11 November 2015

REVIEW: Big K.R.I.T. - It's Better This Way

Last month Big K.R.I.T. dropped a surprise mixtape on us in the form of It's Better This Way hosted by DJ Drama. It's curious as to why Drama was enlisted for this project, as K.R.I.T. has never struggled with handling the groundwork on his own, but Drama's involvement never detracts from the music. In fact, It's  Better This Way falls right in line with K.R.I.T.'s best work. It's right up there with K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, Return of 4eva, and 4eva N a Day, and even shares artwork reminiscent of the latter. The intro track fleshes out this artwork even further by showing K.R.I.T. essentially being left with the decision to follow the crowd, or be a leader and blaze his own trail. This is followed by a few words from Drama (his only notable contribution) re-iterating the theme of the album before K.R.I.T. starts firing off on another lyrically impressive tirade discussing his underrated position in the game.

K.R.I.T.'s mixtapes have such a unique feel versus his studio albums where there's an unapologetic sense of rebelliousness heard throughout. On the track "King Pt. 4," he spits lines like 'Culture, consumer, vultures / The music that I make ain't for radio, bogus / The people just wanna hit the club and have fun / And I don't make that kind of shit and that's really the culprit,' which illustrates the ever-widening divide between listeners who prefer substance versus those who gravitate toward the cookie-cut approach. The title track "It's Better This Way" sums up K.R.I.T.'s entire career in a nutshell. It is becoming more apparent that he is unconcerned with shifting the landscape of Hip-hop. Instead of trying to change everyone's minds about what great music is, it's almost as if the King Remembered In Time is conceding by simply saying he's better off continuing to follow the road less traveled. Fans are the beneficiaries of this more than anything, as that approach over the past six years has given us a collection of projects that are nothing short of impeccable.

There's something special about a new Big K.R.I.T. record that makes you wish he were around fifteen years ago, instead of being forced to carry the burden of keeping the soul of the south alive. Tracks such as "Vanilla Sky" and "Can't Be Still" literally sound like Dungeon Fam classics. On your first listen, it may appear as if they were crafted by the legendary Organized Noize themselves, and you almost expect a verse from Outkast or Goodie MOB to follow every hook. While It's Better This Way is far from his best mixtape, it's clear the greatest parts of the south still run through Big K.R.I.T.'s veins, and it's admirable to see him remain resolute amidst a landscape littered with retardation from his southern peers. K.R.I.T. continues to deliver in ways no one else from his region is even capable of anymore. Every year that passes by sees the King Remembered In Time fully living up to his name, and showing a rare level of consistency that caters to longevity.
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