Happy Birthday, Chief Keef!
Despite the controversy and criticism, Chief Keef has somehow managed to still remain one of hip-hop's more relevant acts. People still like the "I Don't Like" rapper who turns 20 years old today (Aug. 15).
Chief Keef, whose real name is Keith Cozart, rose to prominence when his hometown of Chicago was in the middle of one its deadliest summers. He started releasing mixtapes in 2011 and had his first hit in "I Don't Like." Scored by a carnival-like riff and memorable one-liners, the infectious track earned a spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and a G.O.O.D. Music remix. A lucrative contract with Interscope records came soon after.
By the time he dropped his debut album, Finally Rich, in 2012, Sosa inadvertently became the center of a heated debate. There was no doubt the violence within his lyrics was a product of the ongoing shootings in Chicago -- but at what cost?
Many criticized Keef's style, which favors deadpan, unsophisticated delivery over a fluid flow. Plus, rap journalists started criticizing hipster critics (a euphemism for white critics) for championing Keef's nihilistic songs.
The rapper was eventually dropped from Interscope Records, which meant critics were putting his career in the finished category. But he moved forward and things picked up for Sosa when he went the independent route. Along with a string of mixtapes, he's released two more albums, including his latest effort Bang 3, which dropped early August.