Chief Keef thread

CrowleyHead

Well-known member
Early standout for me:

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The same way Luka used to compare the C-Sick beat on King Louie's "Bars" to Eski-era Wiley, this reminds me so much of Ruff Sqwad in the buzzing synth surges.

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The little constant 'howl' Keef does here of just groaning out "Truuuuuu" over the record repeatedly like a siren

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Aquatics. The autotune and reverb are in that plasmatic space between solid and liquid like jelly, you've got the filters heavy on the beat's intro conveying that 'underwater' feel only to breach and surface into this lurching coastal feel. This is what I constantly expect Drexciya to be from verbal descriptions.

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An example of father/son dynamics with Carti returning Keef's post-Atlanta stylings down back into Atlanta but with Keef's returning that into his less effervescent and more writerly sense. Just his approach melodically to saying "I went and bought some flash-bangs" (itself a particular whim to weaponry you don't hear in rappers) is considered and well constructed in the way Carti only occasionally hits at.

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Again Keef's comprehension of Futuristic Atlanta, but literally grinding it into something codified and nasty. I once showed an ex partner a Keef video and she openly laughed saying "This guy, he looks like he should be on Saved By The Bell" and she was right. He has a perfect 'Teen Star' energy and likewise understands juvenalia on another level by taking the bratty prepubescent energies and making them turn into a bullyish form that's powerfully inviting but inherently crass.

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Early Keef, might be... 15, 16? Already pretty clever for a punchliner ("We smoke kush, I'm taking breaths./If a opp in my lane, I'm taking breaths.") but also just a weird imagination ("bullets fly like maggots").

I have way too many to offer rn so I'm going to try to pace myself and let other people go at it.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
I was thinking of ruff squad too. Definitely some family resemblance there
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
I like that heavy introspection, solipsism. Strange inner landscapes. Moonscapes. Turned inwards. I like that disassociation.
 

CrowleyHead

Well-known member
We don't have to tear down Thug to appraise Keef, I like Thug a lot but the problem isn't for a lack of good ideas (he had many in a short period of time) but the problem was he was impossibly stupid in letting himself be represented well in documentation and also the environment of Atlanta. Keef started as an exemplary of a scene that didn't have the opportunity to be so burdened by musical hegemony like Atlanta's been. Keef is a fundamentally smarter person than Thug because he learned fairly quickly how to obtain independent revenue from the music industry AND get the benefits of constantly avoiding exploitation the way Thug is just incapable of doing.

Mark my words, if Keef and Thug switched homes, their career arcs would've likely switched as well.

Anyway, I'll have more Keef choices in a little bit, but I just wanted to prevent the same polemic that emerges with me and Barty doing the Atlanta discourses.
 

CrowleyHead

Well-known member
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Self-Produced by Keef and a real inversion of the Back From The Dead 2 sound which felt like MAXIMUM GRAVITY. A constant sense of density and bone breaking pressure creating some alien life. This on the other hand goes the opposite. The beat suggests a different life where Keith Cozart is an American Ryuichi Sakamoto.

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Early cult hit. I remember a video of Fat Trel and The Slutty Boyz hanging out and one member of the crew drove up with this song playing and he and Trel started reciting the song to each other as soon as they saw each other. The beat itself has an incredibly 'techno' vibe with the synthwork, but likewise Keef here feels particularly plugged in.

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Remember when the first album snippets a lot of friends instantly keyed in on "Citgo" whereas I was confounded by this one. Just tyrannical sounding and already just playing with nonsensical syllables, moving away from obvious melodies. A progenitor of his BFTD2 sound in so many ways whereas "Citgo" pointed to things he'd do immediately after.

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Similar vibes of dread and being sludgy and trenchant. Produced by TM88 from 808 Mafia who similarly mined this sort of 'car stalling in the mud' vibe on Future's "DNA" to great effect. Here though it's a lot more literary and you can see the jump from teenager Keef to 'adult' Keef. Just incredibly bizarre wordplay, v. post-Gucci but incredibly self-reflexive and narcissistic in a way Gucci just isn't when he's at his best. Compare and contrast it to Gucci's "Follow Me" where Obama tells him to get in line while here Keef's pretending he's being scoffed at by Obama for boasting he'll take care of the President. You'd never say Chief Keef is self-aware all the time but, how can he not be to make his own ego the punchline like that?

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Escaping the first person. Verses from the perspective of his admirers, his haters, etc. Early example of the insularity that luka and Third refer to. Also such a bizarre abuse of autotune that breaks it and abuses it to his purposes.

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"I'm so fucking high boy, I'm where Jesus be./Shoot a N***A ass if he don't believe in me." Opening sentence to a verse and it already establishes his sense of self as being jihadi-like. Incredible.

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Easily a birth of the in-and-out chorus-verse-chorus and done approach of modern rap. Moroder-like synths ooze in with opulence, everything's down to an absolute crawl and Keef himself a gargle of pghlem from the coughed intro and solidified by the artificial effects. Languid like you wouldn't believe. "A N***A try to rob me, he'll be Brains Blown Shawty", such a bizarre sentence, hasn't ever left me since hearing it.
 

thirdform

Well-known member
We don't have to tear down Thug to appraise Keef, I like Thug a lot but the problem isn't for a lack of good ideas (he had many in a short period of time) but the problem was he was impossibly stupid in letting himself be represented well in documentation and also the environment of Atlanta. Keef started as an exemplary of a scene that didn't have the opportunity to be so burdened by musical hegemony like Atlanta's been. Keef is a fundamentally smarter person than Thug because he learned fairly quickly how to obtain independent revenue from the music industry AND get the benefits of constantly avoiding exploitation the way Thug is just incapable of doing.

Mark my words, if Keef and Thug switched homes, their career arcs would've likely switched as well.

Anyway, I'll have more Keef choices in a little bit, but I just wanted to prevent the same polemic that emerges with me and Barty doing the Atlanta discourses.
nah i wasn't intending to tear him down i think though after jeffery he just just lost it. i also think keef's productions are way better, some of them are basically better than a lot of afx in the 2010s.
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
Best thread ever. I love Keef but do feel confused by the dizzying discography. A couple of faves:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1b5_vPO9CE

Dense, dizzying production with a crazy synth line and the reworking of spelling out motif in the lyrics is insanely catchy and listenable. Kinda makes me feel drunk trying to follow everyting that's happening in this one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14ijcvqWR8A

Keef's watch is animate, and orders pizza for itself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fp5RwtLMQ3Y

Quite atypical for Keef, simple lyric and easy to follow, sticking to the same idea throughout but that imagination creeps in with lines about a handmade roof.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YW_rDr6viRU

My fave track from BITD3 - so totally bent and lazy on the production front. I like how downtempo and leaned out this is.
 

mistersloane

heavy heavy monster sound
2018 / 2019 Keef has been intermittently really hot, good thread though cos no-one got the time to listen to everything he's put out, what was it, 4 mixtapes last year? Crazy.

This, like it's title, is Awesome. Xtra points for the Moncler jacket and the beat is total Terry Riley, just eternal.

https://youtu.be/7w6X_B9nVPg
 

mistersloane

heavy heavy monster sound
Reese's "Let's Do A Drill" is REALLY Ruff Sqwad as well, the chorus melody might as well have been nicked from them. It's DJ Kenn as well, who is one of the weirder stories of that whole troop, Japanese guy who just turned up in rough as all hell Chicago and ends up staying with Keef's father or something and getting involved with them, producing. There's some Reddits on him.

https://youtu.be/9wDUwSB224Y
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
I wanted to write something about Keef and black psychedelia as I think this is some of the most drugged out music I've ever heard, but I'm struggling, help me out here. It strikes me that "classical" psychedelia has that transcendence and mysticism mapped into that I don't hear in Keef. Maybe psychedelia is an indulgence for white people only, idk. Any thoughts?
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Bartys really been pushing the idea of the last few years of rap as having been profoundly psychedelic. We've had at least two threads. Atlanta ones, so excluding Keef but he's the person to talk to
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
But this is partly about the substances involved isn't it? If you listen to pep love for instance who was operating more or less in the mid 90s hiphop mainstream and taking magic mushrooms you have all the mysticism and transcendence you could ask for. Lean and high thc cannabis and xans and whatever is a very very different proposition.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Hendrix, George Clinton, both Coltranes, Pharoah Sanders.... these are all psychedelias... it's perhaps notable though that dance only develops a classically psychedelic side at its most debased and white in trance and related movements
 
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