Polo G makes mark with “The GOAT”

Photo+courtesy+of+Columbia+Records

Photo courtesy of Columbia Records

Michael Pearce, Editor-in-Chief

Rising to stardom at 21 or under has become common in the rap game. One of the latest young rap stars, Polo G, who rose to stardom when he and Lil TJay released “Pop Out,” dropped his second album “The GOAT” on Friday, May 15.

The Chicago native released his album on the same day as Future, which could be a death sentence for a lesser-known artist, but his album is projected to be second on the charts behind Future.

Two strengths of “The GOAT” are the substance of lyrics and the production value. The album delivers heartfelt, entertaining and clever lyrics on each track. Even the songs that are more about more stereotypical rap themes (wealth, fame and women) have lyrical value.

The crown jewels of this album are “Go Stupid,” “Wishing For A Hero” and “Flex.” These three are the most impressive songs, with “Go Stupid” been released months before the album came out. All three have different feels and encapsulate the album’s diversity perfectly.

“Go Stupid” features Stunna 4 Vegas and NLE Choppa. The trio of young rappers go hard nonstop on the intense Tay Keith and Mike WILL Made-It beat, making it a workout or party song.

“Flex” features the late Juice WRLD, who provides a great contrast with Polo G, delivering a great verse with melodic rap lines. Polo G and Juice WRLD’s styles fit well together, with Polo being more of an old-fashioned rapper who strays away from singing.

Unfortunately, with Juice WRLD’s passing, this pairing might be a one-and-done. “Flex” is a song that speaks on the journey from rags to riches — this is something Polo G touches on consistently on “The GOAT.”

The best song on the album is undoubtedly “Wishing For A Hero.” Polo G raps over an interpolated beat of 2Pac’s 1998 hit “Changes,” a song which dives deep into the state of race relations in America and sampled Bruce Hornsby’s 1986 chart-topping “The Way It Is.”

“Wishing For A Hero” is beautiful. It begins with intense flow and lyrics revolving around the same topics 2Pac spoke on in 1998. Polo G mentions Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, rapping about the injustice that black people face in the United States every day.

This track ends with a choir hitting the same refrain from 2Pac’s song, “that’s just the way it is.” Reminding people that what was true about racism 22 years ago is still true today. It is a special song, paying homage to a pioneer of the rap game who was also influential in his activism.

The albums variety could be improved upon — Polo G finds variety in his features and differing producers, but some of the songs that have no features and rely on similar styles of beats can become monotonous at times. They are still good songs, but some songs fade in the background of the heavy hitters like, “Wishing For A Hero.”

There are obvious and unignorable peaks on “The GOAT.” However, it is not a perfect album. For a second album, “The GOAT” is a great step forward for a young artist who has staying power in the rap game.

Rating: 4/5 stars