G Herbo is here for one reason, and one reason only: he refused not to be. Chicago’s seeming implosion onto the scene with ‘I Don’t Like’ just never quite came to be, with drill long since seeming destined to cult status. Would be stars from Chief Keef to Lil Durk have come oh so close, only to gradually seep from their major labels’ rosters. Granted, their influence is seen practically everywhere, and they retain sizable fan bases, but real nationwide dominance has eluded drill and adjacent Chi-town artists, time and again.

Beginning his career as Lil Herb, Herbo boasts one of the best mixtapes you’ve likely never heard in Welcome to Fazoland, but for some time, it seemed he, too, was destined fall just short of longevity. Despite collaborating with a pre-self-destructive Nicki Minaj, among other boons, Herbo didn’t seem to be quite catching on, as newer mixtapes failed to make the level of impact needed for a breakthrough. Herbo seemed destined to preach to the converted.

Somehow, in sheer defiance of the odds (and seemingly even reality), in the short time since his respectably if, well, humbly performing debut LP Humble Beast arrived last September, he’s changed all that. The split between raucous energy and grim storytelling made the album stand out. In truth, Herbo was never built for a drill checkbox, true, he has the knack for the macabre down pat, but the young rapper’s strengths have always laid in detailed lyricism than brutish confrontation. Humble Beast finally made clear to those who hadn't quite been watching: G Herbo wasn't one to be pinned down.

Linking up with Southside for a rapid follow up was a no brainer. The two had gelled over 'Everything', a Humble Beast collaboration whose remix boasted both Lil Uzi Vert and Chance the Rapper. Herbo had found a capable partner for the continually reemerging trend of rapper/producer duos, while Southside finally had a worthy voice to enlist in proving his name belongs among the marquee producers of the moment. Swervo was born.

Both parties play for keeps. Neither has ever sounded so prepared for a wider audience, their mutual finesse practically gleaming track by track. Which isn’t to say Swervo is without menace. G Herbo has perhaps never cut a grimmer figure than now, his shell shocked youth giving way to something of a war weary, wizened (albeit occasionally dickish) sage.

However, he’s also never sounded so comfortable letting his personality guide a record. Never before has such charming arrogance as found on title track ‘Swervo’ graced his work before, many of the insecurities that grounded his rhymes before largely filled in by vibrant, tenacious braggadocio.

Naturally, that’s only between the grief and sorrow that still guides much of Herbo’s perspective. The pain of his hometown remains nearly omnipresent. “Long Live that nigga Zack TV, heard he had a daughter / The police here ain't solving murders, this ain't Law & Order,” Herbo almost dryly intones at the end of ‘Bonjour’: he never overplays a haunting image, content to let a few well-placed glimpses into his torn mindstate paint the picture. It’s never been more vivid than on Swervo.Together with Southside, he even manages to make it fun. Don't ask us how.