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Chicago’s Polo G strives for versatility in upcoming album ‘The Goat’

The North Side-raised artist knows he’s only as good as his last project — a gold album.

While he has the downtime COVID-19 creates, Chicago rapper Polo G fills his days by hanging out with his family, playing basketball and video games. | Phil Knott
Amid all the COVID-19 downtime, Chicago rapper Polo G fills his days by hanging out with his family, playing basketball and video games.
Phil Knott

Chicago rapper Polo G is purposeful when it comes to life, especially his music.

Instant success? His single “Pop Out,” which was released in February 2019, was a hit record that made it onto the Billboard Hot 100.

How about staying power? A year later, “Pop Out” was classified certified platinum (4X platinum) by the RIAA [Recording Industry Association of America]. Knowing you’re only as good as your next record, he followed it up with another single, “Go Stupid.” Last week, the RIAA confirmed the record’s gold status.

Even the name of his new album, “The Goat,” slated for a May 15 release, has a purpose — sharing the same birthright with iconic influencers who’ve made names for themselves across various platforms.

“It’s really a play on my zodiac sign; I’m a Capricorn,” said Polo G. “I guess the animal [sea-goat] that represents a Capricorn. There’s a double meaning behind that because a lot of famous people are Capricorns: LeBron James, Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King, Tiger Woods and Denzel Washington. They are all considerably some of the greatest working professionals, so I feel like it’s just me to be great.”

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Polo G said his fans can expect much more reflective content from “The Goat” compared to “Die a Legend,” his gold record debut project.

“A lot of versatility,” said Polo G. “A lot of different sides of me; more of like a relationship-type of vibe with certain songs. More of a heart-felt ‘Polo’ they’ll hear inside their heads. They’ll see me as a more versatile artist after this album is released.

“My first project was [fans] getting to know who I was, like what I got to offer as the artist. But now it’s chapter two of that. I got even more to offer — just showing my growth as an artist and how I can switch it up”

Some of the standout tracks on “The Goat” include “Martin and Gina (the names of the main characters from the hit FOX series “Martin”),” “Don’t Believe the Hype,” (where he raps “Everybody has input on how we live”), “Still No Changes,” “Flex” ( a collaboration with fellow Chicago native Juice WRLD, who died in 2019) and “Be Something,” on which Lil Baby drops a verse that was originally slated for Polo G’s debut album.

He believes his album is relevant amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I feel like I’m touching on a lot of topics that have happened now, but [also] the broader message about certain songs and what’s been going on in the world right before coronavirus,” said Polo G.

And due to his meteoric rise — on the pop charts and back home — Polo G, who grew up in the Cabrini-Green Homes and the Marshall Field Garden Apartments, ultimately made the transition so many Chicagoans who achieve fame and notoriety had to do: relocate.

“I just wanted to get away from the city,” said Polo G. “I just know that ... I’ll always love is my hometown, but I just know that you can get in a lot of trouble … especially someone of my caliber; you’re bound to get into something. … I feel like everything happens for a reason, so I don’t necessarily regret it.”

While he has the downtime COVID-19 creates, he fills his days by hanging out with his family, playing basketball, and video games. He’s seen how the pandemic continues to crush gig workers.

“I had a few shows that were lined up before this happened; all of those were canceled,” said Polo G. “So all of those were some pretty good shows that were overseas. I’ve been doing features here and there; that’s pretty much it. I’m waiting for other opportunities that I can do as far as endorsements and things of that sort. Music-related? That’s the only thing right now.”

Nevertheless, Polo G pushes ahead and is eager to avoid a sophomore slump when it comes to his music.

“I’m pretty good at delivering my songs, but I just want to perfect the craft by creating melodies,” he said. “Perfecting my craft and constructing a song and putting together what I could throw in there. … to perfect what I’m better at.”