Day one of Lollapalooza seen homegrown Chicago emcee, G Herbo take the American Eagle stage before a packed crowd that was one of the most crowded and live I’ve ever seen for a late afternoon start on the opening day of the festival, which takes place in the world-renowned, Grant Park. So much so that there was even some fans climbing and just chilling in the trees, just watching on. The homegrown Chicago act the first act by that stage to have people climbing the trees too.
Herbo had by far one of the best performances I’ve ever seen for an opening day of the festival, which I’m now attending for the fourth time in five years. The way he commanded the stage and mic while going over many of his new hits from his recent collaboration album with producer Southside, Swervo, had everyone in the very youthful crowd, rapping along the lyrics with ease. Whether it was the title track, Focused, Honestly, Who Run It or tracks from his debut album, Humble Beast, such as, Everything and 4 Nem, you would be surprised how well the crowd knew all the lyrics.
As the Chicago emcee mentioned, once or a few times throughout his performance, it was easily his most live and biggest crowd to date. Which is really saying something for an artist, who has played such big stages, as the world-renowned and historical Hot 97 Summer Jam, just earlier this Summer.
The way that Herbo had his fans rapping along and knowing all of the lyrics to each track, was like a veteran lyricists who has been around for years and not someone who was just playing Lollapalooza for the first time. His quick rise from mixtape figure on the then rising South Side drill scene nearly four years ago, to a major-label signee with Epic Records, RED Distribution, really truly showing how much Herbo and his fan base has really grown in such a short amount of time and why he definitely needs a bigger stage to play. So don’t be surprised to not only see him back at Lollapalooza in a few short years, but even as a possible headliner in much the same way fellow Chicago emcees Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa quickly graduated to playing the main stage in just a few short years.
You also gotta love the way Herbo incorporated his fans into the performance too. Even bringing some up to the stage towards the latter part of the performance. Including a fan in a wheelchair, named, Jacob, who as Herb himself said, “Could’ve been anywhere else, but decided to be right here at Lolla.” So he not only got everybody in the crowd cheering and clapping for Jacob, but even asked him what his favorite track was so he could play it. To which he replied, “100 Days, 100 Nights.” Of course playing and performing the track, even though Herbo’s DJ had trouble finding the track at first. Herbo would even spit a quick freestyle for all the real Hip-Hop heads too. Which had many in the crowd ohhing and aaaying.
Growing up on Chicago’s Southside, Herbo’s lyrics inject details of the oozing grit and grime and after-hours street life he grew up in. Which you could really hear pierce through such coming-of-age narrative, Hood Legends and the harrowing dark and grimy, All My Friends are Dead. He wasn’t supposed to be here playing Lollapalooza after growing up and coming up where he came from, but Thursday with what was easily the best performance of the day, Herbo proved in the ever-growing burgeoning Chicago Hip-Hop scene, he is someone who stands out above the rest and you need to pay attention, who will be here for many more years to come. So don’t let him pass you by before he gets to big.