Editor’s Note: A special thank-you to Le’Onna Arrington for graciously allowing me to use this photograph as cover art. Her lens captured the essence of the G Herbo’s ’25’ Tour and what it felt in the House of Blues Cleveland. It was all love! Be sure to check out her Instagram: Shotsbylele for more photographic goodness.
It’s time G. Herbo is widely recognized as the elder statesman of Drill Music. But perhaps that’s not all?
It’s with great intention that G Herbo has continued climbing the totem pole to ensure his visibility and legacy as a genuine lyricist — a rapper’s rapper.
The proof is in the pudding, and the pudding was plated on November 22nd in Cleveland’s House of Blues as the Chicago rapper took to the stage.
25 was a milestone for Swervo as the album debuted as No. 5 on the Billboard Charts and topped Apple Music Pre-adds leading up to the album’s release.
The tour hitting 12 NorthAmerica cities easily feels like another milestone, as Herb opened the floor to upcoming artists Lil Zay Osama and DCG Brothers — Chicago’s own — and Shaun Sloan.
Each opening act held its own weight forging a path into the audience’s musical palette.
However, the ‘25′ Tour doubtlessly belongs to Herb as the rapper made his grand return to the center stage following the cancellation of his PTSD Tour in 2020.
The ‘Humble Beast’ has withstood many adversities — some of which unfolded in the public’s eye in recent years. Yet his latest album, 25, speaks of a refined rapper and man. And the tour —also 25 — takes up more of the same.
While cell phones lights still illuminated the venue for up-tempo tracks like “Who Run It,” “Swervo,” and Lil Herb classics like “Rollin'” and “Kill S**t,” there were grave moments as well, as songs like “Whole Heart,” “Write Your Name” from Welcome To Fazoland — released in 2016 —bled indelible memories.
Herb’s synergy with the fans was stirring.
They showed up for him, just as he did for them — in a pure way.
As for the deep-cut tracks, many fans rhymed along, showing their gratitude for his artistry.
In tandem, Herb and the fans communed over the lyricism that brought solace to their trauma — whether worlds apart or similar in detail.
“And I swear I lost so many of my guys/ so I’m sippin’ Remy, smokin’ 50’s for my guys/ never let a n***a blow any of my guys”– G Herbo “Write Your Name” , Welcome To Fazoland.
However, this was not the most impressive element of the night.
Herb’s storytelling was the most majestic facet and main selling point.
Of course, his music speaks for itself and always has. However, his stage presence has wildly improved throughout the years.
In 2018, Herb twice performed at The Odeon in Cleveland, OH!
Once in March and a second time in November, he completed the deluxe of his debut album “Humble Beast” in Feb. 2018.
When he first touched the stage in March 2018, Herb greeted the crowd with two large blunts as his viral freestyle turned single “Who Run It” sounded off.
The crowd erupted with phones out and cameras rolling, all to show proof of Chicago’s rapper persona in the flesh. The concert was entertaining, yet it felt contained, almost like a small show rather than a touring act.
Months later — in Nov. 2018 — he felt more concise in his delivery. Still raging with the fans but more intentional with his delivery.
Fast forward to 2021, Herb shoots up from the ground to “Statement.” Right out the gate, we’re getting bars and drip. However, this time, Herb is clearly in his element, and no one dared to question it as he refused to waste a second of the attention of his audience.
His penchant for poignant storytelling came alive when he performed “High Speed” from PTSD.
This track was an undeniably compelling moment as it chronicles his last high-speed chase with law enforcement.
It clearly depicts Herb’s internal pivot from the streets to full-time rap.
“Something’ f***in’ with my conscious / I ain’t trippin’, am I dawg?
I ain’t gettin’ tired of this way of living, am I God? ( Am I?)
Thought I could do this s**t forever, I went hard from the start.”– G Herbo “High Speed,” PTSD
Under the flashing blue and red lights, the cadence of the show altered.
It was clear he was in element, gripping the crowd beyond the initial fanfare of the opening songs.
Furthermore, it was the epitome of Herb’s genius. His ability and willingness to not only finely articulate his truths but bear his transparency in a way that evokes empathy from even a non-believer, making them want to understand.
This element continued throughout the night, glittering his potential for global success.
It isn’t many American rappers known to reach global success while maintaining the very authenticity that captured their fans at a grass root.
Yet, in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, G Herbo spoke of plans of grandeur as he desires to break through as a global artist.
All in all, Herb’s heart was on full display. His intentions to not only provide a quality show but sincerely share space with his fans illuminated throughout his set, as he constantly poured out sentiments of gratitude throughout the night.
Although we’re far from 2015’s “Peace of Mind,” when ‘Lil Herb’ first came across my radar, I walked out of the venue considering how the Drill Music Legend hasn’t neglected his foundation. His passion for what makes Hip Hop what it is — an intuitive approach towards connectivity.
The tour felt like the interlude of “Outro” from Strictly 4 My Fans live in color. A tangible embodiment of Herb’s essence as an artist. An experience fans could embrace.