Keith Kozart, better known as Chief Keef, is an American rapper, record producer and a mixtape artist. Keef gained fame among the local high school students while he was still a teenager. He was an aggressive guy and always invited troubles with other kids and law. However, the musical talent that he possessed helped him become a hot commodity among the record labels, who signed him while he was still a teenager. Keef first signed a deal with Interscope records and soon after that, made a switch to 1017 Brick Squad. Keef later started his own record label by the name Glory Boyz Entertainment, and the name was later changed to Glo Gang. Keef released his first album in late 2012 titled ‘Finally Rich’ and achieved instant success with chart-buster singles such as ‘I don’t like’ and ‘Love Sosa’. Even though he became successful, he kept messing with the law. Through his Glo Gang label, Keef released his mixtapes and kept making money. His legal troubles have constantly harmed his career and he says that it definitely is taking a toll on his career as a musician. Although Keef wanted ‘Bang 3’ to be his second album, he released another one called ‘Nobody’ in 2014.
Childhood & Early Life
Chief Keef was born Keith Kozart in Chicago on 15th August 1995 in a financially unstable family. His mother conceived him when she was 16 and the information regarding his father is still not known. His grandmother became his legal guardian and named him after his deceased uncle. Keef spent early days of his childhood in a black neighborhood in city’s South side.
He has said that rap music has had a great influence on him all his life and he started rapping at a tender age of 5, and by the time he was in the school, he already had a very decent fan base consisting of high school kids from his area. To create music and mixtapes, he used his mother’s Karaoke machine and blank tapes which he borrowed from his friends and neighbors.
Keef was known to be a very smart kid and consistently scored good marks. He attended Dulles Elementary school when he started out and went on to attend a therapeutic day school and Dyett High school. Eventually, he got bored of the school and dropped out at the age of 15 to pursue a full time career in rapping and music.
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Keef brought his mixtapes out in the open in 2011 and got the immediate attention of the local kids and his schoolmates. However, during the same time, he got house arrested due to the accusations of possessing illegal firearms but he kept posting several videos to his YouTube account. He was already a minor celebrity among the locales, so his videos gained immense popularity.
When his house arrest finally came to an end after 2 months, WorldStarHipHop released a video on their YouTube channel which showed a little boy laughing hysterically on Keef’s release. It was a proof of his increasing popularity and the fact that he was getting famous among the professional circuits as well. Keef’s single ‘I don’t Like’ became immensely popular among the night club circuits of Chicago and that was when he got the attention of Kanye West and his career officially kickstarted.
Kanye West was so much in love with ‘I don’t Like’ that he decided to create his own remix version of it with some famed rappers such as Big Sean and Pusha T. During the summer of 2012, Keef became a hot commodity among the record labels.
Young Jeezy tried signing him under his label CTE World, but Keef insisted on waiting. As far as music was concerned, the test of 2012 was quite normal.
Keef released his debut studio album ‘Finally Rich’ in December 2012 and featured songs in collaboration with successful names such as Rick Ross, Wiz Khalifa and 50 Cent. In January 2013, Keef finally signed with Interscope Records which included a three album contract along with the development of Keef’s own dream record label Glory Boyz Entertainment. In mid 2013, Gucci Mane made the announcement that Keef was going to be a part of 1017 Brick Squad Records.
In mid 2013, he was seen on a track in Kanye West’s album ‘Yeezus’ and featured in the song ‘Hold my Liquor’ and his part in it was immensely praised by Kanye himself and the media. Keef released his mixtape ‘Bang pt.2’ in August 2013, but it received mixed reviews. By the end of year, he started working on his third studio album along with a biopic.
He released a song from his next album ‘Bang 3’ titled ‘Fuck Rehab’ which he performed in collaboration with his cousin, Mario Hess, and released the official video for the track a few days later. Mario died a few weeks later and Keef dedicated the song to him. This was the time when Keef announced that he will produce his own music from then on.
In between, Keef kept himself busy with the release of his most critically acclaimed mixtape ‘Back from the Dead’. Sometime later, he followed that up with ‘Big Gucci Sosa’ and ‘Back from the Dead 2’, which was later made available for digital download and was moderately successful. He produced most of the songs on the latter and received critical acclaim. While his ‘Bang 3’ got delayed, Keef released another album titled ‘Nobody’ in November 2014, which featured a track from Kanye West and was praised lot by the critics and listeners alike.
Post the release of his next mixtape in early 2015 titled ‘Sorry 4 the weight’, Keef announced his next studio album ‘The Cozart’. In the mid 2015, Keef was signed on with FilmON music. And he spent the remaining time performing in concerts and collaborating with other hip hop artists. His fans got a shock of their life when in March 2016, Keef announced that he was taking retirement from rapping.
Despite the announcement he remained moderately active as he appeared in MGK’s song ‘Young Man’ later that year and also released a mixtape called ‘Two Zero One Seven’ in early 2017.
Keef became father of a child at the age of 16 with his then girlfriend with whom he had already parted ways. Later, he became a father of two more children and the claims kept coming his way where many women claimed him to be the father of their son. Keef never responded to the legal documents and this caused him more troubles.
Keef is always ready for his family and has introduced three of his cousins through his record label Glory Boyz Entertainment. However, the criminal history of his family became the cause of the death of his cousin, Mario Hess, which left Keef in shock.
Keef is currently residing in Los Angeles and says that the best part about the city is the silence, different from the chaos that New York City is.
Keef was arrested many times during his teenage life. In 2011, he was arrested for possession of heroin and was put on house arrest. Later, he was arrested for shooting one of his fellow rappers. Apart from that, there are several of parole violation, drug abuse, marijuana consumption among other things. He is famously known as the perfect specimen of ‘Gangsta rap’.
As of May, 2017, Chief Keef’s net worth is estimated to be about USD 1 million.
Keef’s video ‘Bang’ got 1 million Youtube views while he was a student, making him a viral sensation.
Kanye West mentions that Keef is one of the inspirations for him due to his originality and bold music.