But now he's out, he's repentent, and he's ready to work (more on that later). For many of you, this is cause for celebration. Here are five quick reasons why:
1. Keef is a kid.
Keef started rapping when he was 12. His mixtapes, recorded in his grandmother's Washington Park house, were passed between Chicago high schoolers. He recorded YouTube videos in his grandmom's house too, and his clips for “Bang”, “3Hunna” and “I Don't Like” soon went viral online—”I Don't Like” especially, which was also a huge hit on Chicago radio in 2012.
Today, Keef walks out of jail 17 years old, with two mixtapes, one full album, and tons of rap cred under his belt. That's unreal. Earl Sweatshirt is 19, for Christ's sake.
2. He didn't care about the big boys.
There's this line in the Kanye West remix to Keef's “I Don't Like” where Yeezy ends his verse with “Chief Keef, King Louie, this is Chi, right? Right?”
To me, at least, every time I hear it, the line sounds almost desperate—a multi-millionare, leather-skilted rapper trying to find some street cred by asking the most street cred-y rapper in Chicago, “This is cool, right? Right? Because honestly, I don't know anymore.” Keef doesn't give him any validation.
In fact, Keef and his producer have made it clear they weren't pleased with the remix. “How the fuck did they add another melody over the instrumental?” producer Young Chop asked. “I made a fucking sound, so you supposed to stay with my fucking sound. The beat is fucking hard by itself…. I will sue the shit out of Kanye West.”
3. His debut album kicks ass.
Do you like rap that sounds a little dangerous? That's grimy and hits really fucking hard? How about this: Do you find yourself agreeing with this comedian's assertation that rap has gotten pussified since Tupac?
Then you'll like “Finally Rich.”
4. One more point about that album.
You should know that all the songs sound similar. The lyrics are rooted in typical rap braggadocio, there's much talk about guns and gangs, and the beats sometimes feel swiped straight from a second-tier MMG release. But it somehow works, thanks to an aggressive style that never lets up. (Pitchfork described it this way: “If Waka Flocka Flame woke up tomorrow utterly drained of the will to live, he might sound like Chief Keef.”)
5. He's set for a huge year
The Chicago Tribune's account of Keef's release today features two really interesting tidbits.
1.) The 17-year-old walked out of juvie this afternoon wearing a red, diamond-studded coat. I mean, naturally.
2.) He wrote during the 60 days. “About two dozen family members and supporters greeted him on his exit, handing him his baby. An uncle carried a garbage bag full of notebooks – possible rap lyrics Chief Keef had written while locked up.”
60 days away from any distractions, dedicated to writing lyrics? This could be a banner year in rap.