By Sowmya Krishnamurthy
One of hip-hop’s most talked-about newcomers, Chief Keef, made his buzzy debut in New York City on Monday night (June 25). Fans, media and industry insiders waited for several hours before the “I Don’t Like” rapper took the S.O.B.s stage (where rappers like J. Cole and Drake performed some of their early NYC shows) around midnight.
Outfitted in a demure blue denim vest and shades, Keef, accompanied by a huge entourage, performed a compact set of some five songs including “I Don’t Like” and “3Hunna.” Keef relished in the crowd’s reaction, which understandably peaked during his biggest hit “I Don’t Like.” He seemed aware that he had arrived and was genuinely enjoying his moment. The ever-growing onstage entourage proved distracting though, often turning his rhymes into rambling and chaotic fare at times. Then, without fanfare, the rapper ended his set and disappeared; leaving everyone wanting more.
Fans in attendance were largely divided on Twitter. One called the show “mayhem.. It was like the apocalypse packed in a room…” while another said that Keef’s ultra-short set was “boss,” and displayed his mystique only growing.
Expectations have run high for Keef, a recent signee to Interscope Records and darling of rappers from Kanye West to T.I. Keef told MTV News earlier this month, “I’ve been talkin’ to a lot of labels, but I just noticed that Interscope got people like 50, Eminem.” The Chicago teenager also revealed that he signed a publishing deal with Dr. Dre.
Keef and was courted by labels including Cash Money and T.I.’s Grand Hustle. “I like him, he kinda remind me of us,” Baby told MTV News back in May. “[He's] out the streets, I think he swagged up and I’m definitely talkin’ to his people, and I’d like to see if we could get it to pop, see if I can get him to be down with the team.”
During that same month. Kanye West remixed Keef’s biggest hit, “I Don’t Like,” with Pusha T, Jadakiss and Big Sean. Bad Boy and Def Jam were also rumored to have approached Keef. “They was talkin’ good to me,” he said of Interscope. “They was talkin’ like I was talkin’ and I liked that. All these other labels, I was talkin’ to ‘em, but it’s time anyway for me and I’m goin’ with Interscope.”