Big K.R.I.T. first caught my attention in 2011, when he dropped his seventh (yes, seventh) mixtape –
‘Return of 4Eva’. I rarely find myself hanging on to whole mixtapes for an extended period of time, but
the incredibly strong production (done entirely by K.R.I.T. himself) and perfectly placed features have kept the majority of Return of 4Eva’s songs in heavy rotation in my headphones to this very day. R4 dominated my playlists in 2011, and overshadowed a ton of major label records that year, so needless to say – I was eager to hear whatever was next. K.R.I.T. was signed to Def Jam in 2010, but hadn’t released his major label debut until just last year, titled “Live From The Underground”. Long story short, LFU came up short for me in more ways than one, but still wasn’t a bad record. Having been blown away by Return of 4Eva, and then let down by Live From The Underground, I came in with big expectations for “King Remembered In Time” – as I’m sure many others did as well.
“King Remembered In Time” (which is what the ‘K.R.I.T.’ in ‘Big K.R.I.T.’ stands for) has far more features than I’m used to on his projects. Big Sant is a regular on his works, and Bun B is always a welcome addition to any body of music regardless of genre, but adding artists like Future, Trinidad Jame$, Wiz Khalifa, and Smoke DZA into the mixture could attract a few new listeners, but put off others. Also, aside from ‘Life Is A Gamble’, produced by 9th Wonder, this record is produced – like all of his other mixtapes, entirely by K.R.I.T. himself (which is annoying as fuck to keep typing out like that, by the way). I already know that this mixtape is likely to be dick-ridden (dick-rode?) like crazy, so I feel obligated as a fan to be brutally honest in my review because I naturally expect that it will be quality.
Purpose: I can’t remember the last time I heard the wail of an electric guitar open up a rap album, but the
background guitars that follow are just beautiful. K.R.I.T. delivers a solid intro here, which sets the tone
nicely for a better track to follow. Which brings us to…
Shine On feat. Bun B: Man you don’t even have to try and convince me to like a track that has “featuring
Bun B” in the title. You just don’t. I’m always going to like it, no matter how ass the main rapper is on
it. Luckily, K.R.I.T. brings some quality bars here, and Bun does what he does – make veterans look
like amateurs and amateurs look like your buddy from high school who had that ‘rapper phase’. The
universe needs these 4000 BPM southern snares and hats, and K.R.I.T. (whose name I have copied to
my clipboard at this point to avoid having to type it over and over) does his thing, truly setting this tape off
the right way.
Talkin’ Bout Nothing: I instantly hated this beat. This brought me back to ‘What U Mean’ featuring
Ludacris from K.R.I.T.’s full-length album from last year. It’s not the only track on this album that harkens
back to previous production patterns, which bothers me when I listen to an artist who produces most of
his own music. The simplicity of this beat was oddly distracting, and I found myself not caring much about
K.R.I.T.’s subject matter. Which is ironic, given the title of the track.
King Without A Crown: This beat is reminiscent of ‘I Got This’ from Live From The Underground, which
was easily my favorite track on the album. Regardless of the similarities of K.R.I.T.’s production and flows
– he plays to his own strengths, and that’s something I can’t help but respect. This track doesn’t have
anything we haven’t heard from K.R.I.T. before, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all. Lots of energy
REM: Well, I guess I’ll just put my foot in my mouth now. This beat is unlike most of K.R.I.T.’s production
I’ve heard, but the themes are largely the same. K.R.I.T.’s introspective raps are great to listen to – but I
can only hear about one subject so many times. There’s a lot of passion and hunger in this song, and I
really appreciate that.
Meditate: I’d love to see a K.R.I.T. show with some live guitars. K.R.I.T. clearly loves his background
strings, and I have zero qualms with his continued use of them. Meditate is a literal ‘what would you
do’ song, and K.R.I.T. asks the audience what they’d do in situations that he never really explains fully.
He gets around to detailing what sounds like a battle with alcohol, and reflects on his journey through
life. I have trouble listening to ‘reflections’ like this, because while the intention is to sound deep and introspective – many end up just coming across as corny, with the artists just sounding deep for the sake
of sounding deep. K.R.I.T. treads this fine line frequently, and runs the risk of beating us over the head
with his own guilt.
Serve This Royalty: Other than the chorus and the horns, this is just ‘meh’ for me. Metaphors to royalty
abound here, comparing the jewelry adorning rappers to crowns, convincing a woman to serve and
believe in a successful man.. I’ve always disliked the ‘king of ______’ themes in rap, which doesn’t put
this song in great standing for me.
Good 2getha feat. Ashton Jones: This is a dope feature. I hadn’t heard of Ashton Jones before this track,
but as the title suggests, her voice and K.R.I.T.’s go great together. It’s unfortunate that the tempo in the
beginning changes at all, because it completely ruins the song for me. This goes from a potentially great
duet to a 90s rap-pop song in 30 seconds. I love the chorus, and would love to hear more from K.R.I.T.
and Jones together – but I’m disappointed in the direction this track went in.
Just Last Week feat. Future (Snippet): Man, get Future the fuck out of here. Deleted almost immediately.
Hate the beat, hate the feature, don’t even have time to wait for K.R.I.T.’s verse. And wait – this is a
snippet? I’m sorry, did I download a mixtape, or a Whitman’s Rap Sampler? Whatever comes next better
be dope to make up for this bullshit.
My Trunk feat. Trinidad Jame$: I cannot stand Trinidad Jame$. Let me just make this very clear. Having
said that – I have no problem with his presence on this track at all. This is kind of like the ‘My Sub Part 3’
for this mixtape, and Jame$ fits in nicely on this incredibly ignorant southern banger.
How U Luv That feat. Big SANT: Big Sant’s presence has been a consistent theme throughout K.R.I.T.’s
discography, and that isn’t a bad thing. This track continues with the braggadocios themes from the
previous track, and just listening to this beat makes me want to invest in some wood grain for my car’s
Only One feat. Wiz Khalifa & Smoke DZA: Can’t stand Wiz, but I dig most of Smoke DZA’s work.
Chances are I’m throwing this joint into GarageBand just to completely chop Wiz’s verse out.
Banana Clip Theory: If there’s one thing that can be said about Big K.R.I.T., it’s that he’s good on any
tempo. I’ve heard rappers that I love on slower tracks, but can’t stand to listen to on anything fast. K.R.I.T.
is versatile enough to be consistent, get his message across, and sound great on a variety of speeds –
which must be convenient for someone who produces their own music. Solid track.
Life Is A Gamble feat. BJ The Chicago Kid (prod. 9th Wonder): I’ve been anxious to hear this 9th Wonder
instrumental since the start of the tape. Similar to other great producers, you can normally tell a 9th
Wonder drum kit and sample when you hear it, and this particular one adds a much needed dynamic
to King Remembered In Time. K.R.I.T. flexes his storytelling skills here, and BJ The Chicago Kid layers
some pretty great harmonies onto this already fantastic beat.
WTF: What the fuck is going on with K.R.I.T.’s flow in the beginning here? I waited 1 minute and 50
seconds for the beat to drop, and the track was still a mess. I think I understand the ‘prog’ rhythm K.R.I.T.
was trying to grasp here, but it just didn’t work for me.
Bigger Picture: A love song, which is a great change of pace for K.R.I.T.’s normal subject matter. I really
enjoyed the metaphors here and comparisons of forming a lasting relationship to a work of art. Songs like
these are refreshing, but I think one per mixtape is enough.
Multi Til The Sun Die: Regardless of the continuous mention of ‘Multi’ on this tape, K.R.I.T. still doesn’t
really explain what ‘Multi’ is. Aside from the context telling us that Multi is a school of thought or ideal
that he strictly adheres to, we get nothing. Similar to Return of 4Eva’s “R4” references, Multi seems like a movement in K.R.I.T.’s own mind, a way he champions his own ideals and teaches them to others. Also,
there’s violins in here. Interesting choice of an outro for this tape.
Overall, K.R.I.T. proves that he’s still relevant and prepared to continue his campaign after his studio
debut, and is unwilling to let us forget that he’s sticking to his roots. I definitely appreciate the effort on
King Remembered In Time, but I still doubt that anything K.R.I.T. comes out with is going to top Return
of 4Eva. There’s a pretty good tracklist here, K.R.I.T.’s production is great, and this tape has a few great
features – Bun B being the clear standout. One big disappointment here is the lack of progression, but
constant repetition. I mentioned multiple times that certain instrumentals and flows sounded too much like previous tracks, and I just pray that K.R.I.T. gets his creative juices seriously flowing for his next project. Big K.R.I.T. is still one of my favorite artists out right now, but I truly feel like Return of 4Eva spoiled me to the point where nothing will ever come close. Is it possible to be biased towards and against an artist at the same time? I guess so. Until then, I’ll be waiting patiently for K.R.I.T.’s next effort.
The Outcome: 8 out of 17 tracks kept.
How U Luv That x Big K.R.I.T. f. Big Sant