Wednesday, February 23, 2011

8. Album Review: Big K.R.I.T.-"K.R.I.T. Wuz Here"

     I feel like I need to get some newer albums out of the way before I can cover some older records. In some ways this is a chore, because although there's a lot of fantastic material that's current, plenty also leaves much to be desired. This is not the case, however, with Big K.R.I.T. (who will now be referred to as Krit, because his name is a pain in the ass to type). His first studio album, K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, has been blowing my mind for the past 4 weeks. 
     Krit, or Justin Scott, hails from Meridian, Mississippi, who's Hip-Hop scene has been relatively barren in years past. It could be argued though, that unleashing Krit upon the world more than makes up for any recent lack of fertility, as his style and quality needs to be recognized. This album is a DIY effort, produced and written entirely by the 24 year old emcee, which is a fact that can't be fully appreciated until the end product is heard. It starts off typical of the Southern Rap genre, with some playalistic jams and I'ma-make-it style tunes, but quickly outgrows itself. Each track gets better and better, so that by the midpoint of the album, we've reached truly high ground and Krit is absolutely working it. I'm excited for you on this one. Hallelujah. 
1. Return of 4eva
    A dense beat, along with someone cutting the shit out of some vinyl, greets you with open arms. Krit's voice is nothing exceptional or distinct, but his Southern accent peeks through nicely and he rides the beat with the ease of a veteran. Big Saint drops some treats throughout, his gruff vocals acting as a nice contrast to Krit's mellow nimbleness. 
Memorable lines:
"Like a pimp, never slack, never fold
Shake 'em off, break 'em and slam 'em like dominoes
On the flo', vamanos, playa made
Replenishin' these bitches with pimpin' like Gatorade"
Product Placement

2. Country Shit
     Lawd, this beat needs its own parade. The chorus is awesome. In fact, the best thing about Hip-Hop's continued merging with Pop is that we're finally getting some fully-realized hooks and serious subject matter. Not that this is serious. It's ridiculous. This song can be summarized solely by the term "balling". I do love the countrified feel, however, and dare you to sit still during this track. Not since the days of UGK, Goodie Mob and Outkast have I been this excited about Southern Rap. A self-proclaimed Kingz fan, the influence Pimp C has had on Krit is clear to hear. 
Memorable lines: 
Nothing extraordinary, especially as this is a short one, but Krit's delivery is smooth as butter. 
3. Just Touched Down 
     Bobby Womack! A pitched-up sample of "Across 110th Street" makes this quintessential "I'm doing my damn thing" track highly enjoyable. Also, this marks the most recent usage of "trill" I've heard since Paul Wall ruined any credibility white people had in Hip-Hop. 

Stop that.

Memorable lines:
"Swingin' lane to lane
Drippin' candy paint
Ain't no ho this side of the Mississippi
Can resist my candy thang" 
Woah! Get sprung. 
4. Hometown Hero
     At first, I was surprised by the Friday Night Lights sample, but it fits well. Also, that's a pretty great film.

Ha. "Boobie".

     A pensive, rueful reflection on his origins, Hometown Hero also has Krit utilizing an Adele sample that makes the song. The chorus kills me. It sounds so mournful and defeated, perfectly capturing the ambiance of cruising with the blues around your town at night. I haven't heard the remixed version featuring Yelawolf yet. 
Memorable lines:
"Number one song and a Grammy, now I'm smashing 
Maserati crashing, swerving through the traffic
Wrap it 'round a pole, sell a mil off the tragedy"
5. Viktorious 
     Holy shit. Krit picks it up a notch, spitting double time over a ominous piano that builds, flexes and then drops some beat with a side of bass. His flow is bananas on this short, but sweet track. 
Memorable lines:
"I don't need a nigga vouchin' for me
That's just how I feel
Never had, never ever been
And I never will
Mississippi never had a run, and they just keep it real
Not like all these other states, Texas had 'em swangin' down
Rich Boy threw some D's on that Alabama certified
Florida's been outta here, Louisiana keep it trill
Lil' Wayne do this thang, Boosie Boy crazy where I live
Memphis, Tenn, y'all got a Three 6 ballin' MJ
Atlanta still the Mecca, artists' blowin' outcha every day"
6. See Me On Top
     The typical gettin'-paper jam. It seems as if Krit didn't want to alienate the average listener too quickly, so he stuffed the first half of this album with solid, but traditional (predictable) tracks. This is still driving, inspirational material, and more listenable than your usual "making it" song. 
Memorable lines:
"Scared 'cause I do it all
What'cha mean you do it all?
Yeah, I really do it all
Produce and mix my own shit
Out-rap all of y'all" 
7. Glass House

Nobody throws something like this. 

More like this. Especially if that something is on fire.

     Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y make appearances, and squeeze out some juicy rhymes. I need to listen to more Curren$y, because his voice is awesome. Wiz surprisingly raps about weed, and Krit, who blows both Wiz and Curren$y out of the water, wraps it up with some implied "big pimping" scenarios. The walking bass line is cookie dough for the ears. 
Memorable lines:
"Dash digital, situation critical
Hate to make it so blatant, baby
But I ain't playin'
Maybe you got me confused
With one of them other dudes
I ain't none of them, 
Under they breath mumbling
Scared to tell them hoes what it is"
8. Children of the World
    The little introduction pussyfoots around, drawing the listener in, denying you the beat until you're getting antsy from the anticipation. Then it explodes, with a gospel choir hollering in the background and keen, introspective lyricism from Krit. In the last minute of the track, the beat cuts out and Krit goes a capella, basically killing it. With his voice cracking, raw and conversational, if by some odd career choice, Krit chose to drop some spoken word material, I'd choose to drop money on it. 
Memorable lines: 
"Where's a scale I could borrow? 'cause living ain't cheap
I dropped out of school, pops, 'cause college ain't free
Plus college ain't me, sittin' in the class
Questions rushin' in my brain, but I'm too proud to ask"
"My girl found time to leave me, too broke to give a fuck, though
My past relationships got like 'what up, ho?'
I'm just bitter, I ain't askin' what you fuck for
As disrepectful, I admit 
I was just sayin', if you wonder why I call you 'bitch'
'cause we just, guess I look up to the pimps
I ain't saying it wasn't wrong, but they had the freshest fits"
Or an estimated 2 gallons of ink embedded in their skin. 

9. They Got Us
    I'm not sure what vocal is being sampled here, but add it to the list of awesome things about this song. A classic "struggle" track, with visceral examples and a despondent tone, Krit's muttering of "only God can judge me now" is haunting. The lines remind me of when The Geto Boys got emotional. The kind of song you listen to with your hand over your mouth, gently shaking your head. 
Memorable lines: 
"He turned to me, so much pain in his eyes
Like he ain't know being black and po' came with a price
He took a toke, as if it eased his mind, 
His nose running heavy 'cause he geekin' lines
Clientele pulled up in a beamer truck,
Served the driver, and he said to me, 'they got us all fucked up'"
10. Good Enough
     Similar to how you may need to take a break from a mediocre album, K.R.I.T. Wuz Here has alike effects, but on the other end of the spectrum. Whereas when you leave a wishy-washy record to take a break and clear the caked blood out of your ears, in hopes to return later with an refreshed palate, with this album, you need to hit pause in order to soak in what you've been exposed to, shake off the piss shivers and wipe away the strands of saliva issuing from your dropped jaw. Krit's obvious love of soul music shines through as he sculpts a killer chorus with all of the right strains and winces in his voice. A foreboding, judgmental "oooo" hovers over your shoulder throughout. You like it. 
Memorable lines:
"My girl think I'm no good, and she should
I ain't done much to make her think different
I never really knew how much I loved her 'til she dipped in
Realized she ain't scared of lions, tigers and bears
But she scared to be in love with me"
"Sweatin' tears, potent rolls with beers 
Liquor helps me think, but I pay the toll in years"
11. No Wheaties 
    As a sports ditty, it has a limited effect on me, for I am athletically retarded. But the beat is sick, with an electric keyboard, honeyed saxophone and thumping upright bass. 

     And the track seems to be inspirational, but I really can't tell. I assume there are a lot sport-references that crest the stratosphere as they fly over my head. My sports knowledge mostly consists of being aware that Dennis Rodman exists and the ability to poorly define what a field goal is.

He gives great back rubs.

12. Something
     More teary-eyed soul. Krit really has an ear for what constitutes a good sample, and how/when to apply it to the appropriate subject matter. This take from Al Green's "Something" is almost unbearably elegiac. An organ miserably repents for past organ-sins in the background. Krit determinedly asserts that he could not leave the game even if he wanted to. Heaven forbid. 
Memorable lines: 
"I can't leave it alone 
I knew I couldn't turn this house of vice into a home"
13. Moon & Stars
     Of course Devin The Dude is going to be featured on the album's sole marijuana rap. But it's in the background, with the goofy romance between the narrator and his squeeze taking the spotlight. 

Prepare yourself. Bud moustaches are finna blow up.

Memorable lines: 
"Let me drop the top while we puff on trees
Let the breeze blow through your weave
As you bop your head to the beat
Come on girl, take them heels off your feet
5 to sweet, right quick
You take a hit and relax, I know you had a long day
I'ma turn up the music, and you can put the phone away" 
14. Neva Go Back
     At the risk of sounding extremely white, I'd like to state that this is my jam. Nostalgia concentrated, crystalized and pure. The slinky guitar riffs only add to the lyrics that'll stop you in whatever tracks you may be located. The little breakdown, when Krit warbles "Miss lady, outside in her garden. My brother, his son and his daughter. The rap game, before I was spitting. Back when 'Pac and Biggie were living".  Lord have mercy. Here's the link. Go listen to it. 
Memorable lines:
All of it. 
15. Gumpshun 
     Growing up in the South, I'm well-accustomed to a lot of ridiculous slang. But when the word "gumption" popped up in this track, I found myself reminiscing fondly over my childhood spent in vibrant churches, which are probably the only places this term is still used. Great jam, with a rising and falling bass so brutal that you could walk half a block and feel the aftershock. 
Memorable lines: 
16. 2000 & Beyond
    A highly descriptive illustration of the ghetto, with some wonderful, swirling strings. I think they're strings. A word to the wise for rappers looking to express the hardships associated with growing up in a rough area: give examples. It's far more deep-rooted and relatable if you specify, rather than gesture vaguely towards a turbulent upbringing. Also, some powerful sound bites expressing various attitudes about the hood. Stirring stuff. 

"I bet I see her naked on payday." 

Memorable lines:
"The ghetto's a fairy tale
Pimps and Jezebels 
Killers with chrome rims, with product for you to sell
Industry in the kitchen, alleys with rubbers in it
Tires go round and round, windows heavy tinted
Kush is scented inside
Pull me over, now they talkin' about a K9" 
17. I Gotta Stay 
     A heartfelt, personal and bittersweet tribute from Krit to his grandmother. The bridge, "Now I know what'cha meant when you used to sing 'If I had wings, wings, wings" is positively dripping with soul. 

Much like James Brown frequently did. A good balance between "gross" and "necessary".

Memorable lines: 
"Your motherly hands, used to usher Sunday mornings
You played the tambourine so well 
Reminiscin' on my Granddaddy 
Shed tears as you looked at his pictures on the shelf
Phone ringin' everyday, a friend's gone away
Wishin' you could go, but you had to stay"
18. As Small As A Giant
     Christ on a crutch. Krit's been dispensing religious tidbits throughout this album, but it really comes to a climax here. I don't have a problem with that by any means. It takes skill for an artist to properly convey spiritual concepts, and when done correctly it's extremely effective, as these ideas and images are timeless and feel inherently significant. Anyway, this is within the top 3 songs on this record. Fantastic spoken introduction as well.
Memorable lines:
Everything, but especially the intro and chorus. 
"See, I was made in my father's image and they belittle my deeds
Their lustful convictions pledge allegiance to the all-mighty power and greed
See seeds born, withered parents, dear children, and they listen to their ways 
Some preachers false prophets, educated pigeon-droppers usin' our sins to get paid 
Slaves, give them freedom, but give them dope
Take away their leaders 'cause that gives them hope
Sell them dreams of changing things
Like they was never kings and queens before" 
"Watch for the sun, needles blocking our shine
Enlighten my kind, reason for rhyme
I'ma find Zion, free my soul
Repent for all the things I done until my eyes close"
19. Voices 
     A suitable ending to a great album, as it features all of the past motifs; face-erasing bass, motivational bars, and a nice sound bite at the end. 
Memorable lines:
"Did it big in the club, with my cash out
Been dealin' with a lot, so I drunk until I passed out" 
"Niggas ain't real, ho's ain't shit
My hand-me-down's was too big, they buyin' clothes that don't fit"
Worth the time?
     Let's assume that you've scrolled down to this section to get the final verdict, and didn't read any of the above. We'll summarize with this. 
     K.R.I.T. destroys it. He takes dope lyricism in his left hand, and succulent production in his right, pops them into a particle accelerator, leaves the two to rotate for 30 minutes, as they smash into each other at over 10,000 revolutions per second, until he comes back and proceeds to extract what subatomic fragments are left, then dashes them repeatedly with a sledgehammer and a rolled up wife-beater until all that remains are tattered, frizzled strands of quantum string. 

1 comment:

  1. You're the only one on the web that has the correct lyrics for the last verse of track #14 "Neva Go Back"

    "Miss lady, outside in her garden.
    My brother, his son and his daughter.
    The rap game, before I was spitting.
    Back when 'Pac and Biggie were living."

    I wrote lyrics for a few other Krit tracks here: