After a decade-plus of work in Houston's underground scene, veteran Lil Keke is now prepared to introduce his first attempt at mainstream recognition.
Since signing with Universal Records in March 2007, Keke has been hard at work completing Loved by Few, Hated By Many.
After months of meticulous work, Keke is confident that he's crafted an album that is wholly Texas, but not chock full of the stereotypical topics associated with the region.
"I'm used to making albums real quick, but I took my time on this 'cause its my first mainstream album," Keke explained to AllHipHop.com. "I took about a year and a half to make this. It's not gonna be the same Texas rap, talking about bo's and candy paint. I'm gonna paint pictures of every walk of this game."
The Houston staple has come a long way since first joining the late DJ Screw's Screwed Up Clik over 10 years ago at the age of 16.
Recalling the late pioneer's chopped and screwed style, an innovation that's become a cornerstone of Houston's sound, Keke chuckled in amazement at how oblivious the collective was to the history they were creating.
"There wasn't even a booth. The microphone was just out in the middle of the room," Keke told AllHipHop.com of his early sessions with DJ Screw. "We wasn't doing nothing but having fun and next thing we knew, people were calling us to come do these freestyles at their shows. I was 17 getting paid $2000 just to do one song."
Regarding the new generation of Houston emcees, Keke is appreciative of them carrying on the traditions.
However, he is adamant in making clear the origin on their styles. "The style you hear Paul Wall, Mike Jones, and Slim Thug doing was created from my style," Keke claimed. "The slang that they're using is a slang they got from me when they were coming up and riding around. I was the first one that put that slang out and made it sell."
The lead single from Lil Keke's new album is "I'm a G," featuring Cash Money's Baby AKA Birdman.
Loved By Few, Hated By Many hits stores today.