Twelve albums, and fifteen years into his career, the H-Town legend, Lil' KeKe (Da Don) finally gets his big deal release on Universal Motown with "Loved By Few, Hated By Many", where is is finlly given the chance to get his distinct Houston style of rap to wider audiences across the globe.
1. "Act A Fool With It"
With hyped track starts the release off and it is just what I hoped, and expected to hear from him as he goes for a street banger, where he talks us through what it is like in H-Town (Houston, Texas), and hw it sits as one of the Hip Hop culture hotspots of the US. It is certainyl a good way to kick things off.
Many southern rappers, especially those from Houston, Miami and Memphis, have a thing about their hierachy being lead by the patriarchal figure of a "Boss", and for this one, Lil' KeKe takes up this role in his community. For iths track, he manages to reinfore this position with a tough track filled with Gangsta activities he claims to take part in regulalry.
3. "Money In The City"
The second single from the album, featurign many of the top names from Houston is a banger of a tune as it gets all the best talent together, Slim Thug, Paul Wall and the R&B singer Tre Virdue together in a killer track, in which they all explain their individual hustles.
4. "Miss My Boyz"
You can surely work out what this track is about from the title, and it does very littel to change the perseption which you don't have as he simply raps in a sombre way, to gentle production, about how his life has changed due to the deaths of certain friends who he grew up with, but lost their lives to the streets.
5. "4 Doors and Coupes"
You get the rapper chagign things up for this one as he directs his rhymes towards a particualr girl who he is with as he perfroms this one, and he paints a picture as he goes about the day and does thigns with her. It all focuses aroudn them crusiing the streets, and the melodic riff suits it, but it wasn't that engaging for this reason.
6. "I'm A G"
Here's the track which brought me in, and made me realises the artist was finally going to get things going big name on the southern scene, and he shows off what Hoston is about with a 'screweed' hook and heavy production, all lead by bass. He usues it to perform a trill Gangsta Rap cut with pure street appeal.
7. "What's It Made For"
An adult-themed track comes in this one, and it seemingly follows on from "4 Doors and Coupes" where he was out with a girl, but here he takes it to the bedroom with her and does what he does with her there. The input of Blak fis in with the track, as he does soft R&B singign in the chorus, but his voice was a little weak, and lowered the quality of the whole thing, which is a shame with such nice production.
Tre Vidue joins Kek again,. and he offers his soft voclas to the track to clam things down, makign it suitable for the rapper to get on the thing, and reserve much of his words. However for me it seemed to prevent him from going into any Gangsta Rap, what he performs best at, instead of general stuff which H-Towers talk about, such as their candy-painted whips.
9. "She Loves Gangsta's"
As you can probably guess, this is another slower track from the artist, and has him lower the tempo to talk about how the girls he is with clearly have a thing for Gs such as himself, and so he describes all the things which go into making somone like himself.
10. "Suga Daddy"
The theme which has come through (for several tracks now) continues onto this, one however I felt that he worked a lot better on this one than the rest like thisas he is given more lively production and he seems to have more fun as he works with a female guest singer, Vlissa Martinez, who seems to perform better with him than Tre Vidue.
11. "Traffic Slowed Down"
I was immediately excited when I heard the opening to this as the Chopped and Screwed techniques used in "I' A G" returns to this one, and has him return to the street stuff for those who will gave enjoyed his earlier work. I foudn that this one made me annoyed more than happy for hearing it as it emphassies the lack of tunes like this.
12. "Scholarships 2 The Pen"
Howard M. Xfyle does an important job in producing this conscious track from Keke, and it has him switch what he's about, as he decides to do a track about the life people life himself lead, and how this is a perfect plan to go straight to jail. He does little to offer alternative ways to get out of the system, but does tlak of what it is likely to lead to.
13. "Slab Holiday"
Ending the album off, you get the rapper slwoign things down in the Houston way (not to tlak to the girls) as he goes for a heavy cut, in which he is able to go deep and tlak about the drugs poeple get down with on the southside. The interaction between the beats and the rhymes is perfect, and this one would make for a great Micheal '5000' Watts remix.
I had big expectations for this album, since he was given a chance to really show of to a wider audience. However I left he wasted it as he went away from the street roots he has, to go for more radio-friendly tracks, which simply dosen't represent what he is about. For Swishahouse album, I would have expected a couple more rap collabs, and this would have stopped him from changing the direction of the album this drastically. For me, this album was nothing more than average.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Act a Fool with It - Lil' Keke
2 Boss - Miss Asiah, Lil' Keke
3 Money in the City - Lil' Keke, Slim Thug, , Paul Wall
4 Miss My Boyz - Lil' Keke, Crys Wall
5 4 Doors and Coupes - Lil' Keke
6 I'm a G - Lil' Keke
7 What It's Made For - Blak, Lil' Keke
8 Phenominal - Lil' Keke,
9 She Love Gangsta's - Lil' Keke
10 Suga Daddy - Lil' Keke
11 Traffic Slowed Down - Lil' Keke,
12 Scholarships 2 the Pen - Lil' Keke
13 Slab Holiday - Lil' Keke, Crys Wall