Producer: Chief Keef
While a not-insubstantial portion of Complex's readership has been convinced Keef is “washed” for some time, in retrospect it looks more like a strategic retreat: twisting away from his 2012 sound, which artists like OT Genasis, Bobby Shmurda, and Fetty Wap (see the “Hallelujah” flow on “679”) have built upon, Keef continued to flourish on a smaller platform outside the mainstream spotlight. His style over the past two years has evolved into something not unlike Gucci's or Max B's at earlier points in their careers, as streams of music pours out on mixtapes and—in Keef's case—YouTube, crafting their own universes and forcing the fans to come to them. But surely this is still part of a grand decline from his 2012 emergence? Time will tell, but “Faneto,” from last year's underrated Back From the Dead 2, has become an unexpected—and very atypical-sounding—minor hit, one with serious momentum.
It became more apparent to those who'd written him off over the weekend, when a Vine of Chicago's College Craze 3 party showed a crowd jumping and rapping along to the record even though Keef wasn't in the building. “Faneto” is an odd little record, not the least because he threatens to blow up the state of New Jersey in response to an attempted chain snatching. Keef's self-produced beat feels like a '70s flick set in a stereotypical Chinatown, and at certain points, the drums drop out entirely for long periods before slamming back in with stabbing force, his ad-libs echoing in the background as the drums beat out a hypnotic pattern. It's definitely a turn-up record, but with an unconventional structure and style.