In the last few years, Chief Keef didn't stop being the prolific rapper we know. He collaborated with Zaytoven and he provided follow-ups to the Leek and GloFiles mixtapes. None of these, though, pretended to be an official work. The only one that can be qualified as such is the album he released in 2021, the first since Dedication, four years earlier.


And damned… it was definitely worth the wait. Here, Chief Keef is euphoric and triumphant. He starts 4NEM with a reminder that, in Chicago – he lives in L.A., nowadays – he was a survivor, which his grandmother confirms on the first track, "Bitch Where". And on the rest of the album, Keith Cozart proves it: he is still alive, he is even at his very best.

"Foenem" is some slang from Chicago that designates a clan, friends, close ones. And actually, this album is entirely that: an entrenchment into Chief Keef's old foundations. The only guests are Tadoe and BallOut, two pillars of his Glo Gang collective, and the music looks like he's back to basics.

Incendiary tracks such as "Tuxedo", "Say I Ain’t Pick Yo Weak Ass Up" and "Picking Big Sean Up" remind us about everything the original drill music owes to Lex Luger and Waka Flocka, with their hedonism, violence, and nihilism, and with their defiant and boisterous trap music that likes to play the same simplistic melodies over different octaves.

There are other influences, like Memphis, when Chief Keef uses the old production style of the city on "Shady", when he changes Three 6 Mafia's "Slob On My Knob" into “Like It’s Yo Job”, with the same pornographic approach as the original, or when he hijacks Young Buck's "Stomp", also produced by DJ Paul and Juicy J, on his own “Hadouken”.

Recently, some blamed J. Cole for looting hip-hop in a similar way. However, while the Fayetteville guy tries to mimic his idols, Chief Keef just follows his instinct and desires. He never sacrificed them to his career plans. And when he goes back to the sound that defined him, it's not to tread water.

Chief Keef doesn't make his influences look clean. Quite the opposite: he mistreats them, crudely, like with the amazing drums and brutal admonitions on "See Through", the changes of tone on "The Talk", "Hadouken", and "Picking Big Sean Up", or the peculiar flow he arrogates on "Yes Sir".

Apart from bland moments such as the lazily Auto-Tuned "Ice Cream Man", "Wazzup" and "I Don't Think They Love Me", this is Chief Keef like in the early days, but in 2021.

Buy this album