It's unfortunate that the narrative surrounding Chief Keef is bigger than Finally Rich, the record containing the haranguing street single I Don't Like that shot the Chicago rapper to fame. Even if the music isn't all that good, the tangential dialogue distracts from the fact that at the centre of it all is Keef, a 17-year-old facing very real, troubling circumstances (including 60 days' jail time for violating probation).
This makes it difficult to listen to the music dispassionately. For all the success of singles I Don't Like, which spawned a Kanye West remix, or Love Sosa, a very literal feeling of desperation propels the album: a hardened, firsthand account of the preordained dire straits of the American underclass, and Waka Flocka Flame-indebted boast talk minus the charisma.
And yet, something about Keef's music resonates with young people. Maybe the lasting value of Finally Rich won't be found in questioning its moral content (less a glorification of violence and poverty than a lament), but in parsing how we've reacted to it, and the differing socio-economic realities that make his music resonant for one demographic and a voyeuristic pleasure for another.
Top track: Love Sosa