A few days ago, yours truly sat alongside journalists Jon Caramanica and Ben Ratliff for this week’s edition of The New York Times Popcast. Our conversation revolved around SPIN‘s review of Chief Keef’s debut, Finally Rich. The site rated the album 8 out of 10. To boot, Nas’ Life Is Good received a 7 out of 10.
Prior to the sit-down, I labeled the author Jordan Sargent a cultural tourist. My comments caught the attention of my colleagues (Dave Bry, Benjamin Meadows-Ingram) and opened up some dialogue regarding race.
According to Jordan, Keef, “made one of the best rap albums of the year, and one of the best major label debuts in recent memory.” He spends a majority of his review justifying Keef’s presence instead of his music. When he does get around to the music (or lack thereof), he makes apologetic statements for Keef’s technical abilities as a rapper. (“His lyrics are direct and purposefully bereft of showmanship. This gets read as “dumbed-down” [or as just straight dumb], but that’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the entire function of Keef’s words.”) At various points, he even compares some songs to those of the mixtape Weezy reign.