For a 17-year-old YouTube champ with a co-sign from Kanye West (who refashioned the Chicago rapper’s viral hit “I Don’t Like” for radio), Chief Keef is weirdly lacking in irony. Beyond “I Don’t Like,” which inverts the Facebook thumbs-up for snitches and shitty weed, his label debut hops from one homely declaration to the next, whether it’s “Hate Bein’ Sober” (with a bemused 50 Cent and Wiz Khalifa) or “Laughin’ to the Bank,” with its hollow “ha ha ha” punctuation. Rapping with his affectless slur and bricklayer’s tempo over rolling, mid-speed beats, Keef (who was criticized for mocking a murder victim, his rival, on Twitter) seems unshakably confident but profoundly directionless. The effect is mesmerizing, and a little scary.
Listen to ‘Finally Rich’: