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Discography Check: Big K.R.I.T.

By @JustKels88



July 2015 marked a decade since Mississippi artist Big K.R.I.T. released his first project, See Me On Top Volume 1. Since then, he has released 10 mixtapes (including 3 additional volumes of See Me On Top), two official EPs and two studio albums. Big K.R.I.T. has an extensive catalogue. Let's take a look back on his decade long discography.

See Me On Top Vol 1, Vol 2, Hood Fame, Vol 3, The Last King (2005-2009)



-While it may seem lazy to group these projects together, I'm actually sparing you a dissertation of each one. Each of these projects contained a massive amount of content. With over 20 tracks each, and all hosted by popular DJs, they are raw and adhere to the content-heavy mixtape vibe of the time rather than the DJ yelling every 30 seconds mixtapes other artists had become known for. Although they get a bit lengthy, K.R.I.T. showed no lacking as far as lyrical content. These projects didn't get anywhere close to the amount of attention as the projects that would follow but they seem to spark a hunger in K.R.I.T. that would ultimately lead to his emergence on a larger scale.

K.R.I.T. Wuz Here (May 2010) 





-With not much time between projects, in 2010, K.R.I.T. released K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, quite possibly the most pivotal project of his career. As a matter of opinion, I would say it is the best project in his discography(it reignited my love for southern rap at the time). KWH also marks the beginning of the appreciation for K.R.I.T. as a producer on a larger scale. There was an assertion that K.R.I.T. had no intentions of compromising himself as an artist, no matter how it affected his career. Every track on KWH is important and garnered comparisons of K.R.I.T. to legendary southern artists. Not to mention, the project solidified K.R.I.T. as a force in the industry, led to a huge growth in his fan base and attention from critics, earned K.R.I.T. a deal with Def Jam, as well as a spot on XXL's Freshman cover in 2011. Aside from all the attention, K.R.I.T. Wuz Here is just an all around amazing project with stunning lyrical content and an infinite amount of playback value. Plus, “Children of the World” is one of the best songs ever in existence.

Return of 4Eva/R4 The Prequel (March/June 2011)





-I combined these two because shortly after the release of Return of 4Eva, R4 The Prequel was released on iTunes featuring 4 tracks from Return of 4Eva and the remix of Moon & Stars.

Capitalizing on the attention from K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, Big K.R.I.T. found himself in an environment of creative freedoms due to his success. This confidence and freedom led to Return of 4Eva, his highest acclaimed project, in March 2011. Released for free by Cinematic Music Group, the project is considered a “free album” rather than a “mixtape”. Of course, that is purely semantics, but the widely held sentiment is that R4 is one of the best projects released in the genre at the time. Once again, K.R.I.T. is credited for the production of R4 in its entirety, which is immaculate. The only reason that it is not my favorite K.R.I.T. project is because the raw, pissed off hunger from K.R.I.T. Wuz Here really moved me. All in all, Return of 4Eva is an incredible artistic progression and showcases the caliber of artist K.R.I.T. is. Just go listen to “The Vent” again for me real quick.

Last King 2: God's Machine(August 2011)



-Last King 2: God’s Machine was released in August 2011, not long after R4. It was a mixtape comprised of tracks from semi unknown indie artists to some well known southern artists. While it didn’t get much positive attention, I am actually fond of this project and the range it showed from K.R.I.T. and his ability to work with other artists.

4Eva N A Day/ 4eva Na Day: Road Less Traveled Edition (March/April 2012)





-Once again, these are combined because the latter was released as a 5 song EP on iTunes featuring 3 tracks from 4 Eva N A Day and 2 new ones "Man on Fire" and "Sideline".

In anticipation of Big K.R.I.T. releasing his debut studio album with Def Jam, he announced that while on tour he decided to come up with an entire project from scratch and had locked himself in the studio. The result was 4Eva N A Day. While the production on 4Eva is enjoyable and just as luxurious and spacious as listeners had come to expect, it felt unsure...as did a majority of the content. Of course there are exceptions, “Red Eye” being one of them. The confidence and freedom that was felt in Return of 4Eva only showed through in glimpses. The biggest concern I had with 4Eva was that K.R.I.T. was on the verge of marginalizing himself as another artist tainted by “industry” expectations, before he even released a project on a major label. While none of the tracks on the project are unpleasant, few of them hit as hard or speak as loud as what was on the previous two projects.

Live From The Underground (June 2012)




-Almost exactly seven years since his first release and two years after his bigger emergence into the industry, Big K.R.I.T. released his first project on a major label. Live From The Underground featured an impressive list of names including B.B. King, 8Ball & MJG, Devin The Dude, Big Sant, Bun B, Ludacris, Anthony Hamilton and more. Once again, K.R.I.T. is responsible for production on the entirety of LFTU, which is solid as usual. The project got mostly positive critical acclaim and was well put together. All that being said, the project is mostly forgettable, with the exception of "Hydroplaning", "Praying Man" and "Pull Up". Much of the content feels forced or unsure. With sample holdups and what felt like artistic constraints, LFTU did fairly well on the charts, but seemed to lack the long term, emotional connection that listeners had grown to expect and love from K.R.I.T.. Again, there is nothing bad about Live From The Underground, it just seemed to go with the newly set precedence of safe sounding music from Big K.R.I.T.

King Remembered In Time (April 2013)





-The best description of King Remembered In Time is “sincere”. Released as a free project via Cinematic Music Group, the breakdown of Big K.R.I.T.’s acronymic namesake found him being himself again. Being safe hadn’t paid off. Not only was K.R.I.T. back to the organic lyricism and content that leveraged his career, his production style seemed to have progressed exponentially. Every second of King Remembered In Time is just as southern as ever, but there is an evident growth and expansion in K.R.I.T.’s musical palette, even including production from 9th Wonder on “Life Is A Gamble.” That raw, unforgiving and unapologetic artist that shined a light on his previous projects was back. This project, to me, felt like Big K.R.I.T. decided to break out of whatever box he had been pushed into for the last couple projects. Critical acclaim for the project was all good, and landed on plenty of end of the year “top” lists.

See Me On Top Vol IV (September 2014)


-This project should probably be discussed more often as it represents a very important time in Big K.R.I.T.’s career. K.R.I.T. decided that he was fed up again, K.R.I.T. Wuz Here style, but with every progression he made as an artist since then at the forefront. "Mt. Olympus" MIGHT be one of the hottest tracks Big K.R.I.T. has ever made. With all sorts of big name features and even more input on the production side, See Me On Top Vol IV was full of emotional outburst and it’s amazing. The project also features some tracks that K.R.I.T. is only featured on, similar to Last God 2 but mostly of higher quality.

Cadillactica (November 2014)





-With his sophomore album via Def Jam, Cadillactica was highly anticipated and Big K.R.I.T.’s mainstream career sort of hung in the balance as everyone awaited its release. Live From The Underground almost came and went despite the features and importance of K.R.I.T.’s first major label release. Cadillactica would either cascade on the momentum of King Remembered In Time and See Me On Top Vol IV or confirm whispers through the industry that K.R.I.T. had marginalized himself. Cadillactica soared. It is sonically immaculate and lyrically consistent with the K.R.I.T. everyone had come to respect. Every feature was a perfect match and nothing felt unnecessary. With tracks like "King Of The South", K.R.I.T. reminded us what he came for while ones like "Soul Food" featuring Raphael Saadiq connected listeners to him as an artist again. Cadillactica made almost every “top” list and is the perfect progression from K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, with every step in between being equally as important.

10 years and 15 projects later, Big K.R.I.T. experienced the ups and down of his career thus far with everyone in attendance; if you listen to his discography from start to finish it is almost as if you lived the last decade right there with him. Few artists can say they have as much material in their catalog as he does. Every lull in creative freedom and questioning of self awareness was given to the public in the form of music. Quality wise, Big K.R.I.T. has improved both his lyricism and production as well as accepted the right outside influences when applicable. Aside from that, Big K.R.I.T. has given away more high quality, free music than almost any artist-even when he was preparing to release a studio album. As artists go, Big K.R.I.T. will always be top notch as far as I am concerned.

-Kels

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