In K.R.I.T. We Trust
April 4, 2011

Big K.R.I.T.
has been putting in work since 2005, but the majority of hip-hop listeners weren’t formally introduced to K.R.I.T. until 2010, when his album K.R.I.T. Wuz Here made its way around the internet. With its heavy use of chopped soul samples, backed by thumping 808, KWH put Big K.R.I.T. squarely on the hip-hop map and showcased his skills as both a potent lyricist and producer. Personally, KWH along with Wiz’s Kush & OJ provided me with the soundtrack for my spring/summer, and etched K.R.I.T. onto my ‘Must Watch’ list of new MC’s, which doesn’t happen too often these days given hip-hop’s recent track record.

As a new fan, I couldn’t wait to see what was next for K.R.I.T.. Would he be able to drop another street album as thorough as K.R.I.T. Wuz Here? Or, would the major labels begin to swarm and snatch him out of the indie talent pool. It didn’t take long for me to get my answer as he inked a deal with Def Jam in June, 2010. Being a fan of good hip-hop I was pissed off. We’ve seen this story many times before, where the talented indie upstart puts out dope music, attracts a following, signs to a major label and subsequently releases boo-boo, which bears no resemblance to the music that gained them their following in the first place. I know it seems selfish of me, but I enjoy music when it’s truly the artist’s creation and not clouded by the vision of some limp-dick label exec. I got the chance to express my concerns directly to K.R.I.T. when we spoke during HH Episode #121. K.R.I.T. did his best to ease the fears of fans, ensuring he would not change or compromise his sound for anyone. K.R.I.T.’s argument sounded good, but I’ve heard too many young MC’s recite the same thing only to flip-flop under the label's pressure.

After thinking more in-depth about K.R.I.T.’s label situation, my unselfish side began to win out. I couldn’t help but be happy for the dude and his new opportunity. Coming from a small-town Mississippi household and struggling as many families do nowadays, I was excited for the financial future K.R.I.T. had earned for himself, especially if he were to go on and gain commercial success with Def Jam. Who am I to piss on an artist taking a chance to pursue their dream?

Fast forward a few months, and my doubts were starting to resurface (I know I sound like a wishy-washy bitch). Winter came and went without a new project, and my pessimism began to grow. Sure, K.R.I.T. had done several features, produced tracks for other artists, collaborated on some remixes with Grillade, but where was the album, where was ReturnOf4Eva?!! I know it hadn’t even been a year since his last project, but I was growing impatient. To me, the hiatus signaled that Def Jam had put K.R.I.T. on lockdown and we wouldn’t be blessed with another freebie until after his major label debut.

March rolled around and talk of Returnof4Eva being ready for release started making its way around the blogs. I was cautiously optimistic about the project’s eventual release, but seeing as how K.R.I.T. was recently named to XXL’s 2011 Freshman List, I was unsure if R4E would be more of the uncut country raw I was fiending for, or a radio-friendly teaser setting the table for his Def Jam release. Finally, March 28th arrived and I got my chance to hear what K.R.I.T. was serving up this time around.

In short, ReturnOf4Eva is a MONSTER album which more than satisfies my fix. Instead of changing up his recipe, or taking a 180 turn towards trendy mainstream bullshit, K.R.I.T. stays true to the sound and style that made K.R.I.T. Wuz Here one of the best albums of 2010. That’s not to say R4E is a carbon copy of his previous album, because it isn’t, but the soulful and diverse samples that worked last time around work just as well if not better on R4E. K.R.I.T. also seems to have mastered the art of making a cohesive project. No matter if he rhymes about rotating tires (“Rotation”), the struggles of success (“Made A Lot”), racial issues (“Another N.I.G.G.E.R.”), or undressing boppers (“Shake It”), it all meshes together. There isn’t a single track on R4E that sounds out of place or mismatched from the rest of the album. This may be the album’s best quality, as soooo many of today’s albums sound like a bunch of random singles thrown together, with nothing connecting one song to the next.

With another free classic under his belt, K.R.I.T. has proved me, and any other fan who had doubts, dead-wrong. K.R.I.T. stayed true to his word and managed to deliver another well-rounded project, which arguably tops an album I wasn’t sure he could exceed. The next time we’ll hear from K.R.I.T. will most likely be his official release. Always the skeptic, I still have some doubts if Def Jam will allow the talented cat from Meridian, MS to do his thing 100%, but after being proven wrong with ReturnOf4Eva, K.R.I.T. has earned my trust, and if I were going to bet on the quality of his next album let’s just say I wouldn’t bet against him.  At this point, my biggest worry is that K.R.I.T. has emptied his clip and won’t have enough bullets left for the official album, but come release date, I’ll be there, cash in hand, waiting to be proven wrong again.

Big K.R.I.T. feat. Joi - "Shake It"[audio:]

Big K.R.I.T. - "Lions and Lambs"

DOWNLOAD: Big K.R.I.T. - Return of 4Eva

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