Keith Cozart (born August 15, 1995), better known by his stage name Chief Keef, is an American rapper from Chicago, Illinois. He has signed a major record deal with Interscope Records, along with 1017 Brick Squad, and was the CEO of his own record label Glory Boyz Entertainment. His debut album Finally Rich was released on December 18, 2012. Despite being dropped from Interscope in late 2014, Chief Keef would continue self-releasing mixtapes through his Glo Gang label.
Keith Cozart was born in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in the Englewood neighborhood on the city’s South Side. He attended Dulles Elementary School and the Banner School, a therapeutic day school. Cozart dropped out of high school at age 15. He began rapping at a very young age, regularly listed as 5, using his mother’s karaoke machine and blank tapes to record his music.
While under house arrest for a previous weapons charge, Cozart posted several videos to his YouTube account. The attention he received increased during the short time between the release of several mixtapes and music videos, including « Bang », « 3Hunna » and « I Don’t Like ». After two locally successful mixtapes, « I Don’t Like » became a local hit in Chicago. It also caught fellow Chicago rapper Kanye West’s attention, and West created a remix of the song with rappers Pusha T, Jadakiss and Big Sean.
In the summer of 2012, Keef was in the middle of a bidding war with many labels to sign him including Young Jeezy’s CTE World. He would end up signing with Interscope Records due to them giving him his own label to run in Glory Boyz Entertainment. The deal is worth six million dollars over a three album deal. According to the deal Interscope has the right to pull out of the contract if he doesn’t sell 250,000 copies of his debut LP by December 2013. Chief Keef’s debut studio album Finally Rich, was released on December 18, 2012. Featured guests on the album included rappers 50 Cent, Wiz Khalifa, Young Jeezy, Rick Ross and his fellow Glory Boyz member Lil Reese.
On March 26, 2013, it was announced that Keef would be a part of XXL Magazine’s 2013 Freshman Class. On May 8, 2013, Gucci Mane announced via Twitter that Chief Keef was the newest member of 1017 Brick Squad Records. On his 18th birthday, August 15, 2013, Chief Keef celebrated by releasing the mixtape Bang Pt. 2. Bang Pt. 2 was highly anticipated as the first project following his debut album, but ended up disappointing quite a few and received mixed critical responses. On October 12, 2013, he released Almighty Sosa another mixtape, however leading up to release he did not do much promotion for it. Following his October 2013 jail term, he began working on his second studio album and a biopic.
On January 14, 2014, Chief Keef announced working on a new mixtape entitled Bang 3, which as the title suggests, is the third installment to his Bang series. On February 13, 2014, Chief Keef revealed the cover art to his upcoming mixtape Back From The Dead 2 which will serve as the sequel to his critically acclaimed mixtape Back From The Dead. On February 17, 2014, Keef would state that his former lean addiction and bad mixing contributed to the lack of quality music on his two mixtape projects Bang Pt. 2 and Almighty So and that he himself was also disappointing in both projects. On February 26, 2014, Keef revealed that he would release a EP before his second studio album Bang 3, entitled Bang 4, as a preview of sorts. On February 27, 2014, Fredo Santana announced that he and Keef were going to release a collaboration album. On March 13, 2014, Chief Keef would release the first official single from Bang 3 entitled « Fuck Rehab » featuring his fellow Glo Gang artist and cousin Mario « Blood Money » Hess, which would mark for Hess’s final appearance on a song before his death on April 9, 2014. On March 14, 2014, Chief Keef released the official music video for « Fuck Rehab ». The following month, on April 1, 2014, Interscope executive Larry Jackson announced that Bang 3 would be released on June 10, 2014, but it was again delayed. On October 21, 2014 Keef was dropped by Interscope Records, but confirmed via Twitter that every project he had planned, including the release of the long-awaited Bang 3 would still be released on December 25, 2014, as he planned. Young Chop criticized Interscope’s decision to drop Chief.
Keef released Back from the Dead 2, a sequel mixtape, on October 31, 2014. Keef produced most of the tracks on the mixtape himself. David Drake of Pitchfork Media, stated, « For his first steps into rapper-producer territory, he shows promise—though it’s tough to imagine most of these beats working outside the context of a Chief Keef album, as they are primed to frame his vocals. » In November 2014, Chief announced Nobody: The Album, a « Glo Producer album, » that will feature Kanye West and Tadoe. The album is set to be released on December 2, 2014.