Die a Legend
The cover of Polo G’s Die a Legend features pictures of dearly departed friends and relatives looking on from heaven, their legacies front and center as he embarks upon the next, largest step of his career. The album is a timestamp for the MC, who recently relocated from Chicago to Los Angeles to escape the tragic cycle of street violence he often sings about. He’s come a long way, refining the drill music sonics of his earliest work into the more melodic and playlist-friendly delivery of songs like “Finer Things,” released nearly a year before Die a Legend.
The tow of his former life is ever-present, though, and celebrations of success are often inseparable from pain. “Couldn't leave my brother in them trenches, told him come and stay with me/We gon' live like kings for all them nights ain't have no place to sleep/N*ggas watched us starve and never offered us a plate to eat/Took off, now they mad, but I know that they won’t wait for me,” he raps on “Through da Storm.” His bars can come across as catharsis, but there are constant warnings that Polo is still very much of the environment he left. On “Lost Files” he talks about being anointed for success by God, and then, in the same verse, details a remorseless revenge killing. Songs like “A King’s Nightmare” serve as warnings to the generation behind him, while “Dyin Breed,” “Pop Out,” and “Last Strike” all paint him as someone not to be toyed with. On the whole, Die a Legend is a portrait of an artist trapped between the plight that informs a great deal of his work and what lies beyond the determination to escape that trauma. Fortunately for Polo G, he’s singing about the experiences he’s already had as opposed to the ones yet to come.