Big K.R.I.T is from the South, which is a region that hasn’t had a lot of great consistent music since Outkast, Scarface & UGK. The South has been looked at as the unfortunate cousin that’s the most rambunctious at a family gathering – they’re the embarrassment of the music industry, and there is much truth to that. If you look at the states like Georgia, Mississippi, Texas & Florida, that’s the club-making, booty-shaking music that doesn’t get shown love north of the Mississippi River. The other coasts (East & West) have their history and building legacies going for them, while the South has been steady trying to find a voice that doesn’t represent guns & drugs at all times (not saying that they don’t live that life, but still). J Cole is there, but I don’t even consider North Carolina the south, but when you look at Big K.R.I.T, I see a young Scarface because of his story-telling abilities. He talks about the struggle of living in the South, especially being from Mississippi. He’s a young voice that can represent his people in a positive light, sort of like how Kendrick Lamar represents Compton in the music industry.
K.R.I.T Wuz Here, Return of 4Eva, 4Eva N A Day, and now finally – his debut album, Live From the Underground. All of those mixtapes were stepping-stones on his journey to being where he is now, and now he’s bringing his story that he was telling through social networking, and bringing it to your local music stores. I listened to the album early (not a leak – it streamed online) and the feeling I got from it was that he was reiterating his passion for the South and retelling the story for new listeners, and continuing his journey for the old listeners. Even by the cover art, you know it’s a journey (the car crashing into the mainstream world). The concept is great because he’s telling you straight up that he’s coming into the mainstream world with his underground mentality and still remaining true to himself. He recorded & produced his whole album, which just goes to show you that he’s much more than just a rapper – he’s a creative artist in different aspects.
Starting off with an intro that sets off an automated message, the listener is being told to be prepared for what they’re about to listen to, and then K.R.I.T comes in with a monologue explaining his hard work to getting to this album by not rapping about the generic things, but remaining true to the soul and focusing on positive light. He makes references to his mixtapes and the smooth beat being played essentially puts you in a place where you know you’re about to hear something good.
2. Live From the Underground
A majority of his beats sound similar, but that’s his style, so I’m not knocking that. Reason why I say that is because it sounded like the start of Lions & Lambs (from Return of 4Eva), but it was smooth (as all of the beats on this album were) and I didn’t mind it. It reminded me of like an ATLiens or Aquemini feel, to be quite honest (especially the humming). Telling his story about struggle and coming up through the underground, he relates his lyrics to things he’s seen or heard on his way here, and ends up crashing into the mainstream with the skit at the end. I loved the metaphorical reference in this.
3. Cool to Be Southern
Being from the South is more than an accent; the lifestyle is misunderstood because of what’s shown on TV. Southerners are known to be humble people who keep within their traditional lives and appreciate the small things, so when big things happen, they never forget where they come from. K.R.I.T emphasizes that they make it cool to be Southern because they’re laid back and enjoy their lifestyle without having much of a fuss or fight. Having met K.R.I.T in person, he’s really a humble guy, so this just goes to show that he is what he raps about.
4. I Got This
Have you ever got someone to give you a piece of advice when you\re already doing fine all by yourself, because they feel like you’re not going to make it doing what you’re doing? This song is for you; just tell them “shut up, I got this.” In this song, he’s stating that he doesn’t have to switch up who he is just to impress other people. He’s going to “get it how he lives” and continue to succeed with it. It shows great confidence and it’s a positive message to send out to other people, saying that they can do whatever they want to do and not let anyone try to influence them – great message.
5. Money on the Floor (Feat. 8Ball & MJG, and 2 Chainz)
Everyone needs that one song that’s made for the strip club – this would be it. First time I heard this song a couple of months back, I was like “HELL YES!” The beat, the artists on it – everything was just dope about it. It’s a song to boast about money, who doesn’t do it nowadays? 2 Chainz had the best verse on this track, and he’s not even all that lyrical. He’s a hype trap music artist, but you know what? He fit this song perfectly. Overall great song.
6. What U Mean (Feat. Ludacris)
Targeting the haters on this one, K.R.I.T gets aggressive on this one and takes the role of a pimp to lay the smackdown on the people who doubt him and he shows off what he has to just emphasize “hold on, don’t you see what I have here? C’mon now.” Women love to live double lives, so basically K.R.I.T & Luda are pointing out the frauds out there that just want to get put on. You want to come with, but you’re not really who you say you are? Why bother? That’s the message here.
7. My Sub (Pt. 2 – The Jackin’)
For the older listeners, we remember part one to ‘My Sub,’ talking about haters back then asking where he’s at, but since then, he still has his sub, but has made changes to it. Basically, it’s his progression with an upgraded feel to it. There’s a little twist to it though; he’s got a girl with a man she doesn’t care about, but of course, women being sneaky, it’s all a set-up, and Krizzle gets robbed – the plot thickens.
8. Don’t Let Me Down
There’s about 3 meanings to this song; he’s high and he doesn’t want to come down, he doesn’t want to fail with what he’s doing, and he’s gone through a lot of shit on his way up, but he can’t turn back now, he’s got to continue going where his life takes him. – Simple as that. He’s grateful for where he’s at right now, so he doesn’t want people to let him fall (fall off the hip hop radar).
9. Porchlight (Feat. Anthony Hamilton)
An Anthony Hamilton sighting? No freakin’ way. He’s been gone for a long time, but it was good to hear him on this song, he’s a soulful, underrated singer. This is an ode to a woman (or the people of his hometown) that’s at home waiting for him, and you know when you’re waiting for someone to come home, the lights stay on until they come in and turn them off. Again, that’s just a simple idea that runs deeper than just one thing. He works hard, he does what he has to do, but he’ll make his way back home when the work is over.
10. Pull Up (Feat. Big Sant & Bun B)
When he comes through with his success, it’s a wrap for the game. With his strength of his music, he’s determined to take over. In the south, cars are sort of religion – they take pride in their rides. The more stylish they are they know that they can gain the respect of just anyone – including your chick. Bun B & Big Sant provided dope verses flaunting about their rides (metaphorically their rap careers)
11. Yeah Dats Me
Emphasizing that he is who he is; it’s important to have some cockiness in your approach, especially if you’ve worked hard to get to where you are. It’s like you’re looking at yourself in the mirror feeling like a new person and saying “Yeah, that’s me in there looking all fly and cool.” His success should be motivation for people to want to be successful and look at themselves in the same light.
So, another car reference, Hydroplaning is basically when you’re driving over water and there’s space between the tires and the road and you’re just driving on water – simply coasting. This is the beginning of the cooling down portion of the album. He’s in a zone, and he’s just taking the moment to reflect on it. He’s essentially on another level. Devin The Dude isn’t great of a rapper, but he did what he could to contribute. Wasn’t bad – like I said, it’s a really laid back song at this point, but still had a meaningful reference to it.
13. If I Fall (Feat. Melanie Fiona)
CANADIAN CONTENT! Ahh how Melanie Fiona has risen from being a local Toronto girl to an international star in a matter of years. After just releasing her 2nd album in March, she’s been on the radar for R&B, and a lot of attention has been going her way. It’s great to see. In this song, K.R.I.T takes the role of someone who’s been going through a lot of hell just to survive, so he’s asking, if he fails, will someone come to his rescue and help revive him? It’s deep, because I could have used this song a couple of years ago, when things were just going terribly, but this song gives a positive light to saying that it’s necessary to go through the hardships and progress in life, but still remember that you could still fail, so you have to think about who will be there for you when you’re at the bottom.
14. Rich Dad, Poor Dad
Rich Dad, Poor Dad is a self-help book on how to get your life together financially. K.R.I.T in this song is explaining how he grew up with pretty much 1 father but 2 different personalities. He was there, but he wasn’t, and a lot off the lessons learned, he had to go through without that notable figure around, so it helped him grow as a man. A lot of people have that kind of lifestyle where they don’t have that notable figure father figure to help guide them through things. Makes you think about a lot.
15. Praying Man (Feat. B.B. King)
Going through the journey of success, you have to endure a lot of changes, good and bad, but somewhere along that journey, someone comes by your side and helps you where you’re trying to go. He’s in the mind-frame of a runaway slave just trying to figure out where he wants to go, but he just wants to be free to do what he pleases and leave the issues behind him – that’s why he’s running.
16. Live From the Underground (Reprise) (Feat. Ms Linnie)
He’s staying true to himself until the end. He’s going to remain with the underground mentality and soulful style that he brings until it kills him. He’s instilling to people, that he’s run so long and he has to continue to persevere in the game; he can’t just stop running now. He has much more to say, and much more to prove – this is just the beginning for him. It was nice to hear his grandmother at the end of the song (very Drake-esque).
What I got from this album is that K.R.I.T is making his surge into the mainstream world by bringing everything that he knows and vows not to change one thing about him to get his voice across and heard by the mainstream listeners. This is a great first album (I’d say better than J Cole’s & Drake’s first) and it’s one that people should really go out there and buy, because it’s worth the money. I’ve been a fan of K.R.I.T since last year, and it just goes to show you that sticking to who you are and not being afraid to say what’s on your mind the way you want to, has major benefits. I’m happy for him, and I wish him much more success in his rap career, because there’s no doubt in my mind that he will be a great one when it’s all said and done. Enjoy this album, BUY IT!
That’s My Word & It STiXX