Big K.R.I.T. – ‘Live From The Underground’ | Album Review



The tale of emerging from the underground to the mainstream was once the story of many rappers. Now it is more common to hear an artist boast of his much narrower dominion. Proud of his southern residency and allegiance to the underground, Mississipi’s Big K.R.I.T. has managed to create some of Hip-Hop’s best work in recent years due to remaining in these spheres.

Previous projects K.R.I.T Wuz Here, Return of 4Eva and 4Eva and a Day all possessed a nutritious helping of soulful rap and diary-like entries which have done more for his stock than any of the alleged publicity stunts most A-list rappers are pulling. Now, with his debut studio album Live from the Undergroud, Big K.R.I.T. invites all to experience the fine work he has built up to this point.

Rather than blasting out a hardcore ode to the niche Hip-Hop market, K.R.I.T’s opening track “LFU300MA” is more tranquil and somewhat poetic, akin to OutKast‘s classic “Spottieottiedopaliscious.” K.R.I.T.’s message is worlds away from the “YOLO” and “money over everythang” motifs as his communal, “all for one” stance is inserted into a majority of the material.

The title track “Live From The Underground” has a real homely feel to it channelling a deep south, Sunday afternoon spirit, not to mention having a backing chorus and harmonica to really emphasize his southern love. K.R.I.T. further declares his allegiance to the Dirty-Dirty with “Cool To Be Southern,” a funky, horn-heavy affair that channels the spirit of past Goodie Mob hits.

By linking with southern kingpins 8 Ball and MJG and 2 Chainz on “Money On The Floor,” bringing a story to the bass-thumping “My Sub (Part 2: The Jacking)” and hollering at the freaks with Atlanta great Ludacris on “What U Mean,” K.R.I.T. proves that he doesn’t merely keep it spiritual as he confidently shares tales from his pimp chronicles.

Although K.R.I.T. makes enjoyable lowriding, club-stomping cuts, Live From The Underground is most in its comfort zone when chronicling the trials and struggles of young Justin Scott. “Don’t Let Me Down” pins down the lowkey demeanour he plays while in the midst of the less fortunate, and he brings Melanie Fiona on board to help him lyrically tackle his growing pains on “If I Fall.”

For those looking for a consistent mood of either sombre cuts or gangsta stylings, Live From The Underground‘s ever-changing pace will leave you favouring one set of tracks over the other as K.R.I.T. often goes from the soulful and easing (“Praying Man” featuring B.B. King) to raucous (“Yeah Dat Me”). Nevertheless, the conviction of the 25-year-old’s performances on all tracks leaves no room to cast a skeptical eye, as he displays authenticity and maturity throughout.

Big K.R.I.T.’s studio debut doesn’t necessarily offer a new side of the rapper; instead, it focuses on enhancing his previously-displayed qualities to mainstream status. With no track that really stands out as an instant hit, K.R.I.T. stays loyal to the underground by crafting songs of struggle, pain, overzealous joys and more, passing off a more-than-successful first offering to the masses.

Big K.R.I.T. is rapper with the potential to consistently drop acclaimed material, and Live From The Underground is an ode not only to a secluded area of rap but also to the art of making timeless material which will ensure a musical longevity that many struggle to attain.

Big K.R.I.T. – Live From The Underground
Released: June 5, 2012
Label: Def Jam
Buy: Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk

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