Tuesday, July 10, 2012

High Above The ‘Underground’ (Summer Grind Issue 2012)

Courtesy of Lucius Black for Royalty Magazine

For a long time I have been singing the praises of a certain rapper. It isn’t because that we both have the common threads of being eloquent, deeper colored in skin complexion, or because we both have the distinction of being Southern born. My admiration and respect for the Mississippi rapper Big K.R.I.T. comes from his ability to tell an amazing story, to paint a picture of what the South truly is. Many have called him the heir to Southern hip-hop legends like UGK or OutKast. Mostly I am inclined to agree purely based off the mixtapes which I have all but memorized. But it’s the debut album that defines an artist.

I once wrote a story that stated in so many words that a successful follow-up album was slippery. In a lot the same way but with a greater degree a successful debut is just as tricky.

It is my honor to say that with his newly released debut Live From The Underground, Big K.R.I.T. has done just that.

Live From The Underground is a masterpiece not only in the production which, for the most part, was done wholly by K.R.I.T. himself. The features run the gamut as far as diversity goes. These features include 2 Chainz, 8Ball & MJG, Ludacris, Bun B, Anthony Hamilton, Melanie Fiona, Devin the Dude, Big Sant, and Ms. Linnie.

Of all these features the one I commend him for most would be his collaboration with the legendary blues artist B.B. King. The track, called “Praying Man” is a beautifully given prayer over a slow, introspective sort of beat with B.B.’s vocals playing as the perfect refrain. Here you can hear that K.R.I.T. like any of us has his troubles and he looks to God to rise beyond them.

My favorite song is probably the most profoundly Southern track of the album. It’s called “Hydroplaning”. It’s a syrupy, slow riding anthem assisted by the always amazing Devin the Dude. This song (like other K.R.I.T. classics like “Rotation” and “Cruise Control”) is another of those tracks you play in your car as you’re on the way towards one thing or another

Also check out: “If I Fall”, “Porchlight”, “My Sub (Pt. 2: The Jackin')

I have always said that K.R.I.T.’s mixtapes play like full length albums but I was wrong and I’m glad for it. Having heard (and listened) to this album cover to cover about three or four times I can say that K.R.I.T.’s debut goes to a place high above the underground, a place that I’m glad that good hip-hop has reached.

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