Almighty So 2

Almighty So 2

It’s not easy being ahead of your time: You have to wait years for the world to catch up. Such was the case when an 18-year-old Chief Keef followed up his anthemic major-label debut (2012’s Finally Rich) with a pair of self-released 2013 mixtapes (August’s Bang, Pt. 2 and October’s Almighty So) that sounded obscure in comparison, prompting many a claim that he’d fallen off as quickly as he’d gotten on. These days, you can hear echoes of both projects everywhere, in particular Almighty So, the better of the two. You might argue that the slurry, intuitive style which has dominated the past decade of rap began here. Eleven long years later, the project’s sequel arrives after a half decade of teasing. (Keef previewed Almighty So 2’s initial cover art way back in 2019.) Hip-hop’s reinvented itself a dozen times over in that time span, perhaps the only constant being Keef’s enduring influence. On Almighty So 2, the 28-year-old veteran sounds as if he’s well aware of just how tall his legacy looms. “I done been through so much smoke to where I couldn’t even see myself,” he raps in his oft-copied swing on “Treat Myself” before busting out a classic Sosa-ism: “Diamonds shining off my charm, I think I Christmas tree’d myself!” He spits fire and brimstone over sinister church choirs on “Jesus,” puffs out his chest on the soulful “Runner,” and offers up the most demented Scarface impression since Future circa 2011 on “Tony Montana Flow.” And on “Believe,” the former teenage phenom is now a man who’s done some soul-searching in his time off from shaping the sound of modern rap.

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