Damn if some music doesn’t require a multiple listens before the head-nodding kicks in. On this, the Detroit rapper’s debut, the dark packaging and skinny white-boy cover pose might turn away the judgmental, and that’s too bad ’cause Chief and his post-emo-hop, true-to-life rhymes can pluck heartstrings on almost every verse. Chief’s delivery is fluid and reminiscent of that one lunchroom kid with mad shit to get off of his chest, and that’s what makes him dope. “Slippin’ Away” chronicles the lives of a young, single mom strung out on heroin and an ex-friend/fiend driven insane after too many crack pipe hits. Typical rap subject matter, certainly, but, in Chief’s hands, it’s all empathy; the song might be the album’s best punch. Others, such as “Hold Me Down” and “One Day,” put an original spin on the life of an aspiring rapper — they sidestep trite imagery with less glamour and more grind. Without preaching, Chief drops 18 surly tracks of life as he sees it; and much of the album canvasses gritty urban realities of Gen-Yers. There’s plenty of party moments too, some funny skits, plus a jealous ex-girlfriend strung out for dick. From top to bottom, this collection might just describe your life, one track at a time.
At the 2005 Blowout on Friday, March 4, at Jean’s (12002 Jos. Campau, Hamtramck).
Jonathan Cunningham writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.