Just before July 4th, Chief Keef dropped "Ain't Missing You," a somber tribute to his late cousin Big Glo, who was tragically gunned down in Chicago in 2014. The track sounded like nothing Keef had done before: in place of the drill drums and delirious threats came an uptempo, pop-leaning nod to The Police's "Every Breath You Take"—incidentally, the same song that Puff Daddy and Faith Evans made their own for their Biggie tribute—and Tina Turner's "Missing You," complete with a heartfelt R&B chorus by singer Jenn Em. In a statement, the video's production company FilmOn explained that "Ain't Missing You" "signals a new, more mature phase in the rapper's career as he works to raise awareness about the violence in 'Chiraq' he was once part of." The track gained wide praise, but caught fans off guard: who or what was FilmOn, and did this mean Keef was going pop, in a way that only he could? Here's what you need to know.
Chief Keef signed to FilmOn this past spring
It was back in April that Chief Keef took to Instagram to announce a deal with FilmOn, a shadowy web-streaming service that allows users to stream live television from their laptops and mobile devices.
FilmOn is a little controversial to say the least
It was to the ire of major broadcasting networks and streaming platforms, who have unsuccessfully tried to sue FilmOn for over three years, claiming it stands to threaten "every revenue model supporting the United States television industry."
Alki David, FilmOn's founder, is a man of many passions
The man behind FilmOn, and apparently now behind Keef, is 48-year-old Alki David, a Greek heir to a Coca Cola bottling facility who has used his immense $1.7 billion fortune to bankroll a variety of passion projects over the past decade, including a modeling agency, film and television studios, and a hologram concert production company that once aimed to produce a posthumous Amy Winehouse tour. He again gained web fame earlier this year for challenges to the public to streak in front of President Obama and Chicago Mayor Emanuel.
Which you'll quickly realize if you watch this documentary he made about himself
Lord of the Freaks, a self-produced documentary David released this June, chronicles his whirlwind career in Hollywood with focus on his user-generated video network BattleCam, which has been described as YouTube on LSD. The doc features cameos from friends and fans like Andy Dick, Fred Durst, Kato Kaelin, Amy Fisher, and Corey Feldman.
Maybe that's why Keef likes working with him
For now, the relationship seems fruitful. On Keef's Instagram, David is spotted reviewing a cut of the "Ain't Missing You" video, inquiring about a brand of headphones that the featured singer sports in a shot. "Whose those headphones?" he asks. "I can sell that." For an artist as autonomous and eccentric as Keef, it may be a match made in heaven: a mentor with unlimited bankroll and an open mind, who specializes in monetizing the most insane corners of the web with little to no regard for authority. If the scene above is any indication, Keef seems to have found a sweet set-up, side-stepping traditional major label routes for new resources, and new rules.