I really want to like Big K.R.I.T.
I keep trying. But it's not working. Everybody sings his praises. He's one of the more highly touted artists out right. His album Cadillactica is getting rave reviews. I enjoy his interviews since he seems to actually have something to say. He's personable. I've even met him and he was cool as a fan. And yet, I find myself not enjoying his body of work at all.
This greatly perplexes me for a few reasons: 1) he's a true southern artist, cut from the cloth of the Scarfaces and Outkasts, etc; 2) he is a producer who has crafted some great music; and 3) everything I said before about him having something to say and being personable.
Yet I couldn't be any more blah on an artist than I am on Krit. Here's why.
Much like many folks, I was introduced to Krit via his infamous K.R.I.T. wuz here mixtape. Damn near every body I know was yapping about this mixtape. He was heralded as the next big thing from the south but was a step above all the fluffy non-sense shit and was going to change the game. He was on all the major websites and in publications. That mixtape made it onto nearly every list as one of the best mixtapes of 2010. And I didn't get it. I listened to it a few times but it never drew me in. At all. Now, that's happened before so I just wrote it off as one of those instances where everybody sees something that I can't quite see and that's that. It's just music. And I was happy that a cat from the south was catching so much love.
That all changed March 28, 2011. That was that day that Return of 4Eva dropped.
I was on Twitter and folks were going crazy so I decided to give it a listen. Return of 4eva made me a believer in Krit. A real believer. I haven't been that moved by an album since Game's The Documentary. It sounded like Outkast, 8Ball & MJG, UGK, and the Geto Boys came together and threw all of their talents into a pot, named their creation Krit then told him to go forth and prosper. That album was sonically beautiful, flawlessly produced, southern fried funky and touched by the hands of southern rap gods. Period. I remember hearing "Dreamin'" for the first time in my car and wanting to make sweet love to it by the fire. Krit is one hell of a producer, nobody can ever take that from him, and this album took it up a notch. The only knock, and its a petty one, is that the album is just too long. He could have chopped off a few songs and not compromised one bit of its greatness.
Sample issues abound though, so as opposed to this being his major label debut, it was a mixtape. But had it been his major label debut, it would have been one of the strongest in years, on par with the Kendrick Lamar's Good Kid, m.A.A.d city or Drake's Thanke Me Later. Logic's Under Pressure measures up to that bar as well. It would have been a classic. It is a mixtape classic, but it would have been album-classic. It was as good to me as The Game's The Documentary.
In case you can't tell, I really cannot say enough about how good I think Return of 4eva is. I still listen to it. Sometimes when I'm bored, I roll around in grease and throw this album on.
I'm just kidding.
Needless to say, I couldn't wait for his next mixtape, 4eva N A Day, in 2012. And as soon as I got it, I was over it. It was nowhere near as good to me as Return of 4eva. I didn't need it to sound like that, I just wanted dope. And to me, I didn't get dope. I got okay, but largely forgettable. I remember listening to it, excited, waiting to get hit in the gut the way the previous album hit me. And it didn't. But, I cut him some slack. He was on the verge of releaseing his major label album, Live From The Underground, so it was possible these were the songs that didn't make the album but he wanted to share them. That's fine and I understand.
Except Live from the Underground didn't move me either. At this point, I was just frustrated. I was riding so high off of Return of 4eva that I knew he had it in him to create classic music. Same with his King Remembered In Time mixtape and then his last release, Cadillactica.
People keep telling me Cadillactica is a classic. I keep telling people to send me the version they have.
My issue with Krit reminds me of a similar issue I have with a famous hip-hop group. De La Soul Is Dead is easily, without equal, my favorite hip-hop album of all time. I love this album like a fat kid loves cake. Yet, De La Soul is not one of my favorite groups of all time. In fact, I only marginally like 3 Feet High and Rising despite it being a heralded classic and truly don't care for any of their other albums after De La Soul Is Dead. I'm a fan of the album, but the artists don't really move me (as proof, I still get confused as to who is who in the group. I know what they look like, but I have no idea which one is Plug One or Plug Two). I think the same holds true with Krit. I like his one album and its made me want to like everything else and hear what everybody else is hearing. I just don't.
I gave up on trying to force De La Soul into my favorite group category. They have songs I love but as a group, I'm cool. De La Soul is Dead is perfect to me and I will forever sing its praises, but it starts and ends there with De La.
Krit is, by all accounts, a great artist. Many folks love him and his output. I've listened to Cadillactica at home and in my car multiple times trying to will msyelf into the Krit camp. But it won't happen. I want him to win and I get why everybody is on the bandwagon. Hell, I want to love Krit, but I keep waiting for the return of the feeling I got when I heard …4eva.
One album made me believe, and the rest have been testing my faith.