Not every artist to cross the radars around these parts immediately receive coverage. Case in point, Lil’ Bibby and Lil’ Herb.
For the better part of perhaps four months or so, I’ve spent time familiarizing myself with two of Chicago’s most talked about MC’s. There was some initial hesitation. The Chi’s long been one of rap’s more lauded and historical cities with a lineage of names, albums and moments that go without mention. Yet, the city’s newest wave of music from its younger class has largely been hit (or hit) or miss.
To the non-Chicago resident attempting to maintain pace with the new crop of artists resonating from basketball’s mecca in the ’90s, there’s Chief Keef, Lil Reese, Lil Durk, Fredo Santana, Sir Michael Rocks, King Louie and more all who at some point or another donned “potentially next to blow” fitted cap. Still, for all the success someone like Keef – and to a lesser extent, Reese – has obtained, there’s the thought buddy’s antics away from the microphone frequently trump a majority of what finds its way to Soundcloud or Datpiff. Rockie Fresh is doing everything he can to establish his own identity under the MMG umbrella and avoid being a tax write-off where as Durk stands to be the twinkle in the industry’s eye moving forward.
However, hearing that “it” factor of maybe not crossover commercial appeal, but “the sound” of combining graphic street narratives with a dedication to some sort of coherent rhyming scheme was missing aside from short selection of artists.
So, as was said earlier, opening up to Bibby and Herb was delayed due to a wall constructed with equal parts personal ignorance and public perception; and only torn down via adamant articles and tweets via The Great Andrew Barber of FakeShoreDrive and Chase N. Cashe.
A heavy and frequently dark street aspect is littered throughout their catalogs. Pictures of a Chicago far beyond Madison Avenue and the Magnificent Mile struggling to keep its head above water and away from gunfire dictate their approach to music. The vernacular is far from inviting, and in some cases, not the most ideal topic to discuss hailing from a city which has more than earned its infamous nickname “Chiraq.”
However, with Herb and Bibby, a focus on storytelling and lyrical progression often illuminate brightest. The big difference being their fairy tale is simply avoiding the coroner long enough to shoot a music video and maybe earn a quick piece of change from a show. If the music sounds grim, try surviving six hours in anything past 47th Street in Chicago because as my homie Will puts it, “They shooting everywhere now.” They’re not just rapping six words and repeating it for the remainder of a verse. They’re weaving hardcore hood mandates and pitfalls with impressive and frequent Tribeca-worthy showcases.
“Know They Role” has been scattered across the Internet for quite some time. Yet, the two only “officially” released the track hopefully in preparation of a rollout which includes new projects (Herb’s Welcome To Fazoland and Bibby’s Free Crack), new features and new eyes investing attention – nation says Project Pat and Drake may soon be hopping on “My Hood.”
They’re young, wild and about 15 blunts late of the first f*ck to deposit. In essence, Herb and Bibby fall under the same umbrella of another young’n like Asean Johnson. Both represent the plight of young black males in America’s third largest city crying for help in explicitly contrasting manners. It’s far too early to crown Bibby and Herb the “next” anybody. They’re their own artists anyway. Nevertheless, I’d be lying by saying a faint hint of a Boosie and Webbie-like natural chemistry on wax was easy to ignore. And in sort of a “coming full circle” moment, those looking for a crash course in the previous 400 words can thank FSD and DJ L for The Best Of Lil Herb & Lil Bibby: Heir Apparents.
Between now and early 2013, they’ve earned a new fan. And chances are, over the course of the next 23 tracks, a few more are on the horizon.
Seriously, go ahead and say Herb didn’t black the hell out on this. I triple dog dare someone!