Whether you think he committed sacrilege by riffing on Tupac‘s 1998 classic ‘Changes’ with his song ‘Wishing For A Hero’ or is simply ‘THE GOAT’, as his recent debut album would have it, Polo G is one of the most exciting names in rap right now. Following suit of the millions of dedicated Polo G fans out there, even the billionaire rap mogul Jay-Z’s placed Chicago’s finest on his mid-year Tidal playlist alongside rising stars like Westside Gunn and Boldy James. Want to know more? Read on…
Born Taurus Tremani Bartlett, Polo G grew up in Old Town with his parents, his two brothers and sister. Growing up and witnessing the economically disadvantaged streets of his neighbourhood in Chicago, Barlett has tales for days. It was after a run-in with the law, which led to the ‘DND’ rapper spending two months in jail for weed possession in May 2018, that Polo G’s music finally took off.
Often described as drill, Polo G was once known for his frenetic rapping style thanks to popular tracks such as ‘Hollywood’ and ‘Gang WithMe’. But jail seems to have mellowed him: upon release he took a more melodic approach to rap, courting mainstream attention with his 2019 breakthrough track ‘Finer Things’, which he had written in jail. Showcasing his auto-tuned singing alternative to the raving drill sounds of his peers, ‘Finer Things’ was catchier and more commercial. It wasn’t long before Columbia Records came and scooped the then-20-year-old. With life moving fast, it wasn’t long until Polo G (with the assistance of labelmate Lil Tjay) got his first song on Billboard. The high-speed ‘Pop Out’ was full of the fun aggression you expect from an Chicago artist, and peaked at Number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, his highest position to date.
Then we started going stupid
With such success, it seemed unlikely that Polo G could maintain the energy of his 2019 debut album ‘Die A Legend’, which was hugely well-received for his emotional yet relatable tales (and of course the party rager ‘Pop Out’) and proved that lyricism isn’t dead yet. So fans were elated when, in February 2020, he released the viral monster ‘Go Stupid’ featuring North Carolina’s Stunna 4 Vegas and Memphis’ NLE Choppa. The blaring 808s triplets in the instrumental became the background to many viral Tik-Tok memes, taking up to his self-proclaimed status of…
Polo G released his second album, ‘THE GOAT’, just this month: with his laid-back swag and matter-of-fact cadence, Bartlett raps alongside fellow zeitgeist-setters such as Lil Baby and the late Juice WRLD.
But one track in particular had the rap world revelling in Polo G’s talent. On the aforementioned ‘Wishing For a Hero’, Barltett touches on police brutality and gun crime. “Profit with a billion-dollar mind like I’m JAY-Z,” he raps. “They killed Martin for dreamin’ and now I can’t sleep”. Here he the uses infamous ‘Changes’ instrumental that rapper-turned-social activist Tupac rapped over 21 years ago. Like Tupac, G uses his platforms to highlight social issues and his determination “to conquer and fill them gaps” that pivotal figure Malcolm X left behind.
Is Polo G the next Tupac? Either way it seems he’s now one of rap’s brightest thinkers, and soon to be a Chi-Town legend.