Artist: Chief Keef
The myth of Chicago drill rapper Chief Keef is more interesting than the man’s music. Accounts of aggravated assault, robbery, heroin dealing and possible murder have given the 22-year-old a reputation larger than his music might deserve. As he gloats on “Mailbox:” “I know killers/And they owe me big favors”
Keef is one of those rappers whose work blurs the line between mixtape and album. Dedication is his third studio album proper but it finds him in the same drill/gangsta niche he’s been maintaining since “Bitches Love Sosa.” Whether mixtape or album, the outcome is usually the same.
Dedication is confident and boasts some addictive beats—nothing flashy, almost melodic, hardcore but decidedly not trap. Chief Keef remains equally confident throughout, along with a nice assist from Lil Yachty (“Come On Now”). For all his flaws, Keef is a charming host, usually at his best when he is joking around: “Burger King/I got that Whopper” or “I move like Obama/Probably fucked your mama,” take your pick.
Cozart has a restrained attitude on this record—the usual simple rhyme schemes (“Pulling all-nighters/I’m not tired”) accompany tales of misdemeanors rather than felonies. Keef’s reputation precedes him, and he is not as violent now as he was in his teenage years.
This is not the drill masterpiece that will legitimize the genre—it won’t accomplish what DS2 did for trap—but it does show that the scene’s most notorious star—Keith “Chief Keef” Cozart—is the one capable of bringing that to us. He is still very young and can grow as an artist, so long he stays out of trouble.
Dedication keeps things interesting for 15 tracks in an effective 46 minutes, but the entertainment is largely one-note. And when the album is over, you forget it almost immediately.