By Luke FoxTwo years after the release of his breakthrough mixtape, K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, 18 months after being named a XXL freshman of the year, nine months after its original shelf date and a handful of cross-country tours later, Big K.R.I.T.'s proper debut album has arrived. "Good things," they say, "are worth waiting for" and Live from the Underground is the best Southern rap record since Big Boi's Sir Lucious Left Foot dropped two summers ago. Though the 25-year-old from Meridian, Mississippi entered the game with the candy-paint gleam of promise on his freebie discs, producing the bulk of his shoulder-dislocating beats and writing with the wisdom of a harder-working generation, never have K.R.I.T.'s verses been so focused or his instrumentals so nuanced. Instead of catering to disparate audiences, K.R.I.T. seizes his role as the heir apparent to the trunk-rattling, storytelling artists that put his region on the map. On the brassy, blustery "Cool 2 Be Southern," with its mud-stained bass line, N'Awlins horn punch and "Rosa Parks"-style handclap bridge, K.R.I.T. wears his roots like a beaver sweatshirt. Yes, Underground features 2 Chainz and Ludacris collaborations, and it makes sonic and lyrical nods to Lil Keke and hittin' switches, Fat Pat and cornbread. But it also balances the doubtful with the egotistical, as well as thoughtful ruminations on poverty and loyalty with double-time pimp talk. The disc culminates with "Praying Man," a song that approach's slavery through three vignettes, featuring B.B. King.
Read an interview with Big K.R.I.T. here. (Def Jam)