by John Tarpley
With every new track, it gets harder to justify listening to any post-Rikers Lil Wayne. Jay Electronica is brilliant, but — imperfection be damned — he won't make a peep for months at a time. Ditto Andre 3000. Bun B and Scarface are already part of the canon. So who are we supposed to get in a tizzy about?
Right now, I and thousands of others are looking to Big K.R.I.T. to take the wheel and keep the South on track. Only 24, the Meridian, Miss., native has gone from rap-blog favorite to emcee-to-beat over the last year, writing, producing and releasing two of the best mixtapes in years with "K.R.I.T. Wuz Here" and its follow-up, "Return of 4Eva," my pick for the best rap album of the year by a country mile. It's essential listening, the sound of a buzzy draftee defying the high expectations and knocking any potential "over-" labels off of "over-hyped."
Since, K.R.I.T. (and his logo, a repurposed Basquiat crown) has broken through the Internet bubble, getting co-signs from NPR and the New York Times. He's crossed the Mississippi to visit Little Rock a few times over the years, but this may be your last time to see the next big thing up close and without binoculars.
K.R.I.T. gets local support from members of the Conduit Fam: Arkansas Bo, one half of Suga City (and other emcee okayed by that voice of the streets, NPR), opens alongside 607, who, alongside his brother Bobby, uses the night to release the latest Ear Fear album, "Art Class." Because, as Lord Six says, "everyone enjoyed their mandatory art class."
Why not: if you can't tell, I love the dude, so here's a blog-exclusive Big K.R.I.T. primer:
"Another Naive Individual Glorifying Greed and Encouraging Racism"
"No Wheaties" (feat Curren$y and Smoke DZA)
and the dude gets attacked by Narduwar!