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Chief Keef: Baller Of Confusion

"On Tuesday, a 17-year-old South Side rapper born Keith Cozart but better known as Chief Keef [released] Finally Rich, his major-label debut for the morally vacuous Interscope Records," Jim DeRogatis writes on his WBEZ bog, Pop N Stuff.

"The album is a bleak, nihilistic celebration of street violence, gang culture, drug use, disrespect for women and the worship of the almighty dollar above all humanistic conscience, arriving as Chicago nears the end of a year that's seen an epidemic of violent killings in African-American neighborhoods every bit as tragic - and preventable, if the political will was present - as those in Newtown, Conn."

DeRogatis gives the record 0 stars.

"Chief Keef is a thick-tongued, mush-mouthed rapper with little grace and stilted flow who stumbles through generic, unimaginative, frequently plodding and numbingly repetitive backing tracks bragging with little imagination and forced conviction about his bad-ass self and utter disregard for anyone else in the universe."

Pitchfork, on the other hand, and as DeRogatis notes, gives Finally Rich a healthy 7.5 stars.

"There's an unquantifiable line separating the maddeningly catchy from the simply maddening, and Keef has a natural knack for walking it," Jayson Greene writes.

Randall Roberts of the Los Angeles Times also likes the record a lot more than DeRogatis, writing that "the 17-year-old Chicago thug offers infectious odes to nihilism and tirades against haters that are as simple-minded and catchy as they are brutal. Musically, however, the album shimmers with power, which makes the dozen songs feel even more dangerous."

And yet, AP's Jonathan Landrum Jr. writes that "Rapper Chief Keef made major noise with his omnipresent song, 'I Don't Like,' but those three words also describe my thoughts on his major label debut."

Has critical reaction ever been so all over the board?

Maybe Leor Gaiil of the Reader sums it up best: "Chief Keef's Finally Rich is good, bad, and mostly OK."

But really? More than anything, the critics seem confused.

Paste: "Sadly, Finally Rich largely falls flat: Keef's persona feels genuine, but his sentiments feel hollow, his flow robotic and stale."

Consequence of Sound: "[Keef has] an implacable knack for hooks so catchy they'll be lodged in your head before they come around the second time. The moral? Keef's rapid ascent is not only unsurprising, it's justified, too . . . But ultimately, Finally Rich exposes the limits of Keef's chosen lane and, worse, doesn't point toward a more optimal route."

Greg Kot, Tribune: "Finally Rich sounds of a piece with Keef's sparse, menacing mix tapes . . . But Keef is a remote presence on his major-label debut."

The Versed: "In fact, there are a handful of tracks here where Keef completely destroys the solid production behind him. In all honesty, you could probably give him 5 spots on a '10 worst songs of 2012 list' and be completely justified. 'Laughin' To The Bank' might be the worst song that's ever seen a major label release, regardless of genre, and that's no exaggeration."

I dunno, I've heard worse. Maybe it's just the truest song that's ever seen a major label release.

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See also: David Drake's informative and insightful "Hail To The Chief."

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Previously:
* South Side 16-Year-Old Gets Shot, Blows Up

* Rhymefest vs. Chief Keef

* Chief Keef's Deadly Rap War

* More Sh!t Chief Keef Don't Like

* Chief Keef Loves Soda, Ain't White

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on December 19, 2012


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