Lil' Keke may not have moved as many units as Ludacris or Mystikal, but make no mistake: He's one of the most talented rappers in the late-'90s/early-2000s Dirty South scene, arguably the best MC in Houston, TX. And Keke indeed goes out of his way to let you know this on Platinum in the Ghetto -- the title itself commenting on his cult status. Yet as impressive as Keke's rhymes and posturing was on his early albums, his beats and his songwriting were admittedly lacking. Finally, Keke seems to have remedied these weaknesses on this album, his first for Koch and first since DJ Skrew's untimely yet highly publicized death. Keke seems to have realized his own trademark style of beats here, eschewing generic Mannie Fresh-meets-Timbaland Dirty South beats in favor of a different sound that never resorts to cliché or emulation. And it doesn't hurt, either, that these beats sound polished. In addition to the fresh beats, Keke also brings some much improved songwriting to the table for this album. Every song here has a catchy hook, and many feature soulful female vocals -- in other words, the sort of accessible singalong choruses crossover audiences require. Yet before you holler "sellout," it's important to note that Keke never strays far from his Texas roots. There are a hearty number of guests here, all from the South, and Keke's lyrical themes are very Dirty South-centric, best showcased on songs like "Cowgirl" and "Where da South At?" Overall, Platinum in the Ghetto is one of the best Dirty South albums of 2001, not quite as commercial as efforts by Ludicris and Missy but surely ranking right up there with the bigger artists from the South. And surely Keke's most impressive album to date.
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier
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