“K.R.I.T. Iz Here” is the latest new project from Mississippi MC Big KRIT. This is his first album after leaving Def Jam and going independent.
In this piece, we see Krit continue being a torch bearer for all things Dirty South. From this album, K.R.I.T. creates songs packed with smooth lyrics and hard thumping instrumentals, ones Dungeon Family would have been proud of. While most southern artists are either making melodic-focused hymns or speaking in tongues for four minutes, Krit takes pride in being both a wordsmith and having dope production, giving his listeners a choice to both have their cake and eat it, too.
The opening track starts with a bombastic gospel sample as Krit proclaims he’s “arrived” after years of being underappreciated despite being signed to a major label for all that time. In Krit’s mind, he’s only going to “play for the team that I own.” “Addiction” was the first single and the fifth track off the album. Saweetie starts the track with a monotone (yet sensual) chorus that invited us into her world, assuring us that the water’s fine. Lil’ Wayne made the most of his appearance, while he didn’t rap the hottest verse, he still rode the beat well enough to keep the song afloat.
In “Learned From Texas,” Krit showed love to his elders while recreating the sound that made figures like DJ Screw and UGK famous. The “chopped-and-screwed” vocals moaning about cough syrup with men chanting in unison “Learning s*** from Texas,” giving any kid who grew up watching BET Uncut serious nostalgia. “Energy” was another joint that Krit pushed as a single leading up the album’s release. Krit makes some of the most accessible music he’s made since leaving Def Jam. The song starts with Krit echoing into space “I need your energy” before using a triplet flow for most of the song. He was also playing with cadences to break up the monotony. The transition between the ancient-sounding orchestral music to an opera sample was magnifique.
“Blue Flame Ballet” was an ode to exotic dancers, while the song in some ways came off as cringe-worthy, it’s tasteful compared to something like UGK’s “Big Pimpin’.” It’s a track that definitely wouldn’t feel out of place in most club settings. It also had some fairly profound takes on society’s perception of exotic dancing and the women who work in the industry. “Prove it” was the rap version of wasting a smash ball in Super Smash Bros. Melee. The song had a bankable guest in J. Cole, who in the past year or so always had something interesting to say or humbly brag about. Instead we only received Jermaine giving an anecdote about a girl who “could have been,” which, given Jermaine’s audience being people who grew up listening to Jodeci and Boyz II Men, was not just surprising, but disappointing.
Despite the many strengths of this record, there were some slight drawbacks with this project. There were some tracks that it could’ve done without as the album overstayed its welcome. As soon as “MISSISSIPPI” came around to close the album, it felt far too drowned out. Overall, this was a good but not great project from a consistently solid artist. Despite its flaws, “KRIT Iz Here” took the aspects that made southern rap great and updated it for 2019. This would be my dark horse pick for Rap Album of the Year.