Artist: Chief Keef
Album: Finally Rich
Genre: Hip Hop/Rap
It is safe to say many people in music had relatively big 2012s, but few artists ascended to the spotlight like Chief Keef. It’s unclear whether or not anyone could have guessed his breakout single, the unstoppable “I Don’t Like,” would take hold of urban music with the stranglehold it managed to maintain throughout most of the year, but it happened nonetheless, and everything that has followed has been one surprise after another. Sometimes he has delivered gold, other times he’s released garbage not worthy of high school mixture circuits, but the attention accrued from that one single was enough to earn a record deal and this week the world will finally learn whether or not the Chicago native has the chops for the big leagues.
Finally Rich boasts twelve tracks (sixteen if you spring for the deluxe edition), nearly half with features from some of the industry’s biggest names, and production from many of the genre’s current mixture favorites. Even though I have feverishly followed Keef’s rise throughout the year, I approached this release knowing that there was probably nothing released prior that could fully prepare me for for what would follow. The notable singles, such as “Love Sosa” and the infectious “Hate Bein Sober” rattled my headphones and speakers like no other, and came complete with hooks that could work for radio play, but in between those tracks were countless freestyles, guest verses, b-sides, and throwaways that focused heavily on vocoder effects and featured next-to-none of the aforementioned highlights. Finally Rich is, for the most part, packed with street-ready tracks that will likely be making rounds on the freestyle circuit for months. Unfortunately, there is another side of the record that caters to the above mentioned love of vocoder that may push you to give up music for a day or two. It’s a war on your ears, and only you will know if it’s something you can handle.
If I’m being completely honest, Finally Rich might as well have been a mixtape.
As someone who has a self-professed addiction to the world of ignorant music that Keef caters to, I found Finally Rich to be only slightly above average. While it’s clear Chief Keef could do some evolutionary things in hip hop, there has been a change in his demeanor and flow since entering the spotlight that weighs down the album with needless ego and empty verses. Strong production does help keep things moving, thanks largely to Young Chop who is the true star of the album, but no amount of bass and snare can save a rambling teen with too much money and nothing of value to say.
If you need something to keep your speakers rattling into the new year and care very little about lyrical content and depth, pick up Finally Rich. If that does not sound like you, I suggest finding a stream to preview, but know choosing to skip this release will likely not impact your social standing whatsoever. Unless he strikes gold with a mixture in 2013, I wouldn’t be surprised if Keef’s popularity has faded into the history books before another Christmas comes to pass.
Review written by: James Shotwell (Twitter)