What’s good about Chief, the east Austin, TX native is that he is a throwback to a golden era in underground hip hop (1996 – 2001). It’s not that he is stuck in that time period it’s just the platform that he operates on. When listening to his latest project “Transition Man” it sounds like he hasn’t listened to popular radio or the top 20 in about 10 years. The album is 10 songs that show how Chief revels in being the opposite of popular. He doesn’t want to be your favorite rapper he wants to be listened to, not heard but listened to. His bars are open to many different interpretations, 3 people can listen and come away with 6 different meanings and they will probably be different than his original intention. Chief if the ultimate underground artist it’s clear that he does this for the artistic merit. His catalog will be found by some teenager in about 20 years and that teen will think it’s some of the dopest shit he / she has ever heard.
Transition Man starts with “New Zulu Zandu” it sounds like a train coming at you and features some dope rhyme cadences by Chief. By the time you get to “Money From Home” you start to understand that this is underground hip hop no questions about it. “Cornflower Blue” has a real early 90s hip hop feel, when hip hop started to use heavy jazz samples and the X-Clan sample puts you back in that space. “Disgraceland” seems to be the embodiment of how Chief feels about this album. In his own words “it’s a very deeply personal and cathartic album for me. All about accountability, perspective and reflection.”