Chicago rapper G Herbo opened up about the impacts of losing over 50 loved ones to gun violence on his life and mental health in the latest episode of Facebook Watch’s Peace of Mind with Taraji.
The rapper, whom co-host Taraji P. Henson described as “a proud Chicagoan,” said that it felt bittersweet for him to love representing his city while also being aware of Chicago being an epicenter of gun violence. He described the impacts of the crime as a “dark cloud” over the city and recalled being a young child when he witnessed his first murder.
“Nine, I was 9 years old,” G Herbo said of his age when the incident occurred. “I was with my mom, and she was putting something in the car, and out of nowhere the guy who was just standing on the corner walked up and just shot him. And he leaned over on the gate, and he shot him some more times, but I was scared for my mom. Instead of running to the car, she just dives on the ground. And I remember she cut her hand so I thought she got shot. I was scared. Like I saw her hand bleeding and stuff.”
Noting that he didn’t really have anybody to talk to as he grew up to unpack the traumas he witnessed from events like the one he shared, G Herbo said it was until his early twenties that he started realizing there was “nothing normal” about all the gun violence surrounding him.
“I used to witness my friends getting killed and I would come right back outside the next day,” the rapper said before sharing he could probably name 50 people he grew up with, if not more, who lost their lives to gun violence.
“I probably know like 100 people that got killed,” he said as an inclusive number of how many people he’s known who’ve lost their lives to gun violence in total.
When asked if he’s had to become “numb” to the loss and violence, G Herbo said, “Yeah, for sure. Like, I’ve been to a bunch of funerals. I didn’t cry. I started drinking real bad and stuff like that.”
Moreover, he recounted almost losing his own life to gun violence.
“Yeah, I was shot,” he explained. “I got shot at 16 years old or something like that… just standing outside on the corner. Yeah, and some guys just came through in the car, just shooting the whole corner up. Like nine people got shot that day. And I felt like one of the bullets knock my hat off. I felt the heat from the bullet on my head. So I thought I got shot in the head and I was just like, ‘Man, don’t fall, if you fall, they gonna kill you. So just don’t fall and just keep running.’ But I actually wound up getting shot in my right foot.”
“You really never recover from stuff like that,” G Herbo expressed. “You know, it’s always in the back of your mind, and you always feel like it can happen again. You know, I never went to like restaurants, or public places where people could put a location on me. That’s how my little brother got killed. Somebody just seen him in the barbershop. He got killed seven days before his 25th birthday. You know, I never let anybody see me with my mom. I probably only picked my little sister up from school one time. I didn’t want to put her in a car with me, ’cause I just felt like my car could get shot up.”
Remaining numb and “not caring about dying” has been a coping mechanism many like him have used “to stay alive,” the rapper said.
“Still to this day, even with me living in California now and not really being in a super violent environment, I just notice violence everywhere,” G Herbo shared candidly.
Now clinically diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the now 26-year-old rapper mentioned that he’s been going to therapy for the past two years. Although initially hesitant to share his traumatic experiences with a mental health professional, G Herbo explained that talking about everything he’s been through and his obstacles and coping mechanisms has made his therapy sessions worthwhile.
He later added that he and his therapist currently talk about a broader scope of subjects — like his role as a father and career — while also keeping in mind how his trauma relates to those aspects of his life.
G Herbo — who released his third studio album, PTSD, in 2020 — further detailed his experiences as a person who struggles with the disorder and how it differs from many people’s association of PTSD with the experiences soldiers may have after being on the front lines. Additionally, the rapper discussed putting over 150 kids through therapy for free so that society can eventually destigmatize the conversations surrounding gun violence and mental health in the Black community.
This week’s episode of Peace of Mind with Taraji highlighted that 2021 is on track to be the deadliest gun violence year in decades, and that on average, 26 Black Americans are killed by guns each day. Moreover, Pew Research shared in Monday’s episode reported that “Chicago has ranked number one in highest murder totals in the U.S. since 2012.”