Updated: Dec 27, 2020
Young, up and coming 21 year old Chicago rapper Polo G is back with his sophomore studio album 'The GOAT'. Polo G made a lot of noise with his track 'Pop Out' - a melodic banger which is style a, infused with drill elements, he's gotten used to. His first album was positively acclaimed, so his second would need an improvement on it to show he's heading in the right direction.
Production wise, this project is decent - nothing crazy but it creates the melancholic atmosphere these tracks tend to have well. The key elements of this project are classic trap instruments such as 808s and high hats, as well as piano keys and an almost sad guitar can be found through this project commonly. I would argue there's a lack of variety, but some beats go so hard like on 'Go Stupid' which has these twinkling sci-fi synths and these menacing 808 kicks, or like the track 'Flex' which has nice guitar strings before a dirty drop comes in. On the track 'Wishing For a Hero', a 'Changes' sample is used by Tupac as well as interpolated and it's probably the best song on the album, talking on racial issues with some hard hitting, emotional lines "Like every day might be the end of the road for me // We die young, so I couldn't picture a older me" and a great BJ The Chicago Kid feature. Obviously though, as well at times the beats can get a bit bland - especially to the back-end of the album on tracks such as 'Chinatown' or 'Be Something'.
For Polo himself, he's no Nas or Eminem when it comes to his lyrics and yes, he does use some generic phrases but he emits so much emotion and pain which is a skill in itself, with examples being on '21' where he talks on the late Juice WRLD saying "Can't relapse off these drugs, man, R.I.P. to Juice // We was tweakin' off them Percs, I popped my last one with you", or when he opens up with such honesty on 'I Know' with: "By his auntie, he was molested as a baby boy // Messed up his head, it even changed the way he play with toys". Polo's delivery involves a nice melodic flow, and while it doesn't sound too unique, it sounds nice layered over these beats. A great example of a good melody on this album is the hook of 'Beautiful Pain (Losin My Mind)', where the melody is incredible catchy, setting the tone for the rest of the song.
The features on this album are good, I won't lie. On the track 'Flex' we get a Juice WRLD feature - while nothing more than a standard Juice verse, it's an enjoyable feature nether the less. Also, on 'Go Stupid' NLE Choppa absolutely kills it with some witty one liners and a menacing delivery where he goes ham on the beat. Stunna 4 Vegas also does well on that track despite some generic lines he's proper spitting as well, and Polo G's braggadocios tone makes for a great song. However, the worst feature has to be Lil Baby's on 'Be Something' - mainly because the mixing is so bad it sounds like it was recorded from a LG Smart Fridge. Other than that, his verse was just very generic anyway.
This album is more of a conscious album as for the most part as he talks about his struggles growing up with street life, and he then uses this as an opportunity to reflect on his newfound success. This is found from the very start on the track 'Don't Believe The Hype', and he even talks about the mental health issues that this has caused on the song 'I Know'. There's also mentions of his girlfriend and all she's done for him on tracks such as 'Beautiful Pain' and 'Martin & Gina', even if I think he didn't put it across great at times with lines such as "Girl, I can't wait 'til I get home to fuck the shit out of you // Even on your worst days, girl,you still kind of cute" - like kind of cute? Weird thing to say to your girlfriend. The only issue with the content is that he doesn't always get this content across with new ideas, and he tends to repeat himself a lot - but I still respect what he's saying.
The album begins with 'Don't Believe The Hype' and it's a bit of a sluggish start. The lyrics are pretty average as he talks on his time in jail, street life and how his life's changed from success. The piano themed beat is alright but nothing really stands out on the track, and nothing makes you want to come back. The next track 'Heartless' is good, the Mustard guitar-themed beat is great, and the melody and catchiness of the track is also great but my issues with this track came from his basic way of saying things. Take the line, "Cap, how you make it out this shit?" I got the cheat code" - it's not bad, but he explained it with Genius as meaning "You got to be able to out-think your environment". I just think if he said that it would've been a harder bar. Later on we come to '33', which is the first mid track in a while. It's not bad, it just fails to stand out from the previous songs and gets kind of lost in the album. It still has a nice piano beat, and an emotional tone to it.
'Beautiful Pain (Losin My Mind)' is a key highlight for me, with Polo using real and emotional lyrics to talk on how he feels without his girl. With a melancholy guitar and as I already mentioned, an incredibly catchy hook - it's a real highlight. However, at the track 'Relentless', the album starts to get tiring, after hearing the same thing over and over - this goes on for about four tracks in a row. For that song itself, the weird mixing is what makes it mid to me. None of the following four songs are bad, they just feel a little tiresome. With 'Trials & Tribulations' being another example, a song with good meaning but a similar format to the rest of the album means it starts to get a bit uninteresting. I've previously mentioned it before, but the track 'Wishing For a Hero' was a great finale and just what the album needed. It genuinely is a top 10 song of the year in my opinion, and that Tupac sample is incredible. Just something about makes you so happy by the time it has reached the end.
To conclude, this is a decent album - pretty emotional and personal to Polo G and he showcases a lot of potential. It can get pretty repetitive at times both lyrically and production wise, almost sounding the same song over and over - but it's a good song. It does get tiresome in the second half however and drop off because of this. Still, it was a good enough attempt and currently sits in the top 20 albums of the year for me.
FAVOURITE TRACKS: Heartless, Martin & Gina, Flex, Go Stupid, 33, I Know, Beautiful Pain (Losin My Mind), No Matter What, Wishing For a Hero
LEAST FAVOURITE TRACK: Be Something
OVERALL RATING: Solid 6.5/10
*REVISED SCORE: Review may not match favourite tracks and overall rating because I've since re-listened and changed my score.*