Jadriena Solomon: You just released ‘Strictly 4 My Fans II,’ which is the second installment of the mixtape series. The first installment was released in 2016 when you were just 21 years old, and it marked your ascension from “street artist” to stardom. When you reflect on the six years between then and now, what leaves you most in awe?
G Herbo: I think what leaves me the most awe is kind of like chiming back to what you said earlier — just the longevity and how long I’ve been making music. I’m a really tough critic of myself, and I look at the things that I’m doing wrong because I’m always looking to improve and be the best version of myself.
At the end of the day, I do want to be considered one of the best, and I do want to be considered a legend. So what awes me the most is that I’ve accomplished so much at 27. When I sit back, I have a beautiful family. I have things to show for my hard work — a nice house, nice cars — I’m building like generational wealth for my children. And I look at all the people I take care of in my family. When I look at that, it makes me feel like I’m doing everything right and makes me not be so hard on myself with mistakes.
I still feel like sometimes I’m a new artist — like it’s the beginning for me in a sense, and with that mindset, I feel like I can keep getting better. That’s what really makes me feel the best about myself as an artist.
Jadriena Solomon: In a recent Instagram video you shared in promotion of the project, you explained that ‘Strictly 4 My Fans II’ is marking your ascension to “global superstardom,” and for me, it was surprising to hear you say that because I think the public views you as someone that has really put Chicago — the inner-city of Chicago — on the map to the world. You have fans all over the world that are familiar with where you come from because of your music and being a fan of you. Not a lot of people can say they brought global visibility to their community and you have. What does “global superstardom” look like to you?
G Herbo: Global Superstardom for me, first and foremost, is being able to touch my fans across the world. I’ve never been able to experience that. I’ve only done a show in Canada my whole career — that’s the only time I’ve ever performed out in the country and I was maybe 19 when I did that. So I haven’t really been able to experience the world from an artist standpoint and see how many people actually love me out there.
Another thing is, I’m so blessed as an artist — I’m yet to catch a big record — I’ve yet to catch my breakout Billboard record that will cross me over into global superstardom. And that’s a blessing for me because I’ve already built a foundation for myself as an artist and knowing that I have fans across the world that I’ve yet to even connect with — I’m striving for that and I feel like I’m right there. I’m one foot in the door when it comes to creating that status for myself and it’s exciting to know that I’m right there.
Jadriena Solomon: It’s super exciting as a fan to hear you say that and to predict what that record is going to sound like for you — who might be featured on that record with you — I think that’s really exciting for the fans to look forward to.
G Herbo: Thank you. The beauty of it is that there’s no system like what music is now. There’s no formula for seeing that hit record. So I don’t have to give it much thought. I can still have fun, be myself and allow myself to grow and elevate as an artist because I’ve already built a core fan base for myself. I feel like the hard part is already done. So when I actually catch that break, I can just ride that wave out.