Chief Keef - "Bang 3" Aug 6, 2015 22:55:21 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Aug 6, 2015 22:55:21 GMT -5
Bang 3, Pt. 1 (2015)
By: Chief Keef
By: Chief Keef
After not really knowing what they got themselves into, and not knowing what to do with him, Interscope released Chicago's homegrown bad-boy Chief Keef, leaving his future and the release of his third album (technically following Nobody late last year) Bang 3 uncertain. Nonetheless, after being largely quiet last year, Keef continued to crank out various projects (of varying quality) into 2015, including the Lil Wayne-inspired mixtape Sorry 4 The Weight and the DP Beats-collaboration Almighty DP all while Bang 3 sat in purgatory. Keef, known for his untrustworthy buzz around when his mixtapes will be released and what songs they'll include, had few words for his fans pleading for his long-awaited project, and most assumed that the rights were tied up with Interscope and the album would've never seen the light of day.
It looked that way until Keef announced a deal with Greek billionaire Alki David and his website FilmonTV earlier this summer, announcing the new deal with a music video for Keef's newest track "Ain't Missing You." The song was the most soulful and lyrically potent Keef had been in years, and reflected on the life and legacy his late cousin Mario "Blood Money" Hess led until he was gunned down in Englewood last April. With Jenn Em's poppy, exuberant vocals guiding the chorus and Keef's fixation on emotions, the song is a powerful ballad (and takes on a new layer of poignancy with Keef's long time prodigy Capo suffering the same fate earlier this past July).
It's a nice inclusion on Bang 3 which, despite notable imperfections and shortcomings, is the best thing Keef has released since his debut album Finally Rich. Criticize its commercial roots if you must, but this is the most tolerable Keef product in years, unburdened by the muddy sounds of auto-tune, incoherent and downright stupid lyrics (not as burdened, at least), and redundant mixing and production values that make each track sound like they're bleeding together. This release shows Keef's consistent capability to surprise whilst affirming his own Glo Gang Productions' producing talents.
Keef opens the album on a strong note with "Laurel Canyon," boasting a dark, nihilistic sound that recalls the early days of "I Don't Like" and "Love Sosa." It's a startling opening after hearing the kind of slurry cloud rap and auto-tune saturated tracks Keef released of recent, but with that, it gets Bang 3 off to a good note. He follows it up with "Cappin'," where his style and flow mirror his more recent work. "This for Blood and Cap," Keef screeches throughout the track in a way that becomes grating quickly, no matter what kind of personal aggression he's getting out. Keef's flow here is dead on arrival, and his tribute to his fallen cousin and labelmate lacks the soulfulness "Ain't Missing You" brings in a package that's easier to listen to and enjoy. It also proves that Keef may be the rapper with the worst metaphors; "Boy, I got that Pizza Hut, Giordano's which one you want?" What?
"Unstoppable" takes a while to build, but in the middle on the chorus, Keef finds his way and carries it throughout the entire track to make a winner out of what could've been another forgettable misfire. Furthermore, the heavily hyped "Superheroes," featuring A$AP Rocky, a song that has gone on to be a much-anticipated tune for Keef fans, is nothing but a letdown, with Keef's lackluster flow ruining the song, especially when he lazily namedrops a plethora of superheroes as if he's a toddler with a newfound interest. Rocky comes in to save the day with a marginally acceptable flow, but by then, this concept wears thin and Keef takes over, once again, to no avail.
The remainder of Bang 3 finds itself at least functioning on a realm of a coherent album or one that can be enjoyed without being justified, unlike many of Keef's other releases. "New School" has him bouncing to the beat and delivering one of the most infectious songs he's released in months. Once again, "Ain't Missing You" is a terrific and heartfelt tribute to Keef's mentor, cousin, and labelmate, "Yes" fails to deliver thanks to its repetitive, almost effortless nature, and "Go Harder" and "Greenlight," while middling in the lyrical department, deliver some goods in terms of showing how far Keef and his Glo Gang Productions' company have come in terms of creating synth-heavy, ominous trap beats.
After the long wait, numerous release dates that never came to fruition, about twelve different tracklists, each one proposing different songs, and another fifteen album covers later, it's hard not to feel some disappointment with Keef's Bang 3. Most of the songs on this album probably weren't even conceptualized at the time of the album's original Christmas 2013 release date, and with David's surprise entrance into Keef's life, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he hurried Keef to get Bang 3 out so he could finally move on to something bigger (and, optimistically speaking, better). However, after numerous mediocre mixtapes and a handful of broken promises with no explanation, Bang 3 delivers on a level stronger than all of Keef's post-Finally Rich releases combined, and hopefully this new era in his life, with a new mentor, new label, and new creative outlet, will finally have him returning to making music that's the least bit tolerable and memorable.
NOTE: Keef has announced that this release of Bang 3 is only part one of a two-part, double album, with the second part to be released on September 18th (after an August 18th release unsurprisingly didn't materialize). I will review the second part as soon as it becomes available.
Recommended tracks (in order): "Ain't Missing You," "New School," "Laurel Canyon," and "Greenlight."