Four years ago, a 19-year-old Chief Keef performed live, via hologram, from a soundstage in Beverly Hills for a secret charity concert in Chicago, which he was avoiding because the CPD had multiple warrants out for his arrest. Cops shut down the concert after one song (“Don’t Like”). Keef’s brief life as a hologram nevertheless remains an inspired moment of 21st century pirate radio that doubles as a fitting metaphor for his status as a modern rap folk hero. At once omnipresent and elusive, Keef has traversed a bizarre career arc that doesn’t square with his outsized influence on today’s generation of “mumble” rappers, which is as profound as Gucci Mane’s influence on his own generation. In 2018, he released nine mixtapes, yet somehow the defining moment of his year was Tekashi 6ix9ine putting a hit out on his cousin.

When Keef released The Leek Vol. 7 in January, it looked like he was headed for another year of way too many mixtapes. That has changed with the release of GloToven, his new 12-track collaboration with Zaytoven. Zay’s grounding presence, as well as the designation of the release as an album rather than a mixtape imbues GloToven with a certain heft – it’s something that Keef can really hang his hat on. Throughout the project, Zaytoven cooks up the sort of accessible, piano-driven trap beats that have made him one of the most instantly recognizable producers in hip-hop. He’s like a grandma baker returning to her time-tested snickerdoodle recipe – the results won’t surprise you, but they’re guaranteed to slap. Zaytoven’s beats provide a stable testing ground on which Keef conducts casual experiments with his voice, pressing up against the limits of his instrument and playing with his melodic side in particular.

GloToven is full of sudden tonal shifts on Keef’s end. On the superb “Sneeze,” he emphasizes the word “glock” with such force that it feels like he stomped his foot on the accelerator of his Ferrari. On “Ain’t Gonna Happen,” he alternates between an earnest, conversational tone and a falsetto as pure as a waterfall. While he continues to dole out the most unpredictable ad-libs in the game (e.g.“yap-yap-yap” to illustrate a girl arguing), he returns often to his signature “bang.” But even then, he drops these “bangs” in wildly different contexts, from distrusting lovers to home invasions, and packages them variously in a stage whisper (“Posse”), with a resigned shrug (“Petty”), and with a country twang more Keith Urban than Keith Cozart (“Sneeze”).

While Keef occasionally delivers a tightly constructed couplet – like “This a gang of dons, we got a gang of guns/ I don't give guns to my son, my daddy gave me one” on the opener “3rd Person” — more often he employs a wandering lyrical style, such that when he finds a groove, he occupies it and toys with it for an extended period of time. On “Spy Kid,” he observes the sharks and minnows that circle around him: “I spy another opp, leave his ass spilled/ Made him sign a non-disclosure, business can't spill. I spy a dinosaur OG...” It feels like he could go on like this all day. Meanwhile, Lil Pump adopts Keef’s gruff cadence on GloToven’s lone guest verse, during which he references his now-infamous toe-sucking incident involving Riley Reid.

GloToven reaches its unexpectedly poignant climax on “Ain’t Gonna Happen,” where a weepy piano intro inspires Keef to take a brief moment for sober reflection. He yearns for friends who’ve died or gone to jail: “The only thing I'm ducking the militia/ And fans when I'm tired of taking pictures/ Face dried up/ From all of the tears I cried up/ Lost most them niggas I ride for/ I got something to prove, I'll slide through.” Keef bundles his sense of loss with his solitude. The song doesn’t feel like Keef dumping out his grief so much as him briefly pulling back the curtain and offering a glimpse of himself, holed up in his house somewhere in the hills of Los Angeles, feeling a little empty inside.

Chief Keef & Zaytoven's 'GloToven' is available to buy or stream. For more of our album reviews, head here.

We Recommend
  • Image on Highsnobiety
    10 Linen Shirts To Keep You Cool This Summer
    • Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety
    CAMPERLAB’s Sneakers Keep Getting Weirder, and We’re Here for It
    • Sneakers
    • sponsored
  • Image on Highsnobiety
    'The Idol' Season 2? Keep It (& The Weeknd's Rattail, Too)
    • Culture
  • Image on Highsnobiety
    We Braved the Apocalypse For DSM's "Market Market" Sale — Here's What We Found
    • Style
  • luxury hoodies
    12 Luxury Hoodies to Keep You Fly & Poor This Season
    • Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety
What To Read Next
  • GANNI & Dr. Martens FW23 collaboration.
    GANNI's Dr. Martens Boot Is Super Bold (& Seriously Chunky)
    • Sneakers
  • The North Face
    Hit The Slopes With The North Face And David Djité
    • Sports
  • Wyatt Chelsea Boot
    Chelsea Boots That Can't Be Beat
    • Style
  • y-3's Kyasu sneaker in high and low-top black, white, and red leather
    EXCLUSIVE: Y-3 Turned an Ordinary adidas Shoe Into a Behemoth
    • Sneakers
  • The North Face's corduroy Nuptse puffer jacket in black
    Corduroy Came for The North Face's Nuptse
    • Style
  • HEVEN x Heaven by Marc Jacobs Halo Light-Up Bag
    This $7.5K Light-Up Bag Is HEVEN x Heaven-Sent
    • Style
*If you submitted your e-mail address and placed an order, we may use your e-mail address to inform you regularly about similar products without prior explicit consent. You can object to the use of your e-mail address for this purpose at any time without incurring any costs other than the transmission costs according to the basic tariffs. Each newsletter contains an unsubscribe link. Alternatively, you can object to receiving the newsletter at any time by sending an e-mail to info@highsnobiety.com

Web Accessibility Statement

Titelmedia (Highsnobiety), is committed to facilitating and improving the accessibility and usability of its Website, www.highsnobiety.com. Titelmedia strives to ensure that its Website services and content are accessible to persons with disabilities including users of screen reader technology. To accomplish this, Titelmedia has engaged UsableNet Inc, a leading web accessibility consultant to help test, remediate and maintain our Website in-line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which also bring the Website into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.


Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues can be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied.

Contact Us

If, at any time, you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of any particular webpage on this Website, please contact us at accessibility@highsnobiety.com, +49 (0)30 235 908 500. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the web page and nature of the issue in your email and/or phone call, and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page or the information contained therein accessible for you.