There's no denying that a cosign from Kanye West goes a long way in the music game. From Kid Cudi, to Lupe Fiasco, to Odd Future and Azalea Banks, getting Yeezy's stamp of approval marks a status change. The latest artist to feel the notoriety bump is fellow Chicago MC, Chief Keef, who –according to The FADER— can partly thank West for the heightened recognition.
Flying under the radar for several months, Twitter mentions from the likes of Wiz Khalifa, Young Jeezy, Pusha T, Fat Trel and more extended his fan base—then came the call from West. Earlier this month, G.O.O.D. Music announced a remix to Keef's “I Don't Like” record, effectively changing his position on the un-signed rapper totem pole. “[Keef] is already one of the most popular artists I cover next to Kanye, based on interest and traffic on the site,” Fake Shore Drive's Andrew Barber said. “Some people were ignoring him, but after the Kanye thing came out, everybody wanted a piece of him. People that wouldn't have touched him two weeks ago want as much of him as possible.”
Now with the spotlight shinning in his direction, Keef has his pick of labels, and is rumored to be weighing deals with Cash Money, Sony, or Jeezy's CTE Entertainment. The bidding war over the Glory Boy Entertainment rapper has also shifted attention to other Chicago artists. Among them is fellow GBE duo, Lil Durk and Lil Rease, both of whom inked solo ill-fated deals with Def Jam, and are now said to be singing with Sony. “That's business. We're all from the streets. We're all from the same area, so that can't really break us,” Durk said of how going mainstream may change his relationship with Keef. “Can't nobody come between me and Keef's sound. I'm definitely happy. Just can't let it go to your head, because everybody says it will. I feel the same way that I did two months ago.”
Of course Chicago has long been a breeding ground for game-changing Hip-Hop figures like Common, Twista, and No ID, but with the level that West has reached, his opinion holds weight.
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Photo: RedEye Chicago