Hip-hop holds the power, possibility, and potential to make a difference. G Herbo wields this power more and more effectively on each subsequent project. The critically acclaimed Chicago rapper consistently utilizes his platform to tell true stories in order to incite change. In 2020, he aims to make the biggest impact yet on his third full-length album, PTSD.
Over the course of the tracklisting, the MC destigmatizes and dispels myths surrounding the title condition. For nearly a century, Western Medicine solely associated PTSD with war veterans as a post- combat condition. Due to modern breakthroughs, recent studies ascribe it to victims of trauma, trials, and tribulations in the toughest inner-city neighborhoods as well.
“I want to spread awareness of my situation, how I’ve lived, and how I’ve reacted to my own journey with PTSD,” he explains. “A lot of people don’t understand—even if they’re in it. Once you acknowledge you’re in a f**ked-up situation and you have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, you can overcome it.”
In many ways, he positioned himself to do so with a string of acclaimed releases since Ballin Like I’m Kobe in 2016. Elevating himself out of one of Chicago’s roughest sections, the East Side neighborhood known as “Terror Town,” he claimed a spot on the charts with 2017’s debut album, Humble Beast, which crashed the Top 25 of the Billboard Top 200. Meanwhile, his 2018 collaboration with Southside, Swervo, shook the culture. It captured #15 on the Top 200 and went Top 10 on the Top Rap Albums Chart and Top 10 on the Top R&B Hip-Hop Albums Chart. Pitchfork touted Swervo among “The Best Rap Albums of 2018” stating, “Through it all, G Herbo never abandons the puns and hater-dismantling bars that have helped him become one of the Windy City’s very best.”
However, in 2019, he received a life-changing diagnosis…
“I was clinically diagnosed with PTSD,” he admits. “I saw my first murder when I was nine-years-old. I’ve had over 50 friends die from gun violence. I’m realizing key components that made me who I was at 16- and 17-years-old. I didn’t understand before. I’m finally understanding now. I’ve decided to speak on so many situations like being shot early and watching my friend die and bleed out in front of me. I’m finally realizing what everything did to me.”
G Herbo has sharpened his signature storytelling more than ever before. He anchors a personal narrative in airtight rhymes, bold bars, and confessional hooks. The grit remains intact but refined with wisdom gleamed from years in the game and newfound confidence.
“I’ve grown a lot as an artist and a storyteller, because I’m able to point my finger directly on what it is I want to talk about and why it made me feel this way,” he states. “I wasn’t able to do that years ago.”
In the end, G Herbo shares an important message on PTSD.
“I want to help people understand why they feel the way they do and overcome it,” he leaves off. “Nobody gave me all of the steps, but I think I might be able to help.”