lil keke – platinum in da ghetto

There’s so much southern rap to explore i feel like every time i pick up an album it is just another piece of an impossibly large puzzle, and I’m trying to create some sort of story of southern rap in my head and realized after awhile that it’s near impossible. It’s a massive network of influences and styles and artists and just when you think you have a grasp on it you get a curveball that makes you look at the whole system in a new light.

But whatever enough analysis bullshit, because in the end its just about the music – trying to explain it is nowhere near as fun as just listening to it and it makes trying to get it to fit into one narrative structure seem pointless. Not that Keke is exactly an obscure part of the southern rap lineage or anything, (in fact I copped this album from a bargain bin on name recognition alone. 3 n tha morning part 2 has been my shit for a couple months now, but thats another story) and it’s sort of uneven, jumping from dreams for the future and stories about life and staying on yr grind to these big southern party jams over some low-budget bass-rocking beats. I’m not as big a fan of the party tracks, and maybe i’m just a sucka for newer sounds and the dated production just doesn’t really do it for me. For me this album is much more about Keke as an MC and he comes across a lot better relating the everyday experiences and love for life in general than as a rowdy party guy. Not that those always contradict – but in this case tracks like “Cowgirl” just aren’t as great as, well:

The real gem comes near the very end, it’s called “What I wanna Do” and it comes right before the final party cut “Let’s Get Fucked Up,” and its got a corny-ish R&B chorus but it is striking; keke talks about his 16-year-old-love-life with so much personality and heart-on-his-sleeve emotion in his voice that its impossible not to identify on some level; “it ain’t nothin but love and ain’t a damn thang changed.” The final verse to his son: “you my heart, you my soul, you my pride and joy,” but the beautiful part isn’t the general sentiments like these that lend it such an affecting feel, it’s the specific details, the little things, “you throw your dukes up like you ready to fight,” descriptions that make it all seem so personal and specific. If you think its corny i say go away. Check out the song, and buy the album at half.com, apparently there’s a mint copy for less than five bucks and Amazon might have a used copy pretty cheap too.

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