What's Happenin'
Change is good for G Herbo.
By Sidney Madden
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of of XXL Magazine, on stands now.

With his city behind him, a new name and management, a big cosign from Nicki Minaj and three strong mixtapes under his belt, G Herbo is set up and ready for takeoff. The Chicago native, who recently inked a new deal with Cinematic Music Group, dropped his newest effort, the Ballin’ Like I’m Kobe mixtape this past September to positive reviews. Herb, 19, spoke with XXL about all the changes in his life, quitting lean and hip-hop unity or the lack of in his hometown.

You changed management recently and signed a deal with Cinematic Music. How come?
It wasn’t a hard decision to work with Cinematic. Really, it was just a point of me trying to expand. I still got the same team. New management was really just me trying to network a little different without having to work with a major label.

What’s up with the name change? You’re going by G Herbo now instead of Lil Herb.
My core fans, they still know me as G Herbo. It’s just a matter of me growing. G Herbo, taking the “Lil” off it. “G” could stand for a bunch of things. “General” because I move like a leader.

It was really just a matter of, I ain’t really change it myself. I ain’t really give myself the name G Herbo. It was my homies that started calling me that and I ran with it. It’s just the way we move. We all move like leaders. So we just put that in front of our name. It ain’t really got nothing to do with gangs or nothing like that. It’s just all cool, solid, but we just all leaders.

Rumor is that you recently quit drinking lean and you’re clean now. Is that true?
It’s really just a bunch of reasons I had for not drinking lean. I’ve been drinking lean since I was like 15. Lean is a real drug, a very powerful drug. And I was addicted to it. It’s a mind thing. And like, I’m honest, I loved drinking lean but I was always in control. It was really just a matter of me growing up and it was really doing something to my body. Now, there’s a lot of bonuses with it like you save money. It’s a real expensive habit, you know what I’m saying? So it was really me maturing and realizing I don’t really need it and I ain’t letting nothing control me. So, I’m just trying something different. And it’s not even like a phase. I really want to go clean for like at least a year, two years so I can really get in control and meet the milestones I want to meet. Then, maybe get back into that, but not the way I was at first. I control what I do. It was my bad habit.

How do you view the Chicago rap scene right now?
The Chicago rap scene to me, it wide open right now. Like, [the] whole Chicago has been on all the drill music movement for the past three years. A lot of Chicago artists have gotten signed. I don’t know if it’s because the drill music is unique. Like my style, what I got going on, it’s not really drill music because I speak about my life and stuff I got going on. I rap about what’s really true to me. I couldn’t really make that drill music. A lot of people aren’t really true to what the music really means or I don’t know if they’re really using it to make their lifestyle seem better or whatever. I don’t really know. I’m not trying to throw shade on my city, but I mean, it’s not really unique to me because in Chicago, we don’t really stand strong as a unit. We not united.

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