For those of you who haven’t kept your ears close enough to the streets the last few years, Big K.R.I.T. has returned to your area on an Amtrak, so you don’t have any excuses this time around. “K.R.I.T. Wuz Here” put this man on the map in a big way. MichaelYoungHistory paid homage to that mixtape in this post. I don’t think people have fully grasped how talented this rapper/producer is. The South should be proud. Mississippi, stand and be recognized. Without further ado, here are the songs that stood out the most to me.
Dreamin’ – K.R.I.T.’s patented smooth flow over a smooth beat is clearly evident on this track. It reminds me of “Hometown Hero” from his last mixtape. I took the liberty of posting the video for those interested.
My Sub – This is ridin’ music, ladies and gentlemen. While I wish it hit a bit harder since it lends itself to trunk-rattlin’, backseat-bangin’ bass, it falls a little short, but I still love it. Added bonus: Regina Belle’s voice graces us with its presence at the end.
Sookie Now – Hello, David Banner. I was really hoping that the powers from “The Sip” would join forces at least once, and I got my wish. This is a solid song with David Banner spitting a verse that is both haunting and eerily similar to “Ridin’” on his “Certified” album.
American Rapstar – This just might be my favorite song on the mixtape. The smooth soulfulness that K.R.I.T. is becoming known for is clearly apparent here. “You do it all just to live the life / Even if it means you don’t live it right / And even if it means you don’t survive the night / But even if you don’t you won’t survive the hype of American rapstar” #BOOM
Highs & Lows – I like “Highs & Lows”, but I think this is the point on the album where things start sounding alike. This is another smooth and soulful track (stop me if you’ve heard that before), but just when I want to hit skip, K.R.I.T. hits me with another level of soul when he breaks out in an interpolation of Bootsy Collins’ “I’d Rather Be With You”. Yeeeaaahhhh.
King’s Blues – There really isn’t a lot I can say here, but when you hear it, you’ll understand why I mentioned this song. Big K.R.I.T. + Big K.R.I.T.’s bluesy production + Erykah Badu = Superb
Time Machine – As a Texan, I had to show this song some love. Here, Big K.R.I.T. compares his whip to a time machine, which I appreciate. There is an element of poetry to it. If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear the ghost of Pimp C was in K.R.I.T.’s head when he produced this. If that’s not enough for you, Chamillionaire gets on the track and spits an old school flow that brings us back to the days of classic H-Town music. “…I swear the daily news be havin’ me trippin’ / Everybody that got a cross hangin’ off they neck is not a Christian / When the police pull you over, they’ll say you fit the description / Bun B that’s our O.G. R.I.P. Pimp C, I feel like I’m wit him…when I’m in my time machine” – Chamillionaire
Amtrak – One of my few knocks on this mixtape is this song. I know what you’re thinking. “Then why are you mentioning it, 23?” The beat, which features a train, sick bass line, and a prevalent hi-hat, reminds me of an updated “Poppa Was a Rolling Stone” or “Shaft” anthem instrumentally, but the lyrics just don’t quite measure up for me. I had to say something about this beat, though. I love it.
Another Naïve Individual Glorifying Greed and Encouraging Racism – This is a powerful track with K.R.I.T. proclaiming that he doesn’t want to be “another nigga.” You’ll notice the simplicity of this beat compared to the rest of the mixtape, but it’s appropriate here because the lyrics deserve to be front and center.
Free My Soul – If this song wasn’t towards the end of the mixtape, and we hadn’t already heard a number of songs that sound like it, it would’ve stood out more to me. It’s still worth a mention, though.
The Vent – K.R.I.T.’s lyrical masterpiece on this mixtape. Nothing else needs to be said.
Country Shit (Remix) – Ah, yes! K.R.I.T. brings back the beat from the original “Country Shit” from “K.R.I.T. Wuz Here”, spits some new verses, and adds Ludacris and Bun B for another installment of a chest-thumping, Southern-pride anthem (no Confederate flag and Lynyrd Skynyrd songs needed).
I can see why some people think this mixtape runs together a bit. K.R.I.T. has found a refreshing niche of smooth, soul hip-hop and hits us repeatedly with it. It works for the most part, but he would benefit from having other people sing some of his hooks. I’m not saying he can’t sing because he can, but another voice would be a welcome addition to his songs. Overall, while this isn’t as groundbreaking as “K.R.I.T. Wuz Here”, it is a VERY solid follow-up that will be in heavy rotation on my iTunes and iPod. It’s just in time for the hot summer months when windows and tops are down, and speakers and subs are on full blast.