Run It Back
G Herbo is building on his 2018 wins.
Words: Kai Acevedo
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of XXL Magazine, on stands now.

In an era where lyrics often take a backseat to vibes, a freestyle over the instrumental to Three 6 Mafia’s 2000 track “Who Run It” became a highlight of 2018. Although the beat was provided by Juicy J and DJ Paul, it was G Herbo's fire bars that garnered praise from Drake, spawned a freestyle frenzy and introduced a cult classic to a new generation of music heads. It was just one standout moment of the 23-year-old Chicago rapper’s 2018, which also included dropping the Southside-produced Swervo, making money moves with Epic Records and Luc Belaire and becoming a dad. XXL caught up with G Herbo to talk bossin’ up, being a new father and giving back.

XXL: How would you sum up your 2018?

G Herbo: Very exciting. It’s been a year for me to learn and get my business more organized. Saving my money and seeing what comes in versus what’s being spent. I’ve been doing a lot of work but I’ve been really tightening up this year as far as business.

What’s the biggest difference between how you approached recording Swervo vs. Humble Beast?

It was a big difference. I wrote all of my music for Humble Beast; I didn’t write any of the music for Swervo. Everything was off of the top of my head, natural. It was just me talking about what I’m doing right now in a sense—spending money, enjoying life and trying to give inspiration to the youth. Humble Beast [was] me introducing myself, what I’ve been through, what it took to get where I’m at and where I plan on going in order to get what I want in life. Humble Beast is like a street guide or a hood bible for how to maneuver through the streets.

Swervo is more of, I made it from the streets and I’m a product of the streets, but look at me now. I’m a millionaire. I’m a businessman. I can go spend $100,000 on a chain or $300,000 on a car. That’s what Swervo is—being able to talk about reaping the benefits of working so hard to try to give motivation to the youth. Because if I can be the Humble Beast and then be Swervo, you can too.

You’ve been successful while staying independent. Why did partnering with a major label make sense for you this year?

I just felt it was the smartest choice to make right now for my business because at this point all I really need is a bunch of marketing. I just need a label to put my face out there, get me seen and make me a household name. As far as the music and money we generate from music, streaming and stuff, those are things that I’ve already organized with my core team. If somebody can’t use you, you’re useless. The label is about to benefit off of me the same way I can benefit off of them marketing me. I still have a 85/15 split with any situation I’ll ever be in. Once I started understanding what my business does and what I want it to do, it’s easy for me to get into a partnership with major label. I’m able to say that my business does this, this and this on its own without you, so I just want and need this, this and this with your help.

You had your first child this year. What’s the best thing about being a father?

People say when you have kids they change your life. It’ll really go over your head until you have one of your own. That’s a life that I brought into the world and somebody that is always gonna depend on me. I’m their protector, their caretaker. That’s my full responsibility and I act off of that. This is my firstborn, so I’m just excited.

What are your plans for 2019?

I just want to keep progressing, continue to be the best father I can be and keep making music.

Check out more from XXL’s Winter 2018 issue, including our Migos cover story interview, Vic Mensa talking activism and women's equality in hip-hop, Jay Critch's steady rise and more.

See Photos of Migos for the XXL Magazine Winter 2018 Issue

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