Mississippi rapper/producer Big KRIT has been one of hip-hop’s most consistent rappers over the course of this decade, despite his open battles with labels and critiques of his mixtape quality vs his album quality. In 2017, having finally left Def Jam, he dropped what is arguably his greatest studio album 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time on his own label imprint Multi Alumni. A double disc album showcasing the dual sides of the esteemed souther rapper, KRIT’s first independent album garnered almost universal praise and served as the epitome of what he had been hinting at his entire career.
The title of his latest album KRIT IZ HERE harkens back to his 2010 breakthrough mixtape KRIT Wuz Here, and the immediate expectation was that KRIT would bring this decade full-circle in much the same way he began it. But instead of creating another career-defining moment like he does every couple of years or so, IZ HERE features a much more stagnant KRIT – he sounds neither intent on pushing the envelope again but inspired enough that this album isn’t completely passive. Still, this album is rather pedestrian by KRIT’s own high standards.
There are certainly some glorious moments across this album, sonically and lyrically, like the opening title track and the jazzy, spoken word closer “M.I.S.S.I.S.S.I.P.P.I.” But some songs, like “I Been Waitin” and “I Made,” which are both rather generic and formulaic, don’t sound like the type of production choices often associated with KRIT’s reputation behind the boards — and coincidentally, they actually aren’t. KRIT doesn’t have his fingerprints on any of the production credits, and to be quite honest, the listener can hear the difference. And for the most part, lyrically, KRIT sounds like he’s simply on cruise control, with only sparse moments of truly captivating lyrical magic. For a body of work that he can confidently say he has all the rights to, it still doesn’t feel like KRIT fully owns this album.
It’s unfortunate that this album is merely good but not as great as his 2010 mixtape was. It’s good to see KRIT being more collaborative and sounding more relaxed, as his career up to this point certainly deserves at least a moment of leisure. But on the heels of what might be the greatest artistic achievement of his career, and being the present tense of the mixtape that put him on the map, I’m just not sure KRIT IZ HERE was the perfect encapsulation that fans were looking for.