Lil Keke Shows True Heart of a Hustla, Talks Z-Ro's "Retirement"
Lil Keke at House of Blues in March 2011
Photo by Marco Torres
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. Continuing on from our interview Friday, Keke tackles the mentality behind some of the city's newer artists in the city, what we can expect to hear on his upcoming Heart Of A Hustla album and whether or not Z-Ro actually retired. We let him start this time.
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.
I see new artists making all the videos, they diving off the wall, tiring & 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.
RO: 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 school teacher. 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 McDonalds to the newspapers to my own idea, hustlers. This is quality street music.
RO: "Candy Red" is the first single, right?
LK: Not really, it was just a leak from the album. Hence "the leak." I got a track with Z-Ro, "Do It Again", another called "Lights", I got a few of them.
RO: Speaking of Z-Ro, do you really think he retired on Twitter?
LK: Man, hell (laughs). Nah, I didn't even see that, that's what he said?
RO: That's what he said.
LK: He said he not going back on there? He said he retiring from the game or he retiring from Twitter?
RO: He said and I'm paraphrasing, "As I leave leave this game."
LK: Nah, they'll book him for a show tomorrow. He gon' get that money. He ain't goin' nowhere. I don't know man, Ro that's my partner, you know -- ain't no tellin' with him.
RO: It's never no tellin'.
LK: I ain't goin' nowhere! You see 2 Chainz still here, I'm still here let's get it.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Houston, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.