Polo G delivers superb sequel with ‘Hall of Fame 2.0’

Cameron Levasseur, Associate Sports Editor

Polo G released the deluxe version of ‘Hall of Fame’ on Dec. 3. Screenshot from Instagram/@polo.capalot

Less than six months after the release of Polo G’s third studio album, “Hall of Fame,” the Chicago rapper returned to flex his lyrical muscles with a 14-song deluxe tracklist on Dec. 3, that topped the earlier project.

In an announcement video for “Hall of Fame 2.0” released on social media early November, Polo G stated that he wanted to cap off this first chapter of his career with a bang, saying “I feel like we should turn up one more time.”

That’s exactly what he did.

The album begins with the lead single, “Bad Man (Smooth Criminal),” released Nov. 12. The song pays homage to the late Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal,” sampling and modernizing the beat of the 1987 classic with Polo G referencing “The King of Pop” several times on the braggadocious track that stretches a mere minute and 45 seconds.

This upbeat tempo continues through the next few tracks, all ripe with features. “Don’t Play” featuring Lil Baby sees the Atlanta rapper deliver yet another classic verse on a song that feels very similar to his own “How it Feels,” which was released in June..

The fourth track, entitled “Heating Up,” includes a feature from relatively unknown rapper YungLiV, who is signed to Polo G’s own Capalot Records. Unlike the inclusion of fellow Capalot signee Scorey on the original album, which felt out of place, YungLiV delivers a flow and sound similar to a younger version of his mentor, making it a very cohesive song.

After airing his grievances on “Black Man in America,” Polo G returned to a more melodic, singsong tone for the rest of the album. That tone was a major theme in the original 20-track run of “Hall of Fame,” leading to the rapper being dubbed “Piano G” by some on social media who viewed him as unable to switch his flow.

Playing into the criticism, Polo G titled the deluxe’s penultimate track “Piano G,” pondering and discussing life over three minutes of orchestral trap. The song begins with “He had it hard, now he’s just telling his story / Speak from the heart and I just tell ‘em, ‘Record me.” This poses an interesting switch from the third to the first person, but flows well into the rest of the song, where he expresses thoughts such as “I wonder, ‘Would the love be the same?’ / If I couldn’t make no more hits.”

The last song on the deluxe tracklist, “Alright,” is the best out of the new additions to the project. The melody is fantastic, and it provides a lot of lyrical substance to build off the previous track.

Overall, “Hall of Fame 2.0” delivers as promised. The 14-song deluxe album provided a mix of both hardcore trap and melodious, storytelling rap, fitting the theme of the original 20-track project. None of the features seem out of place either, with all five fitting the flow and tone of their respective songs. As Polo G moves on into the second chapter of his career, he can be satisfied with how he closed out the first.

On “Alright,” he raps “What’s a vet to a G.O.A.T?” but with three studio albums and a deluxe in the books, Polo G might now be both.