Hotly hyped Mississippi rapper Big K.R.I.T. had a listening party for his much-delayed album Live From The Underground (Def Jam) last night! It went down at Fight Klub Studios in Manhattan, and SOTC pried out six pieces of information (both pertinent and willfully trivial) about the project, which will finally be released on June 5.
1. Big K.R.I.T. Really Hearts Candles
With candles set up around the venue, all of the undisputed evidence points to Big K.R.I.T. being hip-hop’s biggest candle connoisseur. One candle, placed in the elevator that took attendees up to the main studio, was situated next to some portable speakers that were not playing any music. There were candles on tables around the studio’s rooms. And there was even a fake electronic candle in the bathroom. The favored scents? Mandarin Splash and Black Coconut.
2. There Was Free Fried Chicken
Apparently, when intelligent, progressive-thinking southern rappers who are signed to Def Jam visit New York, the label makes them feel all snug and at home by laying out a spread of fried chicken from Hooters.
3. The Album Contains Some Punchy Songs
The DJ announced that only “some tracks” from Underground would be played, and without hearing the full thing in sequence, it was impossible to judge whether K.R.I.T.’s album will carry the extra commercial punch that his critically-acclaimed mixtapes have lacked. But the songs aired out had a tangible increase in intensity—particularly the title track, which came complete with a scratched in “live from the underground railroad” hook, and an unannounced song that came off like a cousin to Three 6 Mafia’s “Stay Fly” and broke into a four-to-the-floor kick-drum pattern for the chorus.
4. The Plague Of 2 Chainz Continues
As with every other rap record ever this year, Live From The Underground features a guest turn from the lunk-like 2 Chainz, this time in tandem with Memphis icons 8Ball and MJG on “Money On The Floor.” According to a recent Kanye West tweet, 2 Chainz now charges $100,000 for a verse—which means that if K.R.I.T. is paying retail, the line “Reel them hoes in, it look like I’m going fishing” cost him $8,300. That’s a lot of potential candle cash.
5. The Bass That Might Eat Miami
The Fight Klub studio sound system is clearly kitted out with Mega-Bass technology—and possibly also auto-reverse and an anti-rolling mechanism—and most of K.R.I.T.’s tracks were typified by swarming baselines of the sort that critics love to call cavernous. Live From The Underground seems like an album that will prosper when played on something less tinny than laptop speakers.
6. It’s Luda!
The song “What U Mean,” which is strung around a sample of K.R.I.T.’s own voice, features Ludacris, with the two rappers spitting over a production embellished by a spacey synth refrain. It’s a really good look.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 16, 2012