NPR : Fresh Air

Filed Under:

Big K.R.I.T.: Music Straight 'From The Underground'

Play associated audio

Big K.R.I.T.'s distinction as a rapper is the way he spreads his vowels out over his beats like gravy. There's little that's harsh in his phrasing, even as his lyrics can be tart or tough. In general, though, his tone over the course of Live From the Underground is a voice of coolness, of relaxation or resignation, even occasionally serenity.

Justin Scott, the man behind the Big K.R.I.T. image, possesses a sense of history. His immediate influences include other Southern hip-hop acts such as OutKast, David Banner and Scarface. But his musical influences reach back farther than that. He's said he was deeply influenced by soul men such as the gritty-voiced Bobby Womack and the angelic-toned Curtis Mayfield. It's no surprise, therefore, to hear him team up with a contemporary neo-soul singer, Anthony Hamilton, in "Porch Light," and to hear Big K.R.I.T. sample B.B. King in "Praying Man."

In Big K.R.I.T.'s vivid manifesto "Cool to Be Southern," the Mississippi native summons images of his grandparents and his favorite Southern food, aligning himself with what he frequently calls "country people." He concludes Live From the Underground with a languid version of the title song, singing as well as rapping, invoking the underground railroad as well as his own emergence from obscurity, taking care not to conflate the two. By the time it ends, you feel as though Big K.R.I.T. has taken you on a trip through his version of Southern history: troubled and comforting, bound by tradition and yet bursting with the ambition to be free in every aspect of his life.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

#FoodPorn, Circa 1600s: Then And Now, It Was More About Status Than Appetite

A new study of old masters finds that capturing and showing off decadent and expensive meals is a decidedly old-fashioned practice. Like today's Instagrammers, it was all about projecting an image.
NPR

#FoodPorn, Circa 1600s: Then And Now, It Was More About Status Than Appetite

A new study of old masters finds that capturing and showing off decadent and expensive meals is a decidedly old-fashioned practice. Like today's Instagrammers, it was all about projecting an image.
WAMU 88.5

Virginia's Own Tim Kaine Takes The Democratic Veepstakes

We consider Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine's regional ties and the pros and cons of his vice presidential candidacy as the DNC gets underway.

NPR

Verizon Buys Yahoo For $4.8 Billion In Cash, Touting Gains In Mobile

The deal comes more than a year after Verizon paid $4.4 billion to acquire AOL; as part of Verizon, Yahoo will join the same division AOL currently occupies.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.