Artist of the day: Lil Kee
In 2007, aspiring music mogul Keith “Lil Kee” Norates of Tampa was struggling to get local hip-hop stations to play his solo record as he balanced his responsibilities as a husband and father with his dream of becoming a successful deejay, rapper and producer. He was, as he put it, “staying on my grind. Just working hard.”
Two years later, he’s still on his grind, with new singles to create, new artists to promote and new deals in the works. In the past two years, Norates has heard several songs he’s produced or rapped on the radio, including Lil Mama, I Rock, Drunk in VIP and Shawty Tear It Up. He’s gone from renting a two-bedroom house in Tampa to owning a Riverview house with five bedrooms — enough space for his family, with a room left over for a studio.
On Thursday, Lil Kee with perform with Javon Black at Club Skye’s New Year’s Eve bash. It’s from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. at 1509 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. Ages 18 and up. Ladies enter free until 10 p.m. and drink free until 10:30 p.m. General admission $15-$100; see skye1509.com or call (813) 247-6606 for details. On Friday, Lil Kee will DJ at his birthday party from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. at Studio Inc., 3603 W Waters Ave., Tampa. Ages 18 and up. $10-$20. For details, call the manager at (813) 833-5761. For more on Lil Kee, see myspace.com/lilkee813.
Two years ago, Dalia Colon shadowed Lil Kee for two months to find out what it's like for an aspiring hip-hop mogul in Tampa to stay on his grind. To see what Lil Kee's been up to since then, check out Dalia's latest story here.
-- Photo (2007) by Luis Santana, tbt*