After releasing album quality free projects starting with Krit Wuz Here in 2010, Big K.R.I.T. has quickly ascended to the elite class of new hip hop artists. As expected, the bar was raised high (unfairly, even) in anticipation for his debut. If you go into this album with expectations, you’ll undoubtedly be disappointed and miss out on a good album.
Live from the Underground tells a story and may even be far more personal than its predecessors. Although there’s still songs like “I Got This” and “Yea Dats Me”, K.R.I.T tells the story through the music itself. The album and cover itself, shows K.R.I.T crash landing into the mainstream from the underground (The South). Although southern hip-hop has been a force for years, K.R.I.T. still feels that it is unappreciated and uses this album as a bold reintroduction.
K.R.I.T uses samples and instrumentation to form the landscape for this album. There’s elements of blues, gospel, along with hip-hop influences ranging from Memphis to Atlanta. This is immediately heard with “LFU300MA”, the soulful, spoken word intro that blends right into the title track. “Live from the Underground” is a formulatic “let me tell you what this album is about” track that will be an instant highlight. At the end, there’s a skit where K.R.I.T. crash lands into the “mainstream” from the south.
This album offers everything you expect from previous projects with “Money on the Floor”, “What U Mean” and “My Sub Part 2” but it was quite evident that he wanted to take his debut in a different direction. This album still has his normal formula: Intro-bass heavy tracks- decrescendo to socially conscious tracks, but the order is more reversed. This project seems to be more as a statement album where he’s saying “The South has something to say”. Songs such as “If I Fall”, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, and “Praying Man” featuring the legendary B.B. King fill the latter portion of the album. This journey comes to an end with “Live from the Underground (Reprise)” where he uses an audio clip of his late grandmother singing.
While K.R.I.T. is a talented MC, this album isn’t a showcase of stunning lyricism but he uses effective verse construction. The conversational flow on the majority of the songs to get his point across. This is backed by the well developed instrumentals to bring out the southern essence of the album.
Although a classic outing was expected by many on this debut run, this album still provides a strong message and adds to his legacy.
Final Score: 3.75-5