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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Album Review: Chief Keef - Finally Rich

Album Rating: F
The title of Chief Keef’s freshman album implies something pre-determined. It speaks volumes about the 17-year-old’s attitude; it’s not that he, a lower-class teenager from the South Side of Chicago is rich, it’s that he’s finally rich- that this was always going to happen and it taking 17 years required too much patience. It’s an unorthodox attitude to have: his frequent run-ins with the law, including time spent under house arrest for weapons possession while under contract with Interscope, give the impression that he’s a loose cannon whose time spent in the trap has twisted him- an impression which certainly isn’t helped by songs like “Hate Being Sober.” From the outside, he appears to be the exact type of kid you wouldn’t want to be associated with but the implication of the title is this was always going to happen.


Finally Rich shows off a kid who seems to have had everything come to him easily. The album’s opening line, “These bitches love Sosa,” is only the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps as a result of trying to conform to gangsta rap tropes, or maybe because all teenagers are fascinated by money and women, Finally Rich does little more than flaunt Chief Keef’s wealth, upbringing and stable of women. However, beyond that, there’s little substance. The entire album seems to be an act of posturing: Chief goes to great lengths trying to prove he has had no adversity to overcome and he’s flawless. It’s not exactly desirable to hear a cocky kid describe his assets for 45 minutes especially when there’s no impact of having these things. Chief Keef has a lot of money but apparently very few assets and one can only hear about stacks of money so many times before it starts getting stale.

However, lyrical substance rarely needs to be included in the discussion of an album like this. When considering an artist like Waka Flocka Flame, one is distracted by his energy and the beats to the point where the lyrics are inconsequential. Finally Rich should be one which indulges the listener with the many pleasures of Chief Keef’s life while providing them with cheap entertainment. The result is the opposite of the intent: the prevalent repetition grinds to the point where even some of the best songs- “Love Sosa,” “Kay Kay”- are rendered nearly unlistenable and the worst of the lot aren’t even worth listening to all the way through. The distractions keeping Flocka relevant are nowhere to be found on Finally Rich. The beats are dominated by aggressive snare rolls and claps, all blending together with the exception of the scattered “bang bangs” or other catchphrases egregiously dropped in the background. The imitation Lex Lugers who produced clearly misplaced their cymbal kits and 808’s because both elements- trademarks of the trap beat- are noticeably absent. Chief Keef himself sounds as if he has gravel stuffed in his cheeks and he just swallowed a bottle of Nyquil. His marblemouthed flow is partly to blame for the quality of the beats- it seems Chief can’t rap fast enough to handle an up-tempo beat.

Finally Rich is routine in every way. The homogeneous soundscapes run together to create the impression that the album is one long song and Chief Keef’s one-note rapping and lack of inflection certainly doesn’t help to break the monotony. Even the guest appearances are drab- Young Jeezy sounds bored to be one such a lazy beat, French Montana is barely noticeable and Rick Ross fails to excite on “3hunna.” The hooks are often longer than Chief’s useless verses and rarely even verge on catchy. Overall, Finally Rich sounds like a ‘Bricksquad from the suburbs’ style parody that a couple friends could throw together over the weekend. It’s an album obviously made by a spoiled teenager, which ultimately proves to be the only pre-determined quality of the album. Chief Keef may believe he deserves to be rich, but the album shows he also doesn’t feel he needs to work to earn his keep. 

Tracklist:

1. Love Sosa
2. Hallelujah
3. I Don't Like
4. No Tomorrow
5. Hate Being Sober
6. Kay Kay
7. Laughin to the Bank
8. Diamonds
9. Ballin'
10. Understand Me
11. 3Hunna
12. Finally Rich

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