This year Interscope Records has a little surprise for us under the tree: Arriving amid the good cheer, the caroling and the mistletoe comes gangsta rapper Chief Keef’s studio debut, “Finally Rich.”
Landing a week before the big day, the 17-year-old Chicago thug offers infectious odes to nihilism and tirades against haters that are as simple-minded and catchy as they are brutal. Musically, however, the album shimmers with power, which makes the dozen songs feel even more dangerous.
Apparently unintentional is Keef’s placement of a song called “Hallelujah” near the beginning of his album in the week leading up to Christmas. The track’s not an interpretation of Leonard Cohen’s gem; rather, Keef’s track, produced by fellow Chicago artist Young Chop, is an offering filled with venom. Supported by bass-heavy exclamation points and the crunk-suggestive skittering high-hat runs, the track features an opening couplet — “Bitch I’m cooler than a cooler/Bitch shouts out to my jeweler” — that suggests about as much effort as he probably put into freshman biology. Rather it’s about how, at 17, he’s “finally” rich.
2 1/2 stars