Chief Keef, the 16-year-old unsigned rapper from Chicago, is still on house arrest at his Grandma's, but now he has a Kanye West remix to his name, because technology has had something of an effect on musical collaborations. Instead of recording in the studio together, Kanye sent some producers from his new label, G.O.O.D. music, to Keef's home in Chicago, where they set up a laptop and a microphone. Keef typed out a verse onto his iPhone on the spot, then yelled into a microphone for a few minutes, and this banger of a street remix was born.
The original "I Don't Like" was released back in March, and while the beat had the same trancelike repetitiveness to it then, it lacked a certain extra something—and only Kanye West could know what that something was, and then add it, flawlessly, in a song that improves exponentially upon the original. Young Chop, the record's original producer, isn't happy about the adaptation ("I don't give two fucks," he said on Chicago radio last night, "I will sue the shit out of Kanye West"), but everyone else is.
The remix features verses from Pusha T (formerly one half of the Virginia duo Clipse), Kanye, Keef, Big Sean, and Jadakiss. Much like Kanye's "Way Too Cold"—known for a moment as "Theraflu"—the record sounds celebratory, but it still has a sizable chip on its shoulder. For Kanye, who leaned on the looked-over rapping producer identity for many years, that's a fairly natural posture to take: "They steal your whole sound, that's a soundbite," he raps in the second verse, "The media crucify me like they did Christ / They want to find me not breathin' like they found Mike."
It's a funny contrast to Keef, who sounds necessarily young and overmatched in this company. Keef raps about one-night stands while Kanye spits casually about "girls kissing girls" (he also gets in what I think is his fifth career "dyke" rhyme, which feels a little lazy); Keef raps about "smokin' on this dope" while Jada references selling both "purple" and "white"; Keef raps about spending "a bunch" on clothes while Pusha waxes on his Hublot watch and his "three hoes" in Soho and Tribeca. Somehow, and in just a couple months, we're far removed from a handful of shirtless teenaged boys bouncing around Keef's Grandma's living room—even though he's still there. That's the magic of Kanye.