By Paul Attard
The Tower (Grosse Pointe, Michigan)
Things haven’t been looking good for Chicago MC Chief Keef. After releasing a slew of mediocre mixtapes, being evicted from his apartment and being dropped from his label, many wonder what will happen next to Keef.
Real name Keith Cozart, Keef has never been one to stick to a traditional music career path. At 16 he released the drill single “I Don’t Like,” claimed his newest mixtape would triple the murder rate in Chicago (or referred to by Keef as “Chiraq,) and even got featured on a remix with Kanye West. With his newest outing with DP Beats, Keef brings more surprises to the table, continuing his savage sound while moving into a new frontier of trap melodies.
The mixtape, consisting of 18 tracks, some new, some already released, like the free-flowing “Fool Ya,” is a departure from the work of such other Keef releases as “Bang,” “Bang 2,” and – keep with me here- “Bang 4” (Keef claims since he’s living in the future, he released part four in the series before three). What’s presented here is far more technical in its presentation, with a new producer to steer Keef in the right direction.
DP Beats has been hanging around the rap scene for about a couple years, but here he’s able to show off his production beautifully with Keef’s sleek flow. On “Doin’ It,” Keef croons his way through an emotional breakup, mixing his rapping abilities with a natural talent for singing. DP Beats’ production makes this song as memorable as it is, transforming a regular Keef banger into a new concoction.
Lyrically, nothing here is different than other Keef fare. Whenever he says “bang” you know he will follow up immediately by saying “gang.” But there’s something nerve-racking about the delivery of these simple words.
On the track “Sleepy,” the basic rhythm pattern involves Keef talking about how sleepy he is since he’s had too much codeine. While it sounds like little happens in the song, Keef makes every moment on the two-minute song count, deepening his voice and snarling his words. When he says he’s sleepy, you believe every word in fear and astonishment.
Take another song, “ASAP Rocky,” for instance, as Keef comically takes random words and molds them to rhyme with the word “rocky,” turning “stop” into “stoppy” and “guap” into “guapy.” With any other MC, this would be career suicide, but Sosa (nickname to Keef) has a real quality when it comes to turning crap into gold. He angrily barks every one of these terrible rhymes and soon you’re no longer laughing at Keef. You’re downright scared you even giggled in the first place.
DP Beats should be given full credit for how well the tape flows, throwing away the basic garbage sounds beats that have plagued Keef’s music of late. Gone are the generic, one-note bangers of yesteryear and in are more contextualized, rhythmic slurs of genius. For drill music, DP Beats may be the Mozart of his field, making songs such as “Wet” and “Doin’ It” real standouts.
My advice to newcomers, though, is try listening to Keef’s first (and so far only) album “Finally Rich.” This new radical sound of Keef’s could sound a bit jarring to some, but those willing to take the dive will not be disappointed.
Photo Credit: The Tower