LIVE: Big K.R.I.T., Live From The Underground Album Listening Party, Fight Klub Studios, NYC
by Keya Maeesha
It is one thing to be an artist and people check in every now and then to see what you have “new” that is going to drop. It is another thing to be an artist whose rise to fame sort of crept up on everyone and is now the next big thing. In Big K.R.I.T.’s case, not only is he the “next best thing”, he IS probably one of the best. There is nothing “next” about this southern gentleman. He’s it. With an ever growing fan base and continued support from nationwide radios, it was only a matter of time before K.R.I.T. finally received the opportunity to do what he does best- show out. If you aren’t familiar, peep his story– Dropped See Me On Top, Vol. 1, 2, AND 3, Hood Fame, and The Last King before even being considered an underground phenom. K.R.I.T. Wuz Here happened and hip hop went into a frenzy. Who is this kid? Where did he come from? Did he just….How he gon…..YUP. That was him. Riding off the wave of his new found popularity, he then dropped Return Of 4Eva which not only solidified the genius of the Mississippi artist, but made him a force to be reckoned with. And no..its not just because his charm is that powerful (even though it is) or his smile is that captivating (even though it is). K.R.I.T. is a beast on the lyrical and production content. This well rounded artist doesn’t just make hits for the rappity rap fans. He discusses things that are personal such as his relationship with his grandmother, growing up in the south, struggles with the label, his dealings with women, social and political consciousness, strip club love, and love for cars. All the things that if you are from the south, you can relate and appreciate. Even if you are not, you still understand him and can feel the stories he shares with his listeners. So, The Last King 2 dropped, which highlight many of this collaborations and productions he’s been a part of over the years. His most recent effort, 4EvaNaDay, was received with much anticipation from his loyal supporters. Why? Because this signified the last step before the big production. Everyone, self included, have been waiting for Live From The Underground (LFTU) since September 27th (the original release date…which also happened to be my birthday, but I digress). The mixtape was only able to hold folks over for a little while. Fans gets antsy after a long wait. This is nothing new. You could say “well..thats hip hop”. Nevertheless, the one thing I can share to ease anyone’s mind who will read this is that Live From the Underground is officially worth the wait.
Held in the Midtown West section of NYC, Fight Klub Studios hosted this tremendous event. Free liquor and chicken wings for everyone was an added taste to the lure of this event ( and come on…who doesn’t love free food and drinks?). The line was tight, inside of the venue even tighter. Folks waited almost 2 hours just to get in and hear a snippet of what K.R.I.T. was offering for the people. DJ Wally Sparks spun the records of the highly anticipated studio release as K.R.I.T. explained the significance of each song on the album. Everyone was in attendance. Major record label representatives to tastemakers to fans who snuck in and jumped on the elevator, to locals who walked by and asked what the event was for. Everyone who was anyone was there. And for good reason.
So I know you all are waiting to hear what it sounds like, right? Well, for starters, it is not much of a variation from his mixtapes in the sense that his production style is the same. Heavy bass, that soul-hop style music where you can go flex on the strip or ride around and get it…get it? It has that chill factor that we all know and love about K.R.I.T.. The laid back, southern style emceeing with a touch of jazz, a sprinkle of soul, and a pinch of …dare I say, gospel? No, he’s not preaching on this album, but his words are truth. No crafty punchlines to appease the rap critic or anything of that nature. Just pure, unadulterated truth. The features on the album are mind blowing. Melanie Fiona is featured on the trasparent track “If I Fall”, while Devin the Dude appears on “Hydroplaning”. The track which I can already feel will be my favorite is “Praying Man” featuring the magnificent BB King. When introducing this track, you can feel the excitement in K.R.I.T.’s voice as he discussed how honored and blessed he was working with the legend. “Porchlight” is another track that I believe will grab the attention of most folks as Anthony Hamilton lends his awesome vocals. From beginning to end, the album is a smooth listen. I’m sure the ladies will love the bonus features which include a remix of “Temptation” featuring Juicy J and Waka Flocka and anyone who bumped “Me And My Old School” from 4EvaNaDay, yup, there is a remix on there for you too. “Money On The Floor”, his already popular single which features 8Ball, MJG, and 2 Chainz (2 CHAAAAAAAAAIINZ..sorry..it was necessary), is a hit. Other features on the album include his partner in music, Big Sant, Ludacris, and his mentor, Bun B. He also has voice features from his beloved grandmother, Ms. Linnie, who left him tapes with her singing, praying, and speaking. K.R.I.T. told the audience how not only did she leave them for him, but he never retouched her vocals. Every thing you hear her say is her in raw form. She’s an amazing presence on the album, which gives it that final inside look to K.R.I.T..
So there you have it. LFTU is going to be a certified hit. Shout out to Def Jam for allowing K.R.I.T. to be himself. This album is the perfect introduction for the summer. I might have to get new speakers though…my bass will be completely blown out for being played too loud. Dope album, K.R.I.T.. Proud of you, bew.