Chief Keef

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Chief Keef
Birth name Keith Cozart
Born (1995-08-15) August 15, 1995 (age 19)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Genres Hip hop
Occupation(s) Rapper
Years active 2011–present
Labels Glo Gang, 1017 Brick Squad
Associated acts Fredo Santana, Gucci Mane, Kanye West, Lil Reese, Young Chop
Website www.chiefkeef.com

Keith Cozart (born August 15, 1995),[1] better known by his stage name Chief Keef, is an American rapper from Chicago, Illinois. He has signed a major record deal with Interscope Records, along with 1017 Brick Squad, and was the CEO of his own record label Glory Boyz Entertainment.[2] His debut album Finally Rich was released on December 18, 2012.[3] Despite being dropped from Interscope in late 2014, Chief Keef would continue self-releasing mixtapes through his Glo Gang label.

Early life

Keith Cozart was born in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in the Englewood neighborhood on the city's South Side.[4][5] He attended Dulles Elementary School and the Banner School, a therapeutic day school.[6] Cozart dropped out of high school at age 15.[7] He began rapping at a very young age, regularly listed as 5, using his mother's karaoke machine and blank tapes to record his music.[8]

Music career

While under house arrest for a previous weapons charge, Cozart posted several videos to his YouTube account. The attention he received increased during the short time between the release of several mixtapes and music videos, including "Bang", "3Hunna" and "I Don't Like".[9] After two locally successful mixtapes, "I Don't Like" became a local hit in Chicago. It also caught fellow Chicago rapper Kanye West's attention, and West created a remix of the song with rappers Pusha T, Jadakiss and Big Sean.[10]

In the summer of 2012, Keef was in the middle of a bidding war with many labels to sign him including Young Jeezy's CTE World. He would end up signing with Interscope Records due to them giving him his own label to run in Glory Boyz Entertainment.[11] The deal is worth six million dollars over a three album deal. According to the deal Interscope has the right to pull out of the contract if he doesn't sell 250,000 copies of his debut LP by December 2013.[12] Chief Keef's debut studio album Finally Rich, was released on December 18, 2012. Featured guests on the album included rappers 50 Cent, Wiz Khalifa, Young Jeezy, Rick Ross and his fellow Glory Boyz member Lil Reese.[13]

On March 26, 2013, it was announced that Keef would be a part of XXL Magazine's 2013 Freshman Class.[14] On May 8, 2013, Gucci Mane announced via Twitter that Chief Keef was the newest member of 1017 Brick Squad Records.[15] On his 18th birthday, August 15, 2013, Chief Keef celebrated by releasing the mixtape Bang Pt. 2.[16] Bang Pt. 2 was highly anticipated as the first project following his debut album, but ended up disappointing quite a few and received mixed critical responses. On October 12, 2013, he released Almighty Sosa another mixtape, however leading up to release he did not do much promotion for it.[17] Following his October 2013 jail term, he began working on his second studio album and a biopic.[18]

On January 14, 2014, Chief Keef announced working on a new mixtape entitled Bang 3, which as the title suggests, is the third installment to his Bang series.[19] On February 13, 2014, Chief Keef revealed the cover art to his upcoming mixtape Back From The Dead 2 which will serve as the sequel to his critically acclaimed mixtape Back From The Dead.[20] On February 17, 2014, Keef would state that his former lean addiction and bad mixing contributed to the lack of quality music on his two mixtape projects Bang Pt. 2 and Almighty So and that he himself was also disappointing in both projects.[21] On February 26, 2014, Keef revealed that he would release a EP before his second studio album Bang 3, entitled Bang 4, as a preview of sorts.[22] On February 27, 2014, Fredo Santana announced that he and Keef were going to release a collaboration album.[23] On March 13, 2014, Chief Keef would release the first official single from Bang 3 entitled "Fuck Rehab" featuring his fellow Glo Gang artist and cousin Mario "Blood Money" Hess, which would mark for Hess's final appearance on a song before his death on April 9, 2014.[24] On March 14, 2014, Chief Keef released the official music video for "Fuck Rehab".[25] The following month, on April 1, 2014, Interscope executive Larry Jackson announced that Bang 3 would be released on June 10, 2014, but it was again delayed.[26] On October 21, 2014 Keef was dropped by Interscope Records, but confirmed via Twitter that every project he had planned, including the release of the long-awaited Bang 3 would still be released, as he planned.[27][28] Additonally, Keef confirmed Bang 3's release date as December 25, 2014.[28] Young Chop criticized Interscope's decision to drop Chief.[29]

Keef released Back from the Dead 2, a sequel mixtape, on October 31, 2014. Keef produced most of the tracks on the mixtape himself. David Drake of Pitchfork Media, stated, "For his first steps into rapper-producer territory, he shows promise—though it’s tough to imagine most of these beats working outside the context of a Chief Keef album, as they are primed to frame his vocals."[30] In November 2014, Chief announced Nobody: The Album, a "Glo Producer album," that will feature Kanye West and Tadoe.[31] The album was set to be released on December 2, 2014,[31] but was ultimately released on December 16.[32] The album featured the guest vocals from Kanye West that Keef teased months prior.[31][33]

Other ventures

Glo Gang

Glo Gang
Founded 2014
Founder Chief Keef/CEO
Status Active
Distributor(s) Independent
Genre Hip hop, midwest hip hop, drill
Country of origin United States
Location Chicago, Illinois Los Angeles, California

Following his signing to Interscope Records they rewarded Keef with his own record label which he named Glory Boyz Entertainment, which would be a subsidiary under Interscope. He signed his various friends to the record label such as Lil Reese, Fredo Santana and Young Chop. The label had already been active since 2011, however only released mixtapes and was not a full on record company. After releasing Keef's Finally Rich in December 2012, the label was set to release an album by Lil Reese in the coming months, along with various mixtapes. However, on January 3, 2014, Chief Keef said that Glory Boyz Entertainment was "no more," and was starting a new record label named Glo Gang.[34] Prior to his death, Blood Money revealed in an interview the members of Glo Gang to be Chief Keef, Tray Savage, Ballout, Capo, Tadoe, Justo and himself.[35] Justo is the only member of Glo Gang that wasn't part of GBE. Justo is the younger brother of former GBE member Fredo Santana.

Current Artists
Former Artists

Personal life

Cozart was born when his mother was 16, and is named after his deceased uncle.[36] At the age of 16, Cozart had his first child - a daughter, called Kay Kay, born Kayden Kash Cozart.[1] Cozart was served with a request for child support by the child's mother.[37] Two of his cousins, Fredo Santana and Tadoe, were on his label Glory Boyz Entertainment.[38] According to his lawyer, Cozart is estranged from his biological father. Cozart's stepbrother was shot dead on January 2, 2013.[39] Cozart's cousin, Mario Hess, a rapper known as Big Glo, who performed as Blood Money, was shot and killed in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood on April 9, 2014. Hess had been signed to Interscope Records just two weeks prior to his killing.[40][41]

Legal issues

On January 27, 2011, Cozart was apprehended on charges of heroin manufacture and distribution. He was found delinquent and served time on house arrest.[42]

In December 2011, Cozart left his grandmother's home holding a coat over his hands in front of his waistband. A policeman stopped to question the rapper, who dropped the coat, flashed a handgun and ran away. Officers chased then 16-year-old Cozart, who turned around several times and pointed the gun at them. The policemen "discharged their weapons," but missed. They caught him a half-block later and recovered the pistol, which was loaded. Cozart was charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a firearm on a police officer and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. He was also given a misdemeanor charge for resisting arrest. He was held in the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center until a judge sentenced him to home confinement at his grandmother’s house.[43]

On September 5, 2012, Chicago Police stated that Cozart was being investigated for a possible connection in the shooting death of fellow rapper and Englewood resident, Joseph Coleman, who performed under the stage name "Lil JoJo".[44][45] This came after Keef had mocked his death on Twitter,[46] which he later claimed was the result of his account being hacked.[47] Coleman's mother has openly claimed that Chief Keef paid to have her son killed.[48]

On October 17, 2012, Cook County prosecutors asked a judge to remand Cozart to juvenile detention for alleged parole violations stemming from a video interview he held at a shooting range which included him discharging a firearm. A hearing was set for November 20, 2012 which was subsequently pushed back January 28, 2013 and then moved up to January 15.[49] The website that posted it, Pitchfork Media, was ordered by the court to provide the interview's footage after they removed it three months prior.[50] On December 31, 2012, Cozart was issued a judicial summons for a new and unrelated alleged parole violation. Prosecutors claimed that he failed to notify his juvenile parole officer about a change of address. A hearing was set for January 2, 2013.[51] Cozart scored a victory in court, when the judge allowed him to remain free over prosecutors request that he be jailed.[52]

On January 15, 2013, Cozart was taken into custody after a juvenile court judge ruled that the aforementioned gun range interview video constituted a probation violation. Two days later, Cozart was sentenced to two months in a juvenile detention facility and was additionally made a ward of the state.[53] On March 14, 2013, Keef was released from a juvenile detention center after serving the 60 days for violating his probation.[54]

On January 17, 2013, Keef was sued by Washington, D.C.-based promotion company Team Major for $75,000 for a missed show. According to the firm, Keef was supposed to perform at the IndigO2 Arena in London this past December 29, 2012 but never showed. Neither Keef nor his label has given any kind of response as to why he missed the date.[55] He ignored the lawsuit and the court sided with Team Major, ordering Keef to pay $230,019 to Team Major by default.[56]

On May 20, 2013, he was arrested in an upscale hotel in DeKalb County, Georgia for allegedly smoking marijuana in public and for disorderly conduct.[57] He was released later in the day.[58] Eight days later, Keef was arrested for driving 110 mph in a 55 mph zone in his hometown Chicago, and also for driving with an unlawful amount of passengers. He was later released on a bond.[59] He returned to court on June 17, and pled guilty to speeding. He was ordered to pay a $531 fine, serve 18 months of probation, complete 60 hours of community service and undergo random drug tests.[60]

On October 15, 2013, Keef returned to jail for a 20-day sentence due to a probation violation. The probation violation was due to testing positive for marijuana.[18] On October 24, 2013, Keef was released ten days early for good behavior.[61] However, again on November 6, 2013, Keef was sent back to jail on another probation violation.[62] Then following a stint in rehab, Keef was arrested on March 5, 2014 in Highland Park, Illinois for DUI of marijuana, driving on a suspended license and cited for having no proof of insurance.[63]

On February 4, 2014, Kim Productions filed suit against Cozart to recover losses they allege they incurred after he failed to appear at a RapCure benefit concert in Cleveland, Ohio in June 2013.[64] The suit alleges that Kim Productions provided Cozart with a $15,000 deposit for the performance. Despite the advance, the lawsuit further alleges that as a result of Cozart's failure to appear, the concert had to be cancelled.

Image

Chief Keef has drawn comparisons to 50 Cent

Cozart is often seen as a representation of the "Chiraq" gangsta rap culture.[65] LA Weekly reported that, at least on Instagram, Cozart, "appears to take fatherhood seriously."[65] LA Weekly also reported that Keef's Glo Gang entourage respects the rapper. One member of the Glo Gang, Ballout, stated, "We learned all that from Sosa, we be in the studio with him so much,” calling him, "a rhyming machine. A music genius. Black Justin Bieber, if you ask me.”[65] The New York Times stated that Chief Keef, "symbolizes," Chicago's drill music scene, and is the, "best known of the young generation of Chicago rappers."[66] David Drake of Pitchfork Media writes, "Chief Keef is in rarefied air for street rap—a creative voice with an original, cohesive aesthetic," adding, "to the grassroots, among a new generation of stars, he sits at street rap’s aesthetic center, not its margins."[30]

Keef has drawn comparisons to 50 Cent, as The New York Times writes, that like 50 Cent, Keef makes thuggery, "a major part of his early-career persona."[66] Lupe Fiasco, who has been involved with a controversy with Keef, has been referred to as an "antagonist" of sorts to Keef's more gangsta-rap persona. The New York Times writes, "Lupe Fiasco is a stern and didactic teacher, but it’s arguable that Chief Keef’s music is far better at ringing warning bells."[66] Another rapper, Common, has praised Chief Keef's contributions to rap, stating, "I think Chief Keef brought something that nobody else was doing and he brought it raw. He brought it real. With that, I have to respect that as an artist that he has come and brought that."[67] Other rappers, such as Rhymefest and Lupe Fiasco, however, have been critical of Chief (see controversies section below).[68][69]

Additionally, Chief Keef is often referred to as, "Sosa," by himself, his peers, and the media.[65][70][71] The nickname, "Sosa" is a reference to Sammy Sosa, a renowned baseball player, who played for the Chicago Cubs.[72]

Controversies

Rhymefest and Lupe Fiasco

In June 2012, Chicago rapper Rhymefest authored a blog post critical of Chief Keef's image and message, describing Cozart as a "bomb" and a "spokesman for the Prison Industrial Complex". The post was also critical of rappers Waka Flocka Flame and Rick Ross, citing similar reasons.[68] Rhymefest reiterated these views in a subsequent interview with Salon.[73]

In an August 2012 interview with Baltimore radio station 92Q Jams, Lupe Fiasco stated that Chief Keef "scares" him and went on to describe the other rapper as a "hoodlum" and representative of Chicago's "skyrocketing" murder rate.[69] Keef responded on September 5 with a tweet threatening Lupe Fiasco,[74] but then claimed that his account had been hacked and that the previous tweet was inauthentic.[75] On September 13, 2012, Fiasco released a video interview in which he made amends to Keef.[76]

Instagram

On September 15, 2012, Cozart uploaded an obscene photograph to the image sharing application Instagram. As a result, his account was subsequently banned for violating Instagram's terms of service.[77]

Discography

References

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