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G Herbo Discusses Swervin Through Stress and Dealing With Trauma

Written by on December 9, 2022

Chicago rapper G Herbo has taken community outreach to a new level and is using his platform to make a difference with Swervin Through Stress.

Rapper G Herbo knows firsthand what it’s like to go through childhood and young adult traumas and emerge as a successful artist on the other end — but he doesn’t think the next generation of creators and leaders out of Chicago should have to experience the same.

“I’m blessed to be able to have made it and just use my hardships as something to add fuel to my fire,” he said. 

“We shouldn’t have to go through trauma… to feel like, ‘I’m gonna make it by any means.’”

G Herbo breaks down new initiative Swervin Through Stress with Bekoe: “You gotta find ways for you to cope and be able to deal with your trauma.” Photo by Rakim Winfert for Vocalo / Chicago Public Media.

After his 2018 diagnosis with PTSD, G Herbo dedicated his life to ensuring young people in the Chicago community have the tools and resources that they need to thrive, both physically and mentally. G Herbo started his initiative Swervin Through Stress this year to raise awareness of the negative mental health cycle and break down the stigmas associated with mental health. Partnering with Project sWish, an organization founded by McKinley Nelson, Herbo and Nelson hope to create a safe environment for young kids of color to talk about their trauma with a role model who genuinely cares about them while learning healthy ways to deal with it — something Herbo feels he lacked growing up.

“A lot of these kids don’t care about nothing… They don’t got nobody to look up to,” Herbo explained. “All they’ve got to look up to is the rappers.” 

“I would’ve been a better version of myself or I’d be… 10 times more successful if I had somebody like myself to talk to me when I was 16 years old,” he said. “Somebody like myself, who I look up to.”

Left: Bekoe and G Herbo outside the Vocalo studios. Right: G Herbo sits across from Bekoe just before their conversation. Photos by Rakim Winfert for Vocalo / Chicago Public Media.

Shortly after his diagnosis, G Herbo bought the vacant Overton Elementary School in Bronzeville, which he plans to turn into a multimedia center where kids can learn creative skills including audio production, videography and how to run a studio.

Expressing emotions through his music has been central to G Herbo’s artistic journey: he released PTSD in 2020 and Survivor’s Remorse this fall. Both albums extensively discuss his personal dealings with the trauma and grief of losing friends to gun violence.

“I went through a lot of emotions recording [Survivor’s Remorse],” Herbo expressed.

“You gotta find ways for you to cope and be able to deal with your trauma,” he explained. “A lot of these kids don’t know how.”

G Herbo stopped by the Vocalo studios to sit down with mornings host Bekoe. They talked about his Swervin’ Through Stress initiative and how he is using his platform to make a difference. G Herbo also discussed Survivor’s Remorse, signing with record label Machine Entertainment Group and how fatherhood has changed his life both as an artist and a man. 

Swervin’ Through Stress is still welcoming new kids to participate in their programming. More information can be found on their website.

Follow G Herbo on Twitter and Instagram, and stream Survivor’s Remorse on Spotify below.

Interview and audio production by Bekoe

Introduction written by Joshua X. Miller, edited by Morgan Ciocca

Photography by Rakim Winfert

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