G Herboâ€™s path to greatness wasnâ€™t paved with yellow brick. The neighborhood he grew up in on Chicago's East Side is knownâ€”fondly, to someâ€”as â€œTerror Town.â€ Passage through a metal detector is required for entrance into his old middle school.
In the latest MASS APPEAL documentary, 'City of Sorrow,' G Herbo makes his triumphant return to Hyde Park Academy, where he attended middle school.
â€œBefore I get out of here, I just wanted to tell yâ€™all that no matter what you do in life, the main three things to remember is to keep faith in yourself, stay focused and keep working hard,â€ the Humble Beast rapper tells an excited crowd inside Hyde Park Academy auditoriumâ€”the same place he used to show up to school smelling of weed. â€œAinâ€™t nothing easy. Everything in life is hard, there will be ups and downs, youâ€™re gonna lose, youâ€™re gonna fail. But you only fail if you give up.â€
â€œYou cannot justâ€¦ â€˜Oh, get out of the streets.' Youâ€™ll either die or go to jail.' Everybody knows that,â€ says Mikkey Halstedâ€”the former rapper, current president of A&R Machine Ent. Group, and mentor figure to Herboâ€”as he waits to make a turn at a streetlight. Halsted deconstructs many of the stigmas and myths surrounding life in Chicago as he takes our cameras through Herboâ€™s former stomping grounds.
â€œLeave the streets to do what? Go work in McDonalds? â€˜So the people that was trying to kill me last week, can see me in McDonalds?â€™â€
Herbo did find a way to leave the streets and went to work at places like Hot 97â€™s Summer Jam. His story is one that Halsted, and the city of Chicago wants to push out to a wider audience. â€œI damn near saw, like, Nas and Tupac,â€ Mikkey says about encountering Herboâ€™s talent for the first time. Thatâ€™s what I felt. So, I came to get him. I came home.â€
Watch City of Sorrow here.
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