Concert preview: Chief Keef’s banging street rap to be on display at the Newport

From the March 21, 2013 edition

Troubled, controversial teen rapper Chief Keef didn't show for his South by Southwest showcase last week, but give the guy a break; he just got out of juvy a few days before.

Keef, born Keith Cozart, has been a steady hit-maker and debate topic since emerging last year with the smash breakout single "I Don't Like” thanks in part to Kanye remixing the song in his own image. The thudding Young Chop production and Keef’s blunt microphone mumble yielded powerful subwoofer detonations, but some observers couldn’t stand to see a kid with so little finesse gaining traction, let alone one so clearly steeped in Chicago’s deadly gang culture.

Appreciating Keef’s music got a lot stickier when his Twitter account started coughing up maniacal laughter regarding the death of a rival teenage rapper, a stark reminder of Keef’s gangland environment. Still, if you can get past the stomach-curdling social dimension, debut album Finally Rich bangs.

He’ll be at the Newport this Friday, assuming he shows.