How We Got To ‘Hall Of Fame’: Polo G’s Journey To Becoming A RAPSTAR
What a ride.
Music 2m

The growth is real…

Multi-platinum rapper Polo G has had a meteoric rise the past couple of years, the Chicago upstart bringing his unique brand of drill and melody all across the world, from festivals to Genius Open Mics and even NPR’s Tiny Desk (one of our favourites of 2020). Now, he’s three albums in, 2018’s Die A Legend, 2020’s The Goat and his most recent release Hall Of Fame tearing up the charts with their distinct blends of melodic hip hop and Chicago Drill resonating with the masses so hard they’ve helped him make history.

Thus, we thought we’d take a trip down Polo G memory lane and go through some of his most iconic videos over the years, but not before we dipped into our favourite tracks off Hall Of FameBoasting a crazy 20 tracks (the man’s level of output is ridiculous) the album is one of his most feature-heavy projects yet. And for good reason, since he’s got a bloody all-star crew along for the ride. From The Kid Laroi to Lil Wayne to DaBaby and Young Thug, Polo really put it all out there for the 2021 effort, and it really shows. 

And of course, there’s no way we’re not starting with anything else other than’No Return’ ft. Kid Laroi & Lil Durk. The track sees Polo set a sombre mood with moving strings and keys, going all the way in with a relentless flow as he raps about keeping his head despite his enormous success. Laroi’s feature on the hook is bloody hard-hitting as well, singing with that recognisable timbre has he sings about not being able to ‘go back’ to the days before success.

Polo keeps up the emotion throughout the track listing, but the waviness he adds to it in ‘GANG GANG’ ft. Lil Wayne is properly vibe-inducing. The mellow beat sets a rich stage for Polo and Wayne to go all the way in, going ham with flow and phrasing as they almost battle each other on the record, the track filled with this friendly air of competition as both rhymers rap about their successes. 

But Hall Of Fame isn’t just made for the hip hop purists or lyrical enthusiasts, but it’t got joints for the club too, with ‘Party Lyfe’ ft. DaBaby being a dance floor ready record easy to get your pop and lock on. Recruiting one of the emotive guitar loops that says so damn much, Polo and DaBay give a deeper insight into the life of being a baller after struggling for so long, the hook ‘We live a party life, turnt up all night, enjoy the moment/
Uh, you fought the hardest fights, wipe tears from your eyes/ It feel good, don’t it?’ letting you know that they’ve worked their bloody asses off to get where they are, and they’re gonna celebrate it into the night.

The album is definitely a rollercoaster of emotions and moods, and Polo keeps us on our toes all the way till the end, with the second lsat track ‘Clueless’ ft. Pop Smoke & Fivio Foreign a shimmering marvel of hip hop heat and fire. The beat is probably one of the darkest on the album, hazy synths and raw drums really adding to the menacing nature of the track. Of course Pop Smoke and Fivio Foreign sound equally as badass on the joint, Pop Smoke’s posthumous verse reaching through the grave as he raps about enjoying the opportunities that come with wealth while remembering where he came from, and to always stay ready. Polo and Fivio bring just as much intensity, feeding off the collective energies as they educate you on the strength of the street and what it’s done for them.

One of Polo’s most dynamic albums yet, it seems the future is truly bright for the Chicago upstart, and it’s been clear since his debut that he’s coming for all of the success. And so, it’s time to take a trip down Polo G memory lane and check out some of his most iconic videos over the years.

Check it below.

2018

‘Man Listen’

The fire of a young rapper just trying to be heard is an archaic force that’s hard to contain, and Polo G was the literal embodiment of that in ‘Man Listen’. Released in 2018, Polo’s musical style was already far more developed and defined compared to his contemporaries. The track features clashing hats and a melancholic piano loop that bounces around your head, setting a dynamic sonic backing for his fast-paced flow and Chicago drill sound palette. The video sees him rapping around the Chicago cityscape in a vibrant DIY video, the skyline of the Northside looming in the background as if foreshadowing the global success soon to come for him.

‘Finer Things’

‘Finer Things’ really showed that Polo G was capable of delivering far more than just hype, the 2018 video showing the rapper let us in on the struggles of growing up in Chicago. The Die A Legend tune also sees him show off his singing voice, alternating between rhythmic and melodic-focused delivery as he reflects on certain traumas that defined his upbringing. The video sees him rap everywhere from a beachfront to a neighbourhood block, backed by friends and loved ones as he shows us that even then, he was set on being more than just a rapper.

2019

‘Dyin Breed’

It’s 2019, and the world is starting to take notice of the star that is Polo G. By now Polo is starting to make proper waves, and it’s more than reflected in the video for ‘Dyin Breed.’ Rapping in a crazy mansion whilst rocking everything from sports cars to designer chains, Polo was really coning into his own at this point. Lyrically however Polo was still keeping it 100, rapping about transcending his surroundings while opening up on the obstacles that come with success.

‘Heartless’ ft. Mustard

By the time ‘Heartless’ ft. Mustard dropped, it was nearing the end of the year, and it was beginning to become apparent that Polo was gonna be on the airwaves for years to come. The track sees him open up on material wealth and possessions, the rising star being fully transparent on the appeal of money, but still stressing to us that he ‘won’t change.’ The video is a good embodiment of the song’s message, seeing Polo draped in fire fits (I need that bumbag) whilst sticking by his day ones, really reaffirming that no matter the success, he’ll still be kicking it with the same crowds at the same parties.

2020

‘Martin & Gina’

A video that puts the focus on love and relationships, ‘Martin & Gina’ sees Polo ditch all of the streets and neighbourhood rap circles, rapping in a humble abode with his significant other as they go through all of the highs and lows of being in a relationship. Definitely an important checkpoint for Polo on The Goat as well as his catalogue as a whole, the part ballad, part heater showing him not afraid to switch up lyrical content and visual direction without warning. And even though it’s a song about relationships and such, it still goes just as hard, but with an undertone of silkiness to it that helps it be one of his most re-playable hits.

2021

‘RAPSTAR’

The single that literally made history, ‘RAPSTAR’ sees Polo G fully realised and comfortably sitting in the role of well, a rap star. The Hall Of Fame single features baller visuals decorated by high end cars and jets, the visual is a crazy milestone for Polo, even more of a trip after watching the video for ‘Man Listen’. But regardless, you can still hear elements of Chicago Drill still embedded in the track, but with a soothing melodic twist; measured autotune delivered over emotional guitar loops that hit just as hard, if not more so, all of these years later. Every piece of the video screams megastar, but he still has that air of honesty that defined his early releases as well, and it’s safe to say that air is ever present on Hall Of Fame.

Words by Amar Gera June 14, 2021
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