I approached Live from the Underground of the opinion that Big K.R.I.T. is the most exciting hip-hop artist to emerge in the last few years. A big statement, yes, but one based purely on the quality of his output thus far. Dropping beautifully constructed mixtapes every few months, the Mississippi native has been at the forefront of hip-hop’s revaluation of what actually constitutes a mixtape, releasing a number of fully-functioning, fully-original and fully-free records that qualify as classics in their own right.
On K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, Return of 4va and 4Eva N A Day, as well as his underrated Last King series, K.R.I.T. may have already shown and proved, but traditionalists will still point to the importance of an official release in transforming a rising rookie to recognized star. Released on Def Jam, Live from the Underground has been much delayed because of sample clearing difficulties (that old chestnut), feeding into the anticipation surrounding the young rapper as mixtape after mixtape hit big. How would this new-age underground king perform on a bigger label, on a bigger platform and with a bigger budget? Could it be that K.R.I.T. had sat on his very best tracks in anticipation of his Def Jam release? Would his work be damaged by the inevitable pressure to score a radio hit?
For the full review visit: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/159822-big-k.r.i.t.-live-from-the-underground/