Chief Keef "Almighty So 2" Album Review

Chief Keef may be the youngest legend in hip-hop history. After his first mixtape at 14 and becoming a Chicago superstar by 16, the breadth and weight of his influence and impact became immediately clear by the time Almighty So dropped in 2013. Few rappers can claim this achievement in such a short amount of time, and with a lot of legal controversy and trouble along the way, this pioneer spirit only became more apparent over time. While this run didn't result in the strongest string of projects due to its prolific nature, it kept Keef's identity at the forefront, birthed classic full-lengths, and inspired realms beyond just drill, trap, and rage. Now that he's as reflective on his legacy as he is committed to further planting it, this unique and youthful position made a diamond out of the rough.

Moreover, Almighty So 2's been in the works for years, and with delay after delay, many fans held it in the mythical regard of a Whole Lotta Red or ASTROWORLD. Fortunately, it was so worth the wait. This is Chief Keef's most upfront, immediate, and instantly gratifying album in a long time, and revamps the original installment's often woozy and genre-fusing formulas with a more direct, boisterous, and consistent approach. Despite that, reflections on loyalty, partnership, family, and self-worth don't take the bite out of its relentless runtime and still fit well. Overall, it feels like we're right back in 2012 with today's knowledge, even before the first Almighty So, and we say that in the best way possible.

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Almighty So 2's Production

The most apparent way in which Chief Keef achieves this throwback reimagining is through the aggressive, layered, well-structured, and expansive beats on Almighty So 2. Snares and kicks don't just hit; they drill... pardon the pun. On the opening tracks alone, "Almighty (Intro)" and "Neph Nem" with Ballout and G Herbo, their triplet sequencing beats the instrumentals into the ground, paired with dramatic and grandiose samples like "O Fortuna." Rather than sticking to a particular style of drill or trap, he mixes them together and focuses on developing sample usage to its fullest potential for maximum enjoyment. For example, multiple elements of Nancy Wilson's "Streetrunner" on "Runner" provide an anticipatory intro, a catchy refrain, and orchestral instrumentation throughout the cut.

Still, some moments here take more of a breather, such as the breezy "Drifting Away" with a West Coast/Midwest-inspired bounce, and the piano worship with a similar rhythmic treatment on "Prince Charming." The sheer aggression throughout most of the tracklist doesn't lose its luster because of how uncompromised yet controlled it comes across. 16 tracks add up to an hour of runtime thanks to Chief Keef's hard work at giving songs proper transitions, movements, and third verses, and the vividness of the punchy production keeps you engaged all throughout. There are even some slight dips into rage on "Never Fly Here" with Quavo and mixes between guitar-backed calmness and operatic moshpits on "Jesus" with Lil Gnar, meaning that the volatile peaks always have earned and fulfilling build-up. Above all, this will hook you the most with Almighty So 2 on the first listen.

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Chief Keef Controls The Chaos

But if the production hooks you, Chief Keef is the reason you stick around. In a rap world full of hedonistic writing, flexing, and evocative phrasing, Sosa is able to make the best out of his production with lines that are equally in-your-face while still feeling grounded. He calls himself a wolf howling at the moon on "Grape Trees," flaunts "blue cheese" and a "thousand islands" on "Tony Montana Flow," and is able to perfectly mix the glamorous with the gritty (or even the mundane) through his bars. "Six hundred for the shoes that's on top of my bunions, n***a / Yellow truck, it's Funyuns, n***a, it just smell like onions, n***a," the Chicago icon raps on "Banded Up." The lyricism is often confrontational, almost always funny, sometimes clever, but most importantly, never boring.

While the flows lock you in, Chief Keef is also able to provide a lot of variety through his deliveries on equally combative instrumentals. In other words, even if a song is going hard, there are many deliberate choices to either scream alongside it or balance it out with a calmer tone, such as most of "Too Trim." But there is also some topical balance here, even if it mostly appears towards the end of Almighty So 2. The track "Treat Myself," for example, is all about the Glo Gang boss' self-worth, and how he evades roads to self-deprecation by wanting to push himself to his fullest potential. "Take a look up in the mirror, I just wanna squeeze myself / I done been through so much smoke to where I couldn't even see myself / I'll never need a b***h, but I'ma always need mysеlf."

Read More: Chief Keef Had A Subtle Message For Kanye West On "Almighty So 2"

AS2 Has No Brakes

Elsewhere, Chief Keef equally reflects on the hard times it took for him to get here and remarks on his current success and what's next for him. "Believe" has a killer and nostalgic sample flip, honors his late grandmother, processes the horrible exposures and actions that he experienced and perpetrated as a young man due to his circumstances, and even promises himself to be a better father to his daughter. While much of Almighty So 2 delivers these themes as a staunch retort against these evils, there's plenty of levity and blunt honesty throughout, no matter how it's delivered. The fact that each song is relatively long makes the rollercoaster ride much more enjoyable from track to track than most "one-note" albums. It's up to you to live in the moment and then look back on what deeper truths the album holds.

What's more, is that Chief Keef does most of this solo. He handles almost every song's production except one; additional production assistants include Mike WiLL Made-It, Young Malcolm, SantanaStar Beats, and more. On the other hand, features from Sexyy Red, Tierra Whack, and the like match Sosa's energy like a glove, whether for their unbridled bravado, fiery performances, or unflinching confidence. Yet they don't overwhelm him at any point, and their inclusions don't bloat Almighty So 2. Other inclusions like Michael Blackson on the "Jesus Skit" provide a lot of life and character to the album, whereas more traditional cuts like "1,2,3" continue the prominent horn picks and overall larger-than-life persona that this record paints. There's just enough novelty sprinkled between what we love Chief the most for, and few full-lengths in his catalog achieve that balance as well as this.

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How Is Sosa Not Even 30 Yet?

That push-and-pull is perhaps best exemplified on the closing track, "I'm Tryna Sleep." Tender pianos and vocal samples, a combative delivery, hard-hitting percussion, and themes of partnership and fearless street confrontation are a microcosm of what Chief Keef was able to achieve on Almighty So 2. It's a classic all the way for Sosa fans with its dramatic and magnanimous presentation. He taps into what he influenced in contemporary hip-hop and contains the maturely simple and hedonistically loyal reflections of a man who did not seem to change at all with the fame. The prolific catalog will prove that in one way, but it's only through meeting Keef on his own terms with his writing that you'll see this God-fearing, authentic, and unstoppable drive for yourself.

The 28-year-old's been off the lean for a couple of months now, and there's definitely a clarity to the production, songwriting, and rapping performance here that could reinforce that personal achievement. But more importantly, it speaks to his self-consciousness and evolution as an artist: how he sees his legacy, his talents, and the authenticity of his perspective. It's not about loving being high, hating being sober, or the other way around. Like many amazing MCs before and after him, Chief Keef recaptured what made him so special before the first Almighty So with all the experience and lessons that he's collected since. Almighty So 2 is a true return to form in that regard and one that you might not like if you didn't like Sosa to begin with. But he's a Chicago champion who's stuck to his guns and continues to evolve and influence the game; why wouldn't you?

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The post Chief Keef "Almighty So 2" Album Review appeared first on HotNewHipHop.


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