Chief Keef’s long lost masterpiece, sorta

In a perfect world, Chief Keef would have never been dropped by Interscope Records. In a perfect world, Chief Keef would have never been sent to rehab. In a perfect world, Bang 3 would be in stores.

As we know, the world isn’t perfect. As a 19-year-old artist, Chief Keef has already faced enough adversity in his young but accomplished life. At age 16, he was shot at by police and later placed under house arrest for a month. About two years later, the rapper was sent to a California rehab center following various run-ins with the law, and not even two weeks after being released, he was again arrested for a DUI charge.

Obviously, these arrests would cause concern for his record label, Interscope Records. In 2012, Keef signed to the renowned label and later released his debut album, Finally Rich, in December of that year. The album, which has sold over 300,000 copies worldwide since its release, was deemed a success by Interscope executive VP of A&R Larry Jackson considering its lack of promotion. In 2013, Keef kept the ball rolling with a series of music videos and two highly-publicized mixtapes, Bang Pt. 2 and Almighty So.

Though immensely criticized, these releases possessed an evolved, melodious sound from Keef. The hard-hitting, traditional drill sound that the Chicago music scene became so accustomed to hearing was noticeably absent from the mixtapes, and at the time, that didn’t sit too well with fans. Succumbing to the pressure, Keef blamed his use of codeine for the quality of the mixtapes. While all of this was happening, Interscope were bystanders of the whole situation, neither supporting nor bashing Keef’s music.

Finally, in 2014, Interscope showed signs of a potential second-studio album from Keef. In March, “F*ck Rehab” was released via the label as the first single off his mixtape-turned-album, Bang 3. Though “F*ck Rehab” packed the same punch as previous hits like “I Don’t Know Dem” and “I Don’t Like”, the song failed to gain much attention commercially. Even its high-quality music video seemed a bit forced, considering the normality of Keef’s notoriously low-budget visuals. A few release dates came and went, and as 2014 progressed, Keef’s music got more experimental with each release. It appeared Interscope was struggling to hold on to whatever ‘old Sosa’ they had left.

In October, the kettle had finally bursted. About a week before Keef released his eerie Back From The Dead 2 mixtape on Halloween, it was announced he had been dropped from Interscope. The reaction, a mix of excitement and frustration, swept the hip-hop community. Keef himself took the news quite lightly, jokingly calling out Interscope co-founder Jimmy Iovine on Twitter. While it’s not publicly known why (or if officially) the label parted ways with Keef, it can be assumed that his reckless behavior and perhaps lack of cooperation is what caused the split.

As the situation thickened, one question remained: What was going to happen to Bang 3? Did Keef dare to leak the album himself, or worse yet, would the project be scrapped entirely? Initially there were only guesses, and still to this day nobody knows where or how it will end up. In efforts to revive the album’s existence, I’ve made a playlist composed entirely of some of Keef’s best loosies and one-offs over the past two years. Please note that a few tracks, such as “Valley” and “Nobody”, are featured on digital compilations that are available for purchase on iTunes, while other songs like “Now And Later” are set to appear on future Chief Keef projects. Sequenced to perfection, this playlist truly gives listeners an idea of how great the album could have been.

I present Bang 3: The Best Album That Never Happened. Stream the project below.

– Matt @RRprez