in Arizona for a business retreat. In high spirits per usual, we spoke on what the deluxe version of PTSD means to him, locking in with Zaytoven in the studio, giving back to his hometown, being a fan of Mozzy and more!
I’m playing one of my favorite songs, can you hear it?
“Party In Heaven”? That’s a special record. All these records on the album, I really put a lot of everything in. I put my heart and my emotions in the music so I’m glad it resonates with you. I’m glad these are your favorite songs.
Your deluxe is a whole project damn near. What was your decision to add another 14 songs?
That shit was fun man. Creating new records, after I’ve already put out a project that my fans consider a classic. Sometimes artists might be scared to put 14 new records on top of records you already feel are special, because you don’t want to take away from the feeling of the original project. I was all in. I wanted to drop a new album, bangers that tell my story but in a different sense. The deluxe was more straight on and direct to my core fanbase, my core audience who grew up on Welcome To Fazoland or Ballin Like I’m Kobe. I tried to target those fans, it turned out perfect. The deluxe is my favorite over the original LP, my original was a re-introduction to myself. Over the last 2 years, I had to overcome a lot of adversity. I lost fans, I gained some fans. A lot of people didn’t actually know me and who I am, the story I had to tell for myself. The original completed that for me, but I want the deluxe to really hit my fans. I’m still coming.
It feels like a whole new G Herbo chapter.
I love the deluxe, I had fun creating it. Certain tracks I put to the side originally that should’ve been on the original LP.
“In A Minute,” I put that to the side. “Just A N*gga,” I put that song to the side. “Spam To Lamb” was originally going to be the second or third song on the original LP, but I set it to the side because I wanted my deluxe to be fire. I never stopped recording music so I wanted it to get that street feel, the grittiness, all that. It turned out perfectly. I was so happy to take a deep breath and move on from that.
How was Zaytoven coming to the Chi? I know you said he came back 3 times in 30 days.
He did, it’s crazy. To be able to work with somebody as legendary as Zaytoven, in Chicago at a time when I was facing some of my toughest adversities — I couldn’t leave. I was stuck in Chicago for almost a year while fighting a case. For him to come down, the expectations of me were high. I had to deliver. I was focused. I wasn’t starstruck, but I was caught up in the moment like “damn I’m really about to work with Zaytoven, I can’t deliver no bullshit.”
What’s the dynamic in the studio with him versus someone like Southside, who you also did a whole tape with?
It’s not too different. Something about Atlanta producers, they’re actual producers. They don’t make beats, they help you produce a record. Southside’s the first producer I ever met who produced a record for me, who said “do this this way. Oh nah, I don’t really like the first 4 bars, you should try to make your flow sound like this.” I don’t feel disrespected, I love creative criticism. Working with Southside made it easier working with Zaytoven. Only difference with Zay is he didn’t help me lyrically, he helped me with the sound. The sound of the beat, the rhythm, my flows, my cadences, because he’s hitting the keys right there in front of me.
Southside cultivated me into an artist who can make a record, an actual song. From “I’m Rollin” to “Swervo,” that’s all Southside. He influenced every bit, I rapped on it because I know how to rap. I never was an artist who’s good at making hooks, everything happened naturally. I give the credit to both of them with the sound they created, what they did with music. Southside and Zaytoven are both legendary pioneers when it comes to our culture. Everything they give me, I listen.
Do you create your best records under pressure?
I do. I create my best records under pressure because I rise to the challenge. I care about what people think about me in a positive way, not a negative. I don’t care about the negative criticism. When people say “damn, shorty work ethic is hard. Shorty grind is crazy.” I want those responses, especially out of people I looked up to. Southside’s a legend, he’ll call me his favorite rapper. The best fucking rapper hands down, he says it all the time. For him to feel that way about me, I’m always giving 1000% of my effort to anything he wants to create.
How’s it feel to have “Friends and Foe” hit a million in less than 2 weeks?
I don’t pay attention to the numbers honestly, I try to create good music. I don’t look at the numbers, videos, what it should do or shouldn’t do, because I try to keep my brand growing. “Friends and Foes” was supposed to be the original intro to PTSD. The intro that came out was more of a hip-hop feel for what I tried to do with the LP. “Friends and Foes” was more true to me, to G Herbo as an artist and as a man. I didn’t want to hit the world with that because a lot of people don’t know me, I wanted to draw them in.
“Friends and Foes” as the second intro worked out perfectly because I’m telling a story. I’m not thinking “oh, I need this to get to X amount of million views in X amount of time.” A lot of my fans catch on late. Sometimes it takes 2 or 3 interviews that resonate with my music for people to catch on. I try to create good content and make good music filled with substance so whenever they do catch on, they fuck with it.
In “Spam to Lamb,” you mention watching Yo! MTV Jams. What was G Herbo like then? Who were you seeing on the screen that you wanted to me?
I remember I had braids, used to wear ponytails, have beads in my hair like Ludacris. I’ve always loved hip-hop, grew up on hip-hop. Always thought Lil Wayne’s the hardest rapper. I’m a real child of hip-hop. I grew up listening to Jadakiss, Jay Z. My favorite Jadakiss song till this day is “Still Feel Me,” that’s how “Feelings” came about. I watched Yo! MTV Jams in the trap with my homies, we tried to make a way selling weed. Now I’m here, one of these people on the countdowns on MTV Jams and world premieres.
I’m always saying that to give inspiration and motivation to my fans. It was never a time like “I need to be a rapper man, I need to make it and rap.” I found something to rap about, something true and important to me. Being a product of the streets, trying to use my voice and my platform. My homies live through me through my music. Before I ever picked up a microphone or spit a bar, my homies I grew up with on 79th & Essex felt my music. I made people cry to my music before I ever made it a Youtube record. That was enough to keep going. People live through me and my music, that’s why I do it.
It was dope to hear the female voice in “High School,” who was that?
She’s the school counselor. Ms. Jackson used to love me, I used to love her. We had a great relationship but I was one of those troubled kids. She didn’t know I was going to be a celebrity or going to be rich, I was a knucklehead. Always smart of course, I got okay grades in high school. I remember one time, I got in trouble for something real serious where I could’ve got expelled. I forgot what the fuck I did, they were going to kick me out the school. She made me sit in the hallway literally in military form, my knees squatted and my arms out for 3 periods. For 2 or 3 hours. She said “if I come out my office and see you doing anything but this, I’m going to expel you.” For her to give me chance after chance, she would’ve never done that for a student she didn’t want to see excel. I always had charisma, a nice, respectful kid.
Did that resonate with you, being disciplined like that?
My mom was never a crazy disciplinarian, my dad was always strict. My grandma was alright when it came to discipline. I was always smart, I did shit on my own. I learned and made mistakes on my own. All the trouble I ever got in, I was either the influencer or 100% with it. I always tried to do the next right thing, make the best decision for myself because it’s something I got myself in. I didn’t complain. I could be the worst of the worst to the students and security, but my teachers always loved me. That got me far.
What does it mean to be able to give back to your city, with the platform you have?
It means everything, I’m a product of everything my people are going through. I’m a product of the struggle: dropped out of school, product of gun violence, I’ve been arrested, you name it. For every poverty-stricken neighborhood all across the country, only thing we’re missing is resources. People to be frontline to say we need these resources, to make sacrifices to take from yourself and give. That’s important to me. I’ve always been the dude who always gave a helping hand, extending myself before I was this big of an artist. You could ask about me in the neighborhood I come from, I’ve always been a helping hand to my people in need. I want to carry it on.
One of my favorite lines: “AR-15, make it ‘bladadadadah’ like Mozzy.” Were you hip to his music beforehand?
[laughs] I’ve been a Mozzy fan since 2014. If you’ve been a Mozzy fan since then, you know what Bladadah is. What it represents. That’s a hard ass line. I grew up listening to Mozzy. My first time ever going to the Bay, I was fucking with my homie Maserati Rick. I was in Sac, he put me on. Of course, they know each other. The first song I ever heard was “Bladadah,” played it for my homies back in Chicago. One day, my homie picked me up in the car playing that shit on his own. We locked in. I fucked with it, my homies fucked with it. I wanted to do that line so everybody who fucks with me would fuck with Mozzy. Even his homies will appreciate that line, that’s a n*gga I genuinely fuck with.
How’s your son holding up?
He’s great. Getting bigger, growing like me. After this retreat, I’m going to hang with him for a couple days. Father’s Day, I can’t wait. We’re going to barbeque and play sports. He wants to be rough when he hangs with me, play fight and be a kid. I have fun seeing myself in him.
Being a strong black male, how are you feeling with the George Floyd situation?
I’m planning what to do for our community, to be that safe haven for the kids so this won’t happen. Start with the youth, create that system where these kids aren’t having to go out and fend for themselves at such an early age. When they make mistakes, you hold them accountable like adults. For Chicago, I’m planning to bring direct change by speaking our demands. We need to all come together, I don’t mind being the sacrificial lamb when it comes to bringing us together.
Anything else we can look forward to?
Absolutely, new album. I’m definitely recording, I’m about to get back in mode. 150 Dream Team, that imprint is going to be crazy. New artists cultivated, mold artists every single day. Always working with my peers, I’m trying to bring Bibby out of retirement. Hopefully in 2021, you can expect No Limitations from me and Bibby. I’m trying to stay active.
How’s your relationship with Bibby now?
Of course, that’s my brother. We’re together all the time. We bought matching trucks.
He doesn’t want to rap right now?
He’s being a CEO. Bibby’s always going to be one of the best rappers to me, hands down. He can jump in this shit whenever he wants to.