With debut album Die A Legend, the downcast and melodious Chicago rapper Polo G established himself as one of the most vital forces in hip-hop. Less than a year later, he’s back with THE GOAT, his second album. (In addition to the usual Greatest Of All Time implication, the title is a reference to his Capricorn astrological sign and the lineage of Capricorn greats: “LeBron James, Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King, Tiger Woods and Denzel Washington.”)
THE GOAT features several of the songs Polo has kicked out since Die A Legend dropped. Last fall’s great Mustard collaboration “Heartless” appears early on. The recent “DND” is on there, as is “Go Stupid,” the track that aligns Polo with fellow young studs Stunna 4 Vegas and NLE and brings together super-producers Tay Keith and Mike Will Made-It. One song that didn’t make the cut: “First Place,” Polo’s reunion with Lil Tjay, who joined him on the breakout hit “Pop Out.”
The album has other guests, like Lil Baby on “Be Something” and BJ The Chicago Kid on closing track “Still No Changes,” built on the same Bruce Hornsby sample 2Pac famously rapped over. Notably, “Flex” features the latest posthumous appearance from Juice WRLD, another rising star out of Chicago before his death last year. But the features really aren’t the point on a Polo G album. His sing-song storytelling continues to sound exquisite against minor-key trap beats laced with somber organic instrumentation, whether finding evocative new ways to describe gangland violence (“Like taco night, we leave them shells sittin’ inside your stomach”) or lamenting about its mortal and psychological toll (“We die young, so I can’t picture the old me”). It’s premature to call him the GOAT, but he’s one of the best doing it right now.
Stream THE GOAT in full below.
THE GOAT is out now on Columbia.