The energy of Chief Keef, and the whole Drill movement out of Chicago, has grown to palpable levels since “I don’t like” and its popular remix released, absorbing the rap community in furious and polarized debate about the youth, violence and rap culture. That energy culminates in Keef’s major label debut "Finally Rich," but does the music itself reflect the scope of Keef’s talent?
Probably not as Finally Rich falls short of the hype surrounding it.
Finally Rich certainly does have an allure to it. Keefâs undeniable talent for catchy hooks and his ability to transmute energy to sound is appealing. Plain and simple. However, this appeal is primal, subliminal. Much like reality TV and street fights, Finally Rich is filled with culturally âlow-browâ content that is nonetheless entertaining. Cut to six or seven records and the album could pass as a guilty pleasure.
At 12 tracks however, the explicit technical shortcomings of Finally Rich vastly outweigh its implicit merits.
The album is plagued by repetitive beats and lyrics, gurgled auto-tune and generally uninspired, even lazy execution. Virtually every song on the album exemplifies this, but none to the effect of âLaughing to the Bank.â The song has a distinct amateur feel to it and Keefâs deadpan âha ha haâ repeats throughout the record, infiltrating bars and permeating ad libs. This unceremonious weaving of chorus, lyrics and ad libs also persists throughout the album. That repetition coupled with the album's nearly identical beats births and promotes a singular flow thatâs sometimes effective, but wholly one-dimensional.
Another issue is the content in Keefâs lyrics. Though vice and violence is part and parcel of rap culture they are usually instruments in the records, more narrative than anything. The rhetoric throughout Finally Rich is sadly reflective of Chicagoâs chaotic environment, but simultaneously enforces it. Therein lies much of the debate behind Chief Keef, but that's another discussion.
Still, like a crumpled bill in the grass, rare moments of sincerity and struggle do surface and distract from the albumâs failings.
Keef raps âAll I know is go hard/because I got a daughterâ on âNo Tomorrowâ and even named one of the album cuts after his child (âKay Kayâ). The opening monologue of âBallinââ tells of Keefâs determination to become what he is and how he avoided even his kid sisterâs forecasts of his future, hinting at the complex psychology behind the rapper. Honestly, had Keef explored these themes more directly his technique would be more of a distraction than a glaring deficiency.
Regardless, if the rant preceding âLove Sosaâ is any indication, Finally RichÂ doesn't need to be a technical marvel to leave a clear imprint on this yearâs catalogue of rap music.
Chief Keef has some of the most loyal and supportive fans in the game. Those fans will thoroughly enjoy this album. Where the music is concerned however, hopefully Chief Keefâs next project is more sincere and ambitious.