Chief Keef – Finally Rich (Album Review)
17 year old Englewood, Chicago native Chief Keef‘s debut album Finally Rich is ready to drop on December 18th and this past week I was fortunate enough to give it a few thorough listens. Before even clicking play I knew there were a lot of things special about this project. I can’t remember the last time an artist this young blew up in such a short amount of time, having his “I Don’t Like” single remixed by Kanye West (and just about everyone else), and managing to deliver another hit in “Love Sosa” which is slated to appear in the upcoming Rockstar video game Grand Theft Auto V .
It hasn’t all been glorious for the Glory Boyz Entertainment repping teenage star this year however. Chief Keef is set to appear in court today for breaking his probation during an ill advised interview with Pitchfork where they took the TEENAGER to a gun range. They have since retracted the interview. He is also being investigated for the murder of up-and-coming Chicago rapper JoJo. This article is however about his music so we will have to wait and see how all of that plays out in court.
Even though the kid has two hit singles and a handful of other popular tracks, a lot of people seem to doubt the talent of this young artist using examples like his basic rhyme scheme to support their points. Not all music needs to be intellectual or deep to be enjoyable, Chief Keef has incredible song writing talent and this album has more catchy melodies than I can count.
The project features artists that most teenagers would have a star studded meltdown in front of if they were in the same room as them, with the likes of 50 Cent, Wiz Khalifa, Rick Ross, French Montana & Young Jeezy. Having all of that support and attention on a debut album you are expected to deliver BIG. Find out if Chief Keef was able to come through for GBE, Chicago and Interscope Records or if his debut album was flop. No pressure for the kid who calls himself Sosa. Much like his music and personality, this article is likely to cause a lot of arguments.
Check out my song by song review below.
Finally Rich kicks off with audio from the infamous video of a 16 year old kid going off on Chief Keef haters that surfaced this summer as the beat builds into “Love Sosa” the Drake co-signed hit that explains how the ladies like to “do it all” for Sosa. He’s not lying either. I’ve seen women of all ages get down to this song. Produced by frequent collaborator Young Chop who has also made quite the name for himself this year taking his momentum from success with GBE and producing songs for Gucci Mane, Pusha T, Big Sean, Kid Ink, French Montana & Birdman.
The second song on the album is the smooth sounding “Hallelujah” which is also produced by Young Chop. Completely new to me I was blown away by the chorus the first time I heard this one. Although I wouldn’t consider it a standout from the project it definitely does not hinder the overall quality of the release. I do however think it might have hit harder if it was placed a little later in the tracklist.
Following up is another familiar song “I Don’t Like” featuring Lil Reese. This is hands down the most popular record in Keef’s catalog although he doesn’t credit Kanye West‘s remix for it’s success. I don’t necessarily agree with that sentiment as I feel you are more likely to hear the Kanye version in the club, but a little confidence never hurt. The third consecutive Young Chop produced track’s video has over 20,000,000 views on Youtube.
Next up is “No Tomorrow” produced by my pick for Producer Of The Year Mike Will Made It. I’d be lying if I said I don’t jump out of my seat and start dancing just about every time this cut comes on. Although it was obvious to me at this point into the CD Keef would be relying heavily on his choruses cover to cover, I was okay with it since he had nailed all of them so far.
“Hate Bein’ Sober” featuring Wiz Khalifa and 50 Cent was the most highly anticipated track to appear on Finally Rich. You’d think that would be enough motivation for a young kid to show up to his own video shoot featuring two industry heavyweights but the Chief did exactly the opposite of that. There is no word on if the video for this song will ever come out, but 50 made the most of his time on set and shot his own video for “United Nations“. The song itself delivers big time and although a clean version probably wouldn’t do well on the radio, it will still see some success as a single. The only question is, why is 50 Cent on a song about substance abuse with a minor? He’s twice his age and doesn’t even get down like that.
“Kay Kay” is the most laid back offering on the project. Produced by K.E. On The Track this auto-tune heavy song might not be for everyone but it does chop up the first half of the album very nicely. Not every song can blow the roof of your car. “Kay Kay” has a ton of replay value.
“Laughin’ To The Bank” is by far the most repetitive song on the album. The “Ha Ha Ha” sample that plays for the duration of the track is likely to get under a ton of people’s skin. At the same time the basic rhyme scheme that’s prevalent is likely to have the lyrics stuck in your head for days. Not likely to have much commercial success on it’s own, the album probably could have done without this track.
French Montana assists Chief Keef on the next cut titled “Diamonds“. From the sounds of the instrumental on this record it seems like Young Chop was keeping this one in the vault specifically for French. It is tailored to his style perfectly and I would be shocked if they didn’t decide to produce a video for this track. One of the best verses from French all year will have you banging your head, unfortunately he doesn’t go in for very long. I really want to hear these two artists collaborate more.
“Ballin” is a Leek-e-leek banger and my favorite song from the album. At the beginning of the track Chief Keef briefly speaks about his sister and how she thought she would find success as a lawyer far before he would as a rapper. This is one of the few moments on Finally Rich where he lets down his guard and shows his immaturity, but does so in a very endearing way. “Ballin” has one of the catchiest choruses I have ever heard and the lighthearted record is likely to get a ton of spins.
The Young Jeezy assisted track “Understand Me” has been out for quite a while but remains one of the best offerings from this project. Another quality chorus by Keef multiplied by an excellent feature from Jeezy, these two seem to have a ton of synergy together. This quality collaboration epitomizes the vibe of Finally Rich.
“3 Hunna” which originally featured Soulja Boy is the next song up. Fortunately the man named as USA’s worst musician of all time was removed for MMG capo Rick Ross. I’m not known for being the biggest fan of Rozay but on this effort he’s a lifesaver. A song I consider bland in comparison to the rest is brought up by his verse. Produced by you guessed it, Young Chop.
The self-titled track to Finally Rich closes out the standard edition of the album leaving over half the songs produced by Young Chop. Although I would have liked to see the production vary a little more, Chop handles his duties and provides a wide array of beats. Certainly no standout, this song serves it’s purpose of winding the album down.
“Citgo” the first bonus track seems a bit like filler to me. It follows up the outro with the same mellow vibe and doesn’t add a single new element to the project. This track would have been best left on the B side.
The second bonus track is inspired by my favorite basketball player, LA Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant. This song has NBA2K14 written all over it, and if the Lakers can pull their act together it might even be their “Black & Yellow” for the playoffs. A video for “Kobe” has already been released and you can check it out below. Directed by Hi-Def.
“Got Them Bands” is the last of the iTunes bonus tracks. Produced by Y.G. On Da Beat this is the most remixable song from the project. Although its almost as repetitive as “Laughin’ To The Bank” the beat is a little more audibly pleasing and the chorus is far less annoying. Let’s hope for a Juicy J featured remix.
Last but not least we have “Don’t Make No Sense” featuring Master P & Fat Trel. A video surfaced a while back of the three creating the track which will also appear on Master P‘s upcoming Al Capone mixtape. Not to be slept on but you will also be able to cop it for free when Master P‘s mixtape comes out.
All in all a solid effort from someone who a lot of people are doubting. At the time of writing this article I’ve already been asked what I rate the album and although I originally wanted to make it 10/10 I’ve been talked off that ledge by some more reasonable critics. Perhaps Finally Rich isn’t PERFECT, but I think it’s far better than a lot of people give it credit for. One sour note is the lack of support from GBE with the exception of Young Chop. Chief Keef‘s cousin Fredo Santana is referenced multiple times throughout but does not make an appearance on the project and Lil Reese is featured only on a song everyone already knew about. Rising Chicago artists Lil Durk and King L surprisingly don’t make appearances either. I’m sure all of the parties mentioned would have gladly helped out had the decisions been left to Keef but it seems like Interscope wanted to play it safe on his debut. That however is more of a criticism of the label than the artist.
Complex had it right when they said “It’s one of the most important and least understood records you’re likely to hear this year.” As far as trap music goes I don’t know what more you could expect from Finally Rich. A ton of hits with only a few misses, and even the misses have appeal in certain markets. This album will without a doubt exceed your expectations.
Timeless Tracks: Kobe, Understand Me, Hate Bein’ Sober, Ballin’
Pros: Solid features, especially for a 17 year old. Comparable to Flockaveli. Very melodic and catchy. Lots of replay value.
Cons: A lack of variety in production and an over-reliance on choruses. A lack of GBE.