Chief Keef: Hail To The Chief (2012 Online Cover Story)

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Early afternoon, November 15, 2012; Las Vegas, Nevada. While Interscope, 50 Cent, and Wiz Khalifa waited for him in the desert, the real secret of Chief Keef story was playing out back in Chicago.

Inside Joe’s Crab Shack at the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace, a team from Interscope Records is awaiting the early-afternoon arrival of 17-year-old Chief Keef in Las Vegas. They have just discovered that Keef missed his flight and won’t be arriving until around 3 p.m. They seem unsurprised.

Chicago rapper Chief Keef—born Keith Cozart—is the most talked-about new talent of 2012, and one of the most hated new rappers in recent memory. While some rap critics consider him a hands-down pick for rookie of the year, others insist he can’t rap, or worse, that he’s a harmful influence on the culture. Still, his sudden rise from obscurity to superstardom has had a fairytale-like arc. Keef is heading to Las Vegas to film the video for “Hate Being Sober” from his major label debut, Finally Rich; the song, produced by Keef’s go-to Chicago heatmaker Young Chop, has the potential to be a major smash, even without its guest spots from established superstars 50 Cent and Wiz Khalifa. The cost of the shoot is reportedly, at minimum, $30,000. The production stands in stark contrast to the teenage star’s low-budget videos, many of which were shot in his grandmother’s Washington Park apartment. The plan is for today’s shoot to take place in the Nevada desert, about an hour outside of Vegas. 50 Cent has taken a personal interest in the production, hand-picking the video crew. All Keef has to do is show up.Just under one year earlier, on November 24, 2011, Chief Keef performed his first-ever concert, a surprise appearance in a south suburb of Chicago called Markham, Illinois. The venue was Adrianna’s, a hot spot for both local and touring artists over the past two years. Keef performed four songs from his solo mixtape Bang, including his first viral smash of the same name. His main producer at the time, a Japanese immigrant named DJ Kenn, captured the frenetic show on video. Watching the clip, it was clear that Keef had already become a local superstar to a large subsection of teenagers on Chicago’s South Side. Adrianna’s that night was divided into two different sections by age; during Keef’s performance, one concertgoer estimated that more than 800 kids in the under-21 section were shouting Keef’s lyrics back at him. CONTINUE READING…

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