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Inexplicably (imo) three of Keef’s worst songs are among his most popular. “Ballin,” which just got a video, is esp. grating to me. “Russian Roulette” was an inferior remake of a better Trel song. And “Understand Me” — although it has grown on me purely from overexposure—also feels a bit underdone, minus the “rob him for his stacks if he the son of sam / who gives a fuck we dont care bout nothin fam” part. The last of those I hear almost constantly in passing cars, definitely more than “Don’t Like,” at least since August began.
He’s an artist who keeps being compared to Waka but lately his stuff has also incorporated a fair amount of autotune; the drill sound in general, between him, Louie & Durk, is like the melodicism of Future melded to the aggression of Luger/Waka & Keef’s own deliberate phrasing (cf. this track which seems to be aiming for a midpt of all that but also is too heavy w/ guns for me to feel comfortable drawing much attention to at this time). But the other thing that is rarely mentioned when talking about Keef’s sound is the ‘Meek Mill appeal’; the level of identification w/ him and what he represents seems pretty central to why folks are so drawn to his stuff, which helps explain why even the music I find less than compelling still achieves popular acclaim; everything is connected to Who He Is now.
Here are three Keef songs that have mostly only linked as snippets that I think are better than the previous three:
“KayKay” I already posted this snippet, seems like the full song might humanize him for ppl in a big way
“Love Sosa” DGainz drew my attention to this, notable for reuniting Keef & Chop (ps: what happened to “Rollin”?)
“Louie, Gucci” (with Johnny Maycash)
Conversing w/ DGainz has been interesting; in the wake of some of the violence on the South Side, Gainz has been working w/ West Side artists like M.I.C. (whose “Same Shit Different Day” has become one of my favorite songs this year, and whose “K-Town Playground” is promising as well) b/c of the relative lull in violence in that area. In our discussions, we also talked a bit about the seeming creative lull in the last two or so months in Chicago rap. Keef’s success has driven a lot of artists to record, it’s true; I suggested that maybe they were all trying to sound too much like Keef, and Gaines mentioned that even when artists didn’t, there was a sense that many might be ‘forcing it,’ in a quest for similar success. The loose creativity that initially sparked the scene has gotten, perhaps, a bit more cynical.