King Remembered in Time – Big K.R.I.T.

Anyone familiar with previous releases from Mississippi’s Big K.R.I.T. would be correct in assuming that ‘King Remembered in Time’ continues in the same vein. There are obvious Outkast and UGK influences in production and lyricism; the album opens with a fuzzy guitar solo and the second track, “Shine On,” features Bun B, the only surviving member of UGK. K.R.I.T.’s tales of pimping, paper-chasing and flashy cars are nestled right in between reflective rhymes and references to his spirituality, but it’s all authentic.

On the album’s – excuse me – mixtape’s first single “R.E.M” K.R.I.T. shows you this authenticity: “I don’t know about my dreams ‘cause I’m more spiritual than lyrical / produce my whole album, it’s nothing short of a miracle / Was I wrong to be so heavy-hearted, I refuse to give up what I started.” This is exactly the kind of honesty that has propelled K.R.I.T. into the spotlight and caused this album’s title to trend worldwide on Twitter shortly after it was released. In spite of the obvious buzz surrounding the release, K.R.I.T. rhymes as if he were still underground with something to prove. There are no beats lifted from other songs, which is a bit of a rarity for a mixtape. In addition, the production is exquisite and filled with an array of instruments. This is far more than a guy with a drum machine and a sampler pumping out 17 songs to keep himself in the minds of fans until the next “official” album; the arrangements are well thought out and peppered with jazzy drum beats as well as booming bass drops.

K.R.I.T. sounds right at home boasting, but shows you he isn’t just some superficial rapper on songs like “The Banana Clip Theory,” a song about the drama and violence that happens virtually every night at clubs and in neighborhoods across America. “I heard he just killed a man, I think he was a father / I know he was a brother because his sis said that they gon’ retaliate tomorrow” paints a picture that is far too familiar for many families, but this is exactly what makes K.R.I.T. the kind of rapper that Hip-Hop needs now. Hip-Hop started as a genre that told you about what went on in the streets, but lately rappers have been more concerned with popping bottles than inspiring reflective thought among it’s listeners. Don’t worry though, this is a mixtape that is far from being a downer: “My Trunk” (featuring a surprisingly competent verse from Trinidad James) is guaranteed to get clubs and parties jumping.

While all the featured artists do pull their weight quite effectively, if this entire release had only K.R.I.T. on the microphone, it would not suffer. In addition to the “preacher meets pimp” lyricism on display, there are plenty of  horn sections that sound like they’re directly out of a 1970‘s blaxploitation flick; acoustic and wah-wah laced guitars; smooth bass-lines and even the occasional sound of a needle crackling on a well-worn vinyl. This is all complimented by K.R.I.T.’s thick drawl and effectively creates an album (this sounds a lot more like an album than a promotional mixtape) that is sure to be rattling trunks all over the country for quite some time. The uplifting tone of the album’s closer “Multi Til The Sun Die” drives home the point that the next time we hear from Big K.R.I.T., he’s actually gonna manage to improve on his winning formula of honest rhymes and gorgeous instrumental tracks.

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