18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
The Dignity Of Southern Hip Hop,
This review is from: Live From The Underground [Explicit] (Audio CD)
Picture this: a shooting star comes crashing through the atmosphere of the planet Mainstream, burning through the sky until it crashes into a densely populated area called A&R-ville. A man emerges from the crater, a stranger in a new place, looking like a fish out of water.
This visual is the personification of what Big K.R.I.T. tries to get across on his debut album; The sound of the underground crash landing in the middle of the mainstream. This is a feat that has been tried and failed by countless artists trying to make that near impossible transition from unknown, underground rapper to mainstream hip hop household name. With Live From The Underground [Explicit], I believe that K.R.I.T. has topped off years of hard work and moderate recognition with a successful debut that truly shows the he has the versatility necessary to appeal to multiple audiences. In short, its really good.
I'll be the first to admit that I an not a huge fan of Southern hip hop. Ever since the era of Crunk came into being in the early 2000's, 90% of all rap music coming out of the south has been like hot garbage in the Georgia sun, making almost every newcomer coming from below the Mason Dixon a walking punchline and inevitable one-hit-wonder. But despite the overabundance of suckiness, we get the occasional gems that redeem our southern brethren with their efforts alone. Little Brother, Ludacris, Outkast, Scarface, UGK, T.I., J. Cole... and now Big K.R.I.T. joins the ranks of talented, exceptional artists that rep the south without having to become the walking joke to do it.
With three mixtapes ( Return of 4eva, 4eva Na Day [Road Less Traveled Edition] [Explicit], and Krit Wuz Here) and a bunch of guest spots under his belt, K.R.I.T. has had lots of practice to get his debut to sound the way he wanted it. Despite initial concerns that Live From The Underground would be a watered down version of his mixtapes, it manages to maintain the integrity of the sound that made us like K.R.I.T. in the first place, mixing fun riding music seamlessly with thought provoking introspective songs.
K.R.I.T. has always demonstrated he has a talent for cohesion when it comes to his music. With all of his projects, especially Live From The Underground, he arranges each track to flow right into the next regardless of topic, sound, or tempo. From the opening track "LFU300MA" that coasts in on a smooth bluesy bass lines, to the bold and flavorful horns on Cool 2 Be Southern," segueing seamlessly into a synth dominated anti-hater anthem "I Got This." However, it does seem that K.R.I.T. has more or less organized his songs into two main parts: Simply put, the first half is the fun section, the second half is the serious section.
As a whole, Big K.R.I.T. gets big ups for his artistry, and his ability to please different audiences. However, its that same versatility that kind of works against him, depending on the listeners tastes. When K.R.I.T. gets into the "fun" music, the subject matter is of the status quo of rap music; cars, money, hoes, etc. He especially loves his car. Granted, he drops some gems here and there and even has some great production with certain songs (i.e. "My Sub pt.2 The Jackin") but for the most part he stereotypes himself by sounding like EVERY other southern rapper and his momma talking about the same ol stuff.
For me, the album really picks up and becomes interesting on "Leave The Porch Light On feat. Anthony Hamilton" where K.R.I.T. struggles with maintaining a relationship while trying to provide, be it hustling or music. Anthony Hamilton on the hook really adds depth the the track, making a personal favorite. Another stand out, "Prayin Man feat. BB King" depicts encounters a slave has with a mysterious man who provides salvation in one way or another. The BB King sample was an excellent touch.
Overall, despite my personal biased against half of the tracks on here, this is a great album. Its lyrically solid, uncompromising in quality in terms of production, a modest amount of guest features, and has a hearty 16 tracks for your listening pleasure. You may not like everything he has on here, but there is enough on here to justify a purchase, especially for the price that it is.
Live From The Underground is a strong 5/5.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 6, 2012 7:56:25 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 7, 2012 12:48:22 PM PDT]
Posted on Jun 7, 2012 7:38:30 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 7, 2012 7:44:57 AM PDT
Really thought that your review did a wonderful job of describing the album in it's entirety. I'll take the more "crunk", "Money on the Floor" tracks as long as he puts out jems like "The Vent" any day. As a huge Little Brother fan, I can appreciate the quality tracks along with all the witty stuff. Happy listening!
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