krit wuz here

What now marks a midpoint in Mississippi artist Big K.R.I.T.’s discography also happens to be a point of paramount importance in his career. After years of mostly flying under the radar and even coming close to calling it quits, all the universal elements aligned in 2010 when K.R.I.T. released his sixth project, K.R.I.T. Wuz Here.  A project that initiated a chain reaction of recognition from listeners and critics alike that would prove pivotal to his success. Today, five active years and just as many projects have lapsed for K.R.I.T., whose ascendancy into an industry force was speculatively birthed May 3, 2010 with the assurance that indeed, K.R.I.T. Wuz Here.

A global financial crisis was in full swing. The country was reeling from the effects of the collapsed housing market; coping with unemployment rates higher than anyone had seen since the 80’s and talk of ever present racial tensions was relegated to private discussion. The “American dream” jig was in full orbit. Timing is everything and Big K.R.I.T. released K.R.I.T. Wuz Here at a auspicious moment of escalating discontent. K.R.I.T. himself had recently been evicted and forced to return home due to lack of commercial success before being offered the chance to work with Cinematic Music Group, the label that would ultimately release KWH.  It seemed as if the then 23 year old rapper from Meridian, Mississippi was so fed up that he could rap us out of the recession and above the hate, given a chance.

I was 22 and only a few months into adjusting to life as a mother. Not to mention, going on 3 years of being completely uninspired by and uninterested in almost every new artist I came across. Then “Children of The World”, one of the standout tracks from K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, blared through my car speakers at the behest of my boyfriend’s brother. I was in awe. K.R.I.T.’s raw, southern grit and bravado along with the acapella lyrical slaughter displayed in the last 50 seconds of the track sent my head spinning. Retrospectively, the feelings that were elicited the first time I heard KWH altered my entire outlook on new music.

Who was this amazing artist that I almost didn’t give a chance? What else was I missing? Did other people know about him? Little did I know the effect that KWH would have on K.R.I.T.’s then budding career for years to come.

With features on Curren$y’s Pilot Talk and Wiz Khalifa’s Kush & Orange Juice both within weeks of K.R.I.T. Wuz Here’s debut, followed by a tidal wave of attention, it was clear that people indeed knew about K.R.I.T.  Not only did KWH garner the attention of critics, eventually being ranked on many end of the year “top lists” by outlets including Vibe, it stirred the interest of current Def Jam executive Sha Money XL. He signed K.R.I.T. to the label within a month.

In April 2011, despite being signed to a major record label, K.R.I.T. released a free album (again through CMG) titled Return of 4Eva as a means of conveying to fans that KWH was no fluke. An instant success, Return of 4Eva was met with rave reviews and even more praise than KWH. Return of 4Eva solidified K.R.I.T.’s position as a force in the industry and drew assertions that K.R.I.T. was a successor to southern hip-hop legends UGK, Outkast and Scarface. K.R.I.T. was included in XXL’s 2011 Freshman Class, named one of Rolling Stone’s “Artist To Watch”, and nominated for two BET awards including Rookie of The Year. The list goes on and on. None of which might have happened without the raw talent and drive displayed on K.R.I.T. Wuz Here.

Aside from its success in the industry, K.R.I.T. Wuz Here found an entire fan base that was suddenly hanging on K.R.I.T.’s every word, one that has continued to remain loyal and support him in every facet of his career. Again, timing is everything. K.R.I.T. gave listeners soul food at a time when insatiable hunger was at a peak. As you delve deeper into K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, you experience the unadulterated full spectrum of human emotion. Songs such as “Children of the World”, “2000 & Beyond” and “They Got Us” highlight the reality of how depraved a society we live in. Growing tired of being underappreciated comes to a head on “See Me On Top” and “Viktorious”. The sheer nostalgia of “Neva Go Back”, the bravado of “Country Shit” and “Gumpshun” alongside the insecurities in life and love with “Good Enough” and “Sometimes”. The pain of losing loved ones displayed on “I Gotta Stay” and the fun, lighthearted moments that shine through with “Glass House” and “Moon & Stars”.

Five years, multiple successful free projects and two studio albums later, K.R.I.T. has shown plenty of progress as an artist. Still, K.R.I.T. Wuz Here remains an exemplary work of art that continues to be just as relatable and enjoyable as when it was initially released. All in all, the undeniable connection that K.R.I.T. made with anyone that listened to KWH is a driving force of his rapid growth and success since. Big K.R.I.T. is here now and the world knows it, thanks in part to a crown and the simple statement “K.R.I.T. Wuz Here” crudely but permanently carved into existence.