Monday, May 10, 2010

Under the Influence, Part II

So...the last time I wrote one of these it sparked alot of debate, phone calls and slightly awkward moments with said artist (everything is super duper gravy now though). So, we'll see how this one ends up being received...

Right now, the internet is going crazy over Meridian, Mississippi rapper/producer Big K.R.I.T. and his new project K.R.I.T. Wuz Here. Actually blogs and other web tastemakers have been co-signing K.R.I.T.'s work since last year some time. He's built on his buzz over the last few months by hooking up with those Creative Control folks and shooting some nice "looking" videos.

Naturally, alot of my peers have been asking me "what you think of this new dude Krit?" I'm not big on being a stickler unless it really really really matters, but I always find myself going into this long spill about how Krit isn't "new." Dude been around for about 4-5 years now. I first heard of him in early 2006 when I interviewed him for Ozone Magazine's Patiently Waiting section. Matter fact, K.R.I.T. was the first artist I did a photoshoot with with my own camera.

The stuff he was making at the time was pretty good and from talking to him I kinda knew dude was going to be around for a while. Not necessarily as a rapper, which he was decent at and had some real things to say, but moreso as a producer. Which was funny because he said the only reason he started producing was because he couldn't afford to pay people for beats. He came out with a few other mixtapes after that and also spread his wings a producer doing beats independent artists around the way including the homie Big Floaty.

After that I kinda fell out of contact with dude until I ran into him a couple years ago when he was pushing his new mixtape with DJ Infamous. Honestly, from what I remembered, I didn't care for it too much. It kinda sounded like he sacrificed his lyrics to try and fit in with what was hot at the time. After that I kinda just check him out from afar when he'd make some blips in blog land.

(sorry for rambling)

But yeah, when people started asking me what I thought of dude's music, I'd just be like...well, I've heard it already. The stuff that folks had been going goo goo gaa gaa over for the last few months, didn't really sound that different from the stuff that I got introduced to back in '06. From the random songs that had been leaking out, I didn't really hear the growth I would've liked to hear. It sounded like what I heard years ago, so I didn't really have the "oh that shit is hard!" answer people were looking for. Shied, I mighta hit a few folks with an "eh."

Fast forward to last week. Alot of people seem (or sound) to be messing with K.R.I.T Wuz Here pretty heavy. I have to admit, I was pretty skeptical about it. Matter fact my first listen, I was kinda turned off from it. It sounded like he was doing his best Pimp C-over-DJ Paul-production impersonation. Which brings me to the argument I brought up in the previous Under the Influence...should we be happy to hear "new" artists like K.R.I.T. be so heavily influenced by artists we love? Where does that line get blurred?

When I listen to K.R.I.T., it reminds me of the first time I listened to Da Backwudz album. After interviewing them, reading their bios...and shit, going to school with one of became apparent that they UGK, 8Ball and MJG and Outkast were their musical inspirations. Fortunately unfortunately, you could hear it on their debut album. One song sounded like Ball and G, another sounded like UGK and another sounded like 'Kast. Is that a bad thing? Hard to tell. You know, they could always draw inspiration from some wack ass rappers, but instead, they drew it from great ones. But the fall back to that is failing to leave an impression of your own on the listener. Its cool to have folks say "oh this song reminds me of {insert favorite rapper}, but that can hinder you as well.

So yeah, with K.R.I.T. the Pimp C and DJ Paul influences (and some times T.I.) run rampant throughout the project, sometimes diluting the poignant lyrics and dope production he sprinkles in here and there. Yeah, we all country as hell, but sometimes you're like damn, he sounds just like Pimp. Whether its the vocal tone, enunciation or even at times the subject matter. But hey, nobody has a patent on being a country boy with a strong sense of spirituality stuck in the middle of reality.

Do I think K.R.I.T. is biting or trying to replace Pimp C at all? No way. But I guess what we are witnessing with his growing popularity is that K.R.I.T. may very well become that UGK-type artist/personality to the crowd that's currently rocking to Curren$y, Wiz Khalifa and other artist cut of that "XXL Freshman" cloth...just like how Nipsey Hussle is kinda becoming their Snoop Dogg.

All in all, I wound up listening to K.R.I.T. Wuz Here again all night last night and the shit is dope. There is no disputing that. I just think the dopest moments are when K.R.I.T. is K.R.I.T. and not sounding like his inspirations too much. Especially on tracks like "Children of the World," "They Got Us," "2000 and Beyond," and "I Gotta Stay."

But yeah, I encourage you to check out the project for yourself. It really offers a bright future for Southern Hip Hop or as Pimp would say "Country Rap Tunes." Dude doesn't waste alot of space with the rapping, dude really touches on some real life topics. The shit is dope, but I'm really looking forward to the music K.R.I.T. starts making when he really finds himself as an artist.

DOWNLOAD: Big K.R.I.T.-K.R.I.T. Wuz Here


J. Tinsley said...

I have to co-sign pretty much the entire thing. Unlike you, I didn't get up on K.R.I.T. until mid-2009 - very late in the game.

That said on this album the comparisons to Pimp C, Tip and others is apparent, and I most definitely understand everything you said about it taking away from "him" as an artist. You made one of the best points in awhile about these new dudes being newer versions of older artists. It's not a good or a bad thing, just the truth. However, with my knowledge of K.R.I.T. not being as extensive as yours, I happened to like it.

I was jammin' this CD down 95 when I was going home last weekend and I literally did not touch the skip button once. His Pimp C moments were here and there as well as the flashes of K.R.I.T. being K.R.I.T. (if that makes any sense).

The replay value on this thing is jammin' though. One of the better releases I've heard this year along with Yela's "Trunk Muzik."

J. Tinsley said...

Excuse all the grammar mistakes too lol.

Spectrum-Artist said...

I agree with your logic, but not so much the opinion. When you're heavily inspired by artists before you, it shows up in your music , true enough...BUT the idea here is to further advance on the grounds of your predecessors, and i think Big K.R.I.T. pulled it off with "K.R.I.T.Wuz Here". Sure, at times, he does fit into the southern cliche'. However, more often than not, he's being a himself...Suffice to say, the content was original and I think he's alot closer to being Big K.R.I.T. than he is to being anyone else...Hell, to be honest, i just think he's a few steps further than you think he is lol. Oh and just like J.Tinsley said, the replay value on this thing is incredible! I feel like I owe him $13.99 lol

LockThree Reppin said...

I collected the singles one by one after I heard 2000 & beyond so I'll take a late pass on this one. That bieng said, I beleieve that when some one can envoke thoughts of someone as influential as Pimp C or boisterous as Tip, they are doing something right. I don't see anything close to KRIT biting anyones flow/style etc. The similarities (IMO) are the same ones found in my family from the deep south (BAMA wuddup). The CD/mixtape is solid & hometown hero is one of the best songs I've heard in 5 years or so.

Wally Sparks said...

I'm just happy that people are giving his music a real listen and genuinely enjoying it for it's quality.

I remember the first time I heard KRIT's music, he was 18 at the time. I was blown away that someone that young could make that sounded the way it did.

Buzz Killington said...

I agree with you 100%. I had heard of dude but just started really listening and honestly he took a step back with this mixtape. Only because he sound too much like Pimp C and somewhat a cliche southern artist...with that being said when he honestly does KRIT...he a problem out here. Listen to just touch down vs. hometown hero and you will see what I'm saying