G Herbo Is Menacing and Calculated on ‘Still Swervin’: Cheat Code Album Review

‘Still Swervin’ may appear to be a collection of B-sides, but the album plays like a terror-filled rap clinic.
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G Herbo Is Menacing and Calculated on ‘Still Swervin’: Cheat Code Review

G Herbo moves in time with the heart of Chicago. His catalog is years deep and teeming with drill essentials. From Herb’s bare street tales on Humble Beast to a raucous good time on Swervo, the last few years have been a period of blossoming and growth for G Herbo’s career. He has found his lane and is racing down it the way he races the beat to the finish line. Never one to stay stagnant, G Herbo continues to capitalize on his momentum by releasing the Swervo follow-up, Still Swervin, a project that may look like B-sides in name, but manages to strike at a fresh mood.

Still Swervin opens with a raspy urgency on “Sacrifice.” Right away, we get that Humble Beast storytelling and dourness, which lasts until the final track, “Wilt Chamberlin.” There is an overall severity and snarl to Still Swervin; G Herbo sounds calculated in his menace. Lurking terror makes the record seem as if it was dragged through the grime of Chicago alleys. Herb’s mercurial ways are traded in for a haggard and gnashing tone (“Visionary”). Sparks of rage and fear turn into a steady flame of aggression. On Still Swervin, Herb accepts his circumstances and takes on the role of inscenced reporter. There is the fun of Swervo (“Up It”), but with an underpinning of wounded heart (“Ok”).

For levity, Gunna adds a nice touch of melody to keep Still Swervin from being an oppressive listen. We get much of the same from Juice WRLD on “Never Scared.” The switch-up in Southside's production style, too, forces G Herbo to tweak his flow and adds some necessary novelty to the project. Herb tries his hand at something resembling a melody on “Yerk 30” as well. Sounding like drill’s answer to Future, “Yerk 30” is a clutch track in that it keeps us from accusing Still Swervin of being too much of the same.

Still Swervin doesn’t have the initial explosiveness of Swervo, but the delivery has a measure of control. G Herbo is, dare I say it, often on-beat. When we get into the bangers and the Speed Racer flows, the project is absolutely ballistic and haunting (“Boww”). Herb takes the essence of drill and reinvigorates it song over song. 

The good news here is that these are not simply B-sides and sloppy seconds Herb is serving up for fanfare. Still Swervin has a distinct enough mood to pass as a formidable sequel to his quintessential blowing-off-steam project, and not an auxiliary moment we could have done without. But that also doesn't mean the project will become essential in G Herbo’s catalog. What it avoids in sounding like unfinished scraps it does not fully make up for in purpose. 

There is little wrong with feeding the streets, but considering that Swervo is not even a year old, exercising some restraint would not have hurt Herb either. Yet, with the speed at which music is moving, it appears Herb has little choice but to play the game. Luckily, nothing on Still Swervin besmirches his artistic direction. From a fan perspective, the more Herbo, the merrier. From a critic perspective, that still stands—within reason.

Standout Track: “Ok”
Best Bar:If it’s gon’ be okay, then come tell me what’s wrong with me / Said grandma gon’ be okay, she ain’t come home with me
Best Moment: G Herbo’s singing, which is very endearing, on “Yerk 30.”

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