After watching a YouTube video I went right out and bought the keyrah v2 and built a retropie that consisted of the keyrah, the powerblock and obviously the pi.
I must be missing a fundamental concept though, my goal is to be able to use the COMMODORE-SPECIFIC keys for their intended purposes (Run-Stop, Commodore key, asterisk key, etc) but it appears that all I can do is use the Commodore keyboard that is mapped to US101 keys. I am sure there's just something I am not getting and I look forward to bridging the gap in my knowledge. I kind of put this project aside when I came into this confusion. It works very well for Nintendo, Super Nintendo and some Atari games...but I want to have the 2 joystick/C64 keyboard experience mimic my original C64...if possible.