Best Songs: Love Sosa, Hallelujah, No Tomorrow, Diamonds, 3Hunna, Kobe, Citgo
17 year old Chicago rappper Chief Keef has proven to be a disruptive force within the rap game. After achieving local success with no budget videos for songs like “3hunna” and “I Don’t Like” as well gaining the attention of Kanye West, who remixed “I Don’t Like” – giving Keef’s movement some much needed pop credibility. Keef certainly has a very raw sound both technically and in his approach. In this regard, it is no different from when most teens start rapping and adopt an “anything goes” mentality, however, where he differs is that he seems not to be interested in saying anything substantive but rather focuses on his delivery. Cue the phrase, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it”. And since this is music, it’s not necessarily a bad approach. And here’s why. If we look at artists like say James Brown, who didn’t really say anything substantive, but focused more on the delivery and the energy, Chief Keef is pretty much in that tradition. Okay, I’m not comparing Chief Keef to James Brown, Chief Keef is obviously of the Wake Flocka variety, except he hasn’t discovered strip clubs yet. Anyway can a fool like Chief Keef make a good album? Let’s find out.
1. Love Sosa (Produced by Young Chop)
A very Wu-Tang-esque intro begins with the infectious street anthem “Love Sosa”. What I enjoy about Chicago’s “drill music” which for the uninformed, repurposes Atlanta’s trap sound into an even grittier aesthetic. For the old heads, it’s pretty much Mobb Deep rapping over Lex Luger beats. Again Chief Keef doesn’t say anything life changing here or for that matter anything that makes sense, but it sure sounds catchy and the beats oh man they hit harder than an abusive pops.
2. Hallelujah (Produced by Young Chop)
Chief Keef takes the flow from YC’s “Racks” to create a trap version of anything the Big Tymers would have made. Keef reminds me a little bit of early 50 Cent except of course he doesn’t anything remotely witty. But again this beat is abusive.
3. I Don’t Like (Produced by Young Chop)
We’ve all heard the remix a million times by now so all I’m going to say is “Young Chop on the beat”.
4. No Tomorrow (Produced by Mill Will Made It)
The production so far has been hard and Keef continues with a Mike Will Made It backdrop to explain why he has to buy an audemar, because he has a daughter. I would kill to hear Meek Mill over this beat.
5. Hate Being Sober featuring 50 Cent and Wiz Khalifa (Produced by Young Chop)
This is the most pop friendly record on the album, and for some reason I can’t fully get into this as I would any song about alcohol abuse. Oh yeah, Wiz adds absolutely nothing to this song and I’m pretty sure Fifty has gone on record saying he doesn’t drink or smoke. So this just reeks of the label trying to manufacture a rap hit.
6. Kay, Kay (Produced by K.E. On the Track)
Chief Keef turns the autotune on trying to channel Future but comes of like YC with down syndrome. I’m not one of those guys that hates autotune, for some rappers it works, for Chief Keef c’mon son.
7. Laughin to the Bank (Produced by YGOnDaBeat)
Pretty much the most annoying thing you will all year.
8. Diamonds featuring French Montana (Produced by Young Chop)
Pretty much the hardest beat you’ll hear all year. You’ll actually find yourself looking forward to a French Montana verse.
9. Ballin’ (Produced by Leek-E-Leek)
I like the intro here and Keef’s flow is not bad for most of it but I can’t stand his out of key refrain “Balllinnnnnnn”. And I usually enjoy ignorant flows like that.
10. Understand Me featuring Young Jeezy (Produced by Casa Di)
Chief Keef and Young Jeezy are the last two people I want to take the time to understand and this song doesn’t help either.
11. 3Hunna featuring Rick Ross (Produced by Young Chop)
This is one of the songs that helped propel Chief Keef to stardom and since its been out for a while it gets updated with a mean verse from Rozay.
12. Finally Rich (Produced by Young Chop)
Keef’s abused YC’s flow throughout the album and for the last song decides to mine it for all it’s worth. Unfortunately this song falls completely flat and is a horrible way to close out an album that’s had some bangers.
13. Citgo (Produced by Young Ravisu)
I don’t usually rate bonus tracks, but I’ll make the exception here because this song is incredible on so many levels. This song is like tailored made for Pitckfork reviewers, because the mix is dripping with hipster engineer antics, the melodies are on some new age 80’s wave, and Keef’s flow is just effortless.
I surprisingly enjoyed this album and found myself naturally going back to certain songs, particularly the aforementioned “Citgo”. We all know Keef isn’t lyrical, he’s not going to hit you with the witty or even funny one liners like say a Lil Wayne or 2 Chainz. Listening to a Chief Keef album is similar to listening to a Future album, except Keef’s sense of melody is missing much of the same pop sensibilities. At the same time, this is Keef’s strength, by not making a pop rap album in the way that say Kanye makes a pop rap album, he’s actually made a pop rap album. I know it sounds crazy, but that’s pretty much how art is. While many doubt Keef’s rise, as I’m sure you are, because most die hard Keef fans will not have read this far, Keef seems to nicely fill the void 50 Cent left when he “tried” to make pop rap (and failed).