Written by David Turner (@dalatudalatu)
Chicago’s rap scene doesn’t have a dearth of voices. The black kid dealing with life on the street and trying to find themselves in the world before they can legally sip a beer isn’t underrepresented within this musical community. In a way this is a great thing to champion because hearing a black youth community, especially one that has its own fair share of female voices, given a chance to talk their own shit isn’t a novelty, it’s vital. But what seems so necessary one year can becomes uninteresting once the same kids, fail to know what to say once the spotlight remains on their eyes. Welcome to Fazoland from Lil Herb unfortunately wilts under this type of harsh scrutiny put on it.
The typical Drill tropes of guns, gang loyalty and expensive clothes aren’t uninteresting, see: Z Money, Sicko Mob and well entirety of Chief Keef’s discography. Lil Herb has seen praise for his rap ability despite his lack of dynamism from those other acts. And it certainly isn’t his rap ability that’s holding him back, because Chance the Rapper, a talented lyrist, portrayed a Chicago that hears Chief Keef on the radio and sees kids bopping on the same street. Herb’s lyricism though rings hollow, and he doesn’t has his partner Lil Bibby’s bellowing voice to help his Drill shit-talk more magnetic, if not at least more tolerable. So, when local stars like Lil Durk, King L and Lil Reese appear on the tape, their personas and style immediately trump Herb’s wordy gunplay.
Though Herb finds introspection on a track like “Mamma Im Sorry,” it doesn’t counter or even complicate the roteness that bogs down Fazoland. There are a few glimpses into Herb whether as a rapper or person; instead most of the tape is empty posturing that his Chicago bros have already done better. Even Lil Reese, whose rapping ability is well worth questioning, just saying “you a would’ve / could’ve / should’ve nigga” on “On My Soul” offers an aggravated taunt that trumps the rest of the song even when Herb is given more bars to perform. Lil Herb has a lot of words to say about his hometown of Chicago, but together they amount to so little.
Link: Welcome to Fazoland