Spin’s Rap Monthly column interviews an artist making waves, opinions selections from the past month, and holds some lame shit accountable. Taurus Bartlett is halfway thru lunch, explaining that Yo Gotti these days provided him enterprise recommendation whilst he learns his breakout single “Pop Out” became licensed platinum. We’re at Nas’ upscale chicken and waffle eating place, tucked a number of the streetwear boutiques, skaters, and synagogues on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles, five days after Bartlett released his debut album Die a Legend.
The 20-yr-antique child-faced Chicago native, who raps under the call Polo G, moved to celeb enclave Calabasas remaining Christmas, and once in a while, ventures down from the valley to satisfy his barber throughout the road from the eating place. He arrives at lunch in an all-white suit, store for two gold chains hoisting pendants analyzing “G” and “Capalot,” with his older sister (and excursion manager) Leilani, lady friend Crystal, and native land pal Lil Blast. From the corner of our non-public eating room, his Columbia Records publicist receives the e-mail and pronounces the news: the rapper’s first platinum document. There’s a pause before Bartlet responds, with a straight face, “fa sho.”
Thirteen months in advance, Bartlett walked out of Cook County Jail in Chicago. He served months for hashish ownership after being arrested the previous October, for the 0.33 time in as many months, eight miles southwest of his formative years domestic in the Marshall Field Garden Apartments on the metropolis’s North Side. He could later inform interviewer DJ Vlad that he started hustling at 17 to raise cash in hopes of kickstarting his tune career. Bartlett launched a few songs earlier than coming into the nation’s biggest correctional facility, inclusive of remixes of Juvenile’s New Orleans conventional “Back That Azz Up” and native land hero G Herbo’s “Never Cared.”
But he wrote the single that grabbed Chicago’s interest while he turned into incarcerated. Last August, “Finer Things,” a bittersweet ballad over the funereal piano, unveiled a proficient melodist with a susceptible facet and severe sympathy for further located children from hypercriminalized communities. The 2nd-character chorus (“A lot of human beings dyin’ and it’s a chance which you may / You were given god for your site however it’s hard to do right”) feels like it’s directed on the listener reflect each.
The “Finer Things” video racked up 9 million YouTube views in just over two months, catching the enterprise’s interest, too. Bartlett signed a reported deal with Columbia, closing in October. He recorded “Pop Out”—a ridicule-apologetic earworm about mid-party robberies and headshots, which presently sits at No. 18 on the Hot one hundred—in degrees. Bartlett writes all of his songs in technology of spontaneously composed road rap before coming into the booth. “I need everything to, you sense me, line up and sound like a tale,” he says. “All in the course of the day, a line will pop up in my head.
Even if it ain’t a complete tune, I’ll have like, 4 bars connected to that, sit down on it, come down once more, and next shit, something else will come in all likelihood pop up in my head, and I’ll place it in my notes.” He laid down the “Pop Out” hook in Atlanta; however, struggled to complete the document. “I had badass creator’s block,” he says, blaming anxiety on label meetings. Bartlett ultimately recorded his verse, approximately a diamond-studded Rolex, new Wraith, and flights to California, returned in Chicago after the ink on his agreement dried.
Die a Legend showcases a newly moneyed version of Polo G, no less haunted but assured enough to confess as an awful lot, flaunting his lifestyle even as nevertheless humbled using it. (Near the give up of our meal, explaining that he listens to complete initiatives extra often than he used to, Bartlett says, “Now I’m a rapper, so that’s just a thing for me.”) “Through Da Storm,” perhaps the album’s best music, built around a tearjerker toy piano-like tune, unearths Polo using via the California mountains together with his cellphone on do-no longer-disturb, paying attention to his own track, reflecting on how his lifestyles “rerouted” and wondering whether he wishes an accountant.
He addresses the chorus to his late grandmother’s spirit, recollects phoning his sister from jail and his mother (and modern manager; she moved to L.A., too) crying in the courtroom, after which he gives an appropriate successful boast, “Fucked a sack up at Nieman’s.” The family loves Los Angeles, Bartlett says, although his father nonetheless lives in Chicago. They talked over the smartphone on Die a Legend’s release day. “He works in a big manufacturing unit, and that they got stations wherein everybody plays their song,” he says. “He stated on every station they changed into playing my song. That’s all for the duration of the day. He workin’ 10-hour shifts, and that’s all he heard.”