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Ranking Every Chief Keef Studio Album, From Worst to Best

Chief Keef, the prodigious rapper from Chicago’s South Side, has been a trailblazer in the hip-hop scene since his breakout in the early 2010s. With a prolific discography that’s an embodiment of the drill genre, Keef’s music is gritty, raw, and pulsating with an energy that is unmistakably his. Chief Keef’s albums like “Finally Rich” and “Bang 3” showcase his ability to deliver cutting-edge narratives with a unique lyrical perspective, and “4NEM,” and “Dedication” prove that Keef is an artist that refuses to be confined to a box, continually pushing the boundaries of the genre. Every album in his repertoire is an audacious testament to his immense talent, growth, and undeniable influence. His creative journey from the vibrant streets of Chicago to influencing a generation of artists has been nothing short of phenomenal.

In addition to his four studio albums, there’s an impressive forty mix tapes to boot. The most popular of those are worth a mention as some are much more popular than the studio releases.

8. Mansion Musick (Mixtape)

Mansion Musick

Released: 2018

Label: RBC Records • Features: Playboi Carti, Tadoe

The album, trimmed with ten tracks, offers a wide spectrum of Keef’s versatility. Sure, there’s the classic drill-style bangers like “Belieber,” where Keef flexes his signature Stream-of-consciousness flow atop grimy beats. But then, you’ve got tracks like “TV On (Big Boss)” where Keef toys with Auto-Tune, coloring his bars in different shades of sonic expression. The production value on this ten-track project is stellar, signifying how far Keef had traveled from “Finally Rich”. While the album lacks a prominent mainstream hit, it garners respect by emphasizing the evolution of Keef’s sound. Even though “Mansion Musick” didn’t exactly light up the charts, it’s still a crucial page in the Chief Keef narrative, offering the listener an unguarded view into the rapper’s stylistic evolution and creative headspace. If this is the mansion Keef’s building, we’re damn eager to see the blueprint.

7. The Leek, Vol. 1 & 2 (Mixtape)

The Leek, Vol. 1

Released: 2015

Label: RBC Records

An integral piece in Chief Keef’s discography, dropping in 2015, just when the emcee was beginning to steadily exert his influence in the hip-hop scene. The album is a compilation of Keef’s earlier works, a robust collection that shines a light on his gritty origins and evolution. This wasn’t as polished as “Finally Rich”, but it was Keef in his rawest form, echoing the early rawness of hip-hop icons like Public Enemy and N.W.A. Heavy on 808s and snares, tracks like “War” and “Earned It” defined a generation’s taste for aggressive trap music. Keef’s uniquely disjointed flow turned heads around the industry, reminding us of the Parker Brothers’ prophetic quote, “It ain’t the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Keef displayed a tenacity and willpower that’s rare, making this collection a major stepping stone in his career and for the culture.

6. Back from the Dead (Mixtape)

Back from the Dead

Released: 2012

Label: GBE ent • Features: SD, King Louie, Lil Reese, Yale Lucciani, Johnny May Cash, Soulja Boy

Keef was just a teenager when he dropped this raw, unfiltered expression of the struggles and adversities he faced in the Chi-town streets. The beats, produced by Young Chop, were hard-hitting, creating the perfect backdrop for Keef’s raspy and emotive delivery. Standout tracks like “Everyday” and the grimly titled “Kill Shit” gave listeners a harrowing glimpse into the concrete jungle Keef called home. However, it’s the ubiquitous “I Don’t Like” that steals the show. The track ignited a music revolution, even catching the ear of Kanye West who remixed it with his G.O.O.D. Music cohorts. “Back From the Dead” is Chief Keef’s Illmatic, his Straight Outta Compton; a cornerstone of his career and a landmark for drill music that proved this young man from Chi-town wasn’t just a rapper, he was a movement.

5. Back from the Dead 2 (Mixtape)

Back from the Dead 2

Released: 2015

Label: RBC Records

Released on June 16, 2015, the mixtape is undeniably one of the strongest in his catalog. This isn’t just another drill record; it’s an ambitious project that showcases Keef’s growth. There’s a newfound deftness to his songwriting, especially evident in tracks like “Feds” and the ridiculously infectious “Faneto”. His flows are sharper, his beats more infectious, and his subject matter has a raw, uncompromising sincerity. On cuts like “Paper” and “Whole Crowd,” he uses his knack for infectious hooks to deliver anthems for the ages. There’s also a vivid storytelling element to his lyrics now, painting a picture of his life with a visceral intensity. Critically, some regard “Back from the Dead 2” as the crystallization of Keef’s post-Interscope era: a time when he turned his back on mainstream acceptance and committed fully to pushing his artistry to its limit.

Beyond those amazing mix tapes, let’s get into the studio albums. So here’s Chief Keef’s studio albums ranked, from worst to best.

4. Bang 3

Bang 3

Released: 2015

Label: FilmOn Music • Features: A$AP Rocky, Mac Miller, Jenn Em

Tracks like “Superheroes” featuring A$AP Rocky and “Ain’t Missing You” alongside Jenn Em showed a surprising sonic diversity. Keef trafficked in different flows, different tones, effectively bridging the gap between his raw drill roots and the more melodic sound we see in hip-hop today. But Keef’s experimentation wasn’t universally welcomed, with critics quick to call out inconsistencies in the album. Commercially, “Bang 3” wasn’t a smashing success, but it did peak at number 3 on the Billboard Rap charts – a solid position for a relatively avant-garde release. Still, the album didn’t dilute Keef’s influence. His decision to push boundaries and embrace change, even at the risk of shaking up his fanbase, underlines his role as a true trailblazer in the genre. “Bang 3” marked the beginning of Chief Keef’s transformation from drill rapper to genre-defying icon.

3. 4NEM


Released: 2021

Label: RBC Records • Features: Tadoe, Ballout

The album is a 20-song mosaic that carefully stitches together disparate aspects of Keef’s artistry. Tracks like “The Talk” and “Vet Lungs” demonstrate how he has matured and refined his craft, layering deeply coded lyrics over eerie, pounding beats. The title track “4NEM” featuring Tadoe and Ballout, is an homage to his day-ones, as he raps about brotherhood and shared struggles. And then, there’s “Skrt Skrt Skrt,” an Atlanta trap-influenced banger that shows how versatile Keef can be. However, the album isn’t simply a mechanistic spitfire of drill music; it’s a profound exploration of Keef’s worldview. From the melancholic introspection of “Weapon” to the enthusiastic bravado of “Sosa Superman,” “4NEM” paints a complex portrait of a man who’s been through hell and back, yet refuses to compromise his artistry.

2. Dedication


Released: 2017

Label: RBC Records • Features: Tadoe, C. Mula, A Boogie Wit da Hoodie, Lil Yachty

This 15-track project finds Keef tapping into a contemplative rhyme scheme that differs slightly from his guttural trap aesthetic. From the jump, “Ticket” hits you with Keef’s energetic flow, spinning street tales over a vibrant beat, while “Mailbox” oscillates between his iconic Chief Sosa style and a more introspective outlook. In “Negro,” Keef explores racial politics, a move displaying his growth from reckless teen to thoughtful artist. “Text,” a standout track with its infectious hook, highlights Keef’s trap ingenuity. The project’s title itself is a shout out to Lil Wayne’s “Dedication” mixtape series, illustrating Keef’s respect for the rap game’s veterans. While the album didn’t fetch significant commercial success, it reinforced Keef’s standing as a rule-bending artist, unafraid to mould his sound to fit his narrative. “Dedication” is Keef’s acknowledgement of the road he’s travelled, and the footsteps he’s paving for those to follow.

1. Finally Rich

Finally Rich

Released: 2012

Label: UMGRI Interscope • Features: Lil Reese, 50 Cent, Wiz Khalifa, French Montana, Jeezy, Rick Ross

Dropping at the tail-end of 2012, this full-length debut places Keef at the forefront of Chicago’s turbulent hip-hop scene. The album dials up raw energy, with its incessant 808s, piercing snares, and Keef’s brash, monotone flow. Leading the charge with “Love Sosa” and “I Don’t Like,” Keef delivers anthems that boomed from the Windy City to the world over. “Hate Bein’ Sober,” featuring powerhouses 50 Cent and Wiz Khalifa, manifests Keef’s knack for catchy hooks. Yet it’s his grim street narratives like “Diamonds” and “Ballin'” that truly encapsulate the fraught realities of his South Side upbringing. Commercially, the album saw moderate success, but its cultural impact reverberates far beyond sales figures. “Finally Rich” was instrumental in shaping the sound of modern hip-hop, inspiring the likes of Drake, Future, and countless SoundCloud rappers. It’s not just an album; it’s a seismic shift in hip-hop, as pioneering as it is profound.

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