Lil Keke's Heart of a Hustla


As a legend and someone who's done everything on his own terms, Lil Keke sees the current climate in Houston and must adapt. Hence him crafting his first-ever free mixtape in Da Leak. In our conversation, Keke tackles the mentality behind some of the city's newer artists and what we can expect to hear on his upcoming album, Heart of a Hustla. We let him start.

Lil Keke: I see a lot of the new music; some of what's going on is that everybody isn't gonna be Drake and Wayne and they don't see that. I don't do this for free; I make money off of this. If I don't make no sense of getting to the money, then I don't understand it. I don't knock it, but it's going to run you into the ground.

Lil Keke onstage at House of Blues for his birthday party in March 2011.
Marco Torres
Lil Keke onstage at House of Blues for his birthday party in March 2011.

I see new artists making all the videos; they diving off the wall, tiring and wearing themselves out. They wear themselves so thin that when it don't pop for them, they don't understand. One thing about the streets, when you make good music, they don't go nowhere. Win your hood, win your people.

That's what I loved about [D. Sims]. He brought his people out; they aren't scared to support him.

Rocks Off: Do you feel like a lot of the newer guys feel entitled about their position. Like they deserve to be at a certain spot?

LK: Well, the bad thing for them is that the game's crowded now. I got to eat when it wasn't crowded and I was damn near the only one. Now it's crowded and you have to do something significant. It don't matter if they feel like they're owed something 'cause you have to outwork.

For example, Doughbeezy, look where he's coming from — that's work, work, work, work. Some feel they get a chain, do me a video, they're ready. Find out how to eat without the radio. That way you can really eat.

RO: What can people expect from Heart of a Hustla?

LK: People automatically thinking, "He'll be talking about some street shit." Nah, I'm talking about the cab driver, the single parent, the schoolteacher. I'm talking about the dude selling rocks. Anybody that changed that situation and got hustle in their heart.

I'm not talking about the man under the bridge with both his arms and his legs and he got the sign when McDonald's is right there. I'm talking about the hustler who goes from McDonald's to the newspapers to my own idea, hustlers. This is quality street music.

Pop Life

Amanda Palmer: Crowdsourcing or Exploitation?

Amanda Palmer is learning that Biggie was right: More money does in fact equal more problems.

Awhile back, Palmer created a Kickstarter project for her new album and tour. Her thousands of fans came together to donate, and the end result was a project that had $1 million to its name.

Whether she knew it at the time or not, the reality is that money is a blessing and a curse. While it allows her to work as an independent musician away from the corporate music landscape, it also allows people to use that money as a weapon when she makes unpopular decisions.

This is how "Amanda Palmer crowdsources musicians for upcoming tour" becomes "Millionaire wants backing band to play for free."

The facts are these:

Amanda Palmer made $1 million to fund her album and tour, among other things.

Amanda Palmer wrote a blog seeking volunteers in the various cities her tour is hitting to complement her touring band. These "professional-ish" musicians would be paid in beer, high-fives, merch and/or thank-yous.

People got really upset with this request. Cory Garcia

Note: The day after Palmer played Fitzgerald's last week, she announced she would pay all the musicians she hired for the duration of the tour.

Things That Make Us Feel Old

Are these the most anticipated Albums of 2013? Seriously?

Last week a Web site (magazine?) called Loudwire posted its list of the most anticipated rock albums of 2013. The first question we have is "Anticipated by whom?" Because if the answer is "People who love music," then we've got some major problems here.

4. Alice in Chains

The second album from the post-Layne Staley incarnation of Alice In Chains. Rocks Off never listened to the first, 2009's Black Gives Way to Blue. All the best to the band and their new singer, but we just couldn't do it. Sorry. And even if Layne Staley were still alive, would we be excited enough about a new Alice in Chains album to put it in the Top 10? For the answer to that question, please see the Pearl Jam entry.

Will it be any good? Don't know. Not something we can bring ourselves to get into, good or not.

Will it actually come out? We would have bet that the 2009 album wouldn't happen, but it did, so this one probably will, too.

3. Tool

In case you hadn't picked up the pattern already: This is not a list that gives any semblance of a shit about new, exciting music. Sure, Tool are a great band, and yes, it's been a good long while since we had new material from them, but for Christ's sake, does anyone involved with the making of this list listen to any bands that were formed in the last ten years?

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