Press Releases

Big K.R.I.T. – Live From The Underground album review

For avid hip-hop fans, Big K.R.I.T. had arrived long ago; showcasing his soulful skills on independently released mixtapes like 2010’s “KRIT Wuz Here” and this spring’s “4eva And A Day”.  For the rest of us, K.R.I.T.’s debut album “Live From The Underground” is a brief introduction to the Mississippi native who slings laid-back verses over Southern blues infused beats.  While the rapper may have signed to Def Jam, “Live from the Underground” stays true to its anti-mainstream roots as K.R.I.T.’s everyman-appeal and modesty shines throughout the album.

Produced entirely by K.R.I.T. himself, “Live from the Underground” is as introspective as a rap album will get.  With a thick layer of blues guitars, expressive horns and hooks from the likes of B.B. King, K.R.I.T. paints a picture of everyday struggle while modestly pushing through hardships.  The artist takes risks venturing off into a multitude of subgenres and coming out unscathed: West Coast G-funk synth lines displayed on “Money On The Floor” and “Don’t Let Me Down”, lazy reggae chords on “Pull Up” feat. Bun B and Big Sant, and Southern R&B-tinged gospel vibes on “Cool 2 Be Southern” and “If I Fall.”

K.R.I.T. really excels, however, when he rhymes over soulful, bluesy beats.

The album’s standout track, “Praying Man”, featuring the blues legend B.B. King, delivers a powerful image of slavery and oppression.  K.R.I.T. flexes his storytelling abilities here as each verse involves a black person being saved from his oppressor by the elusive “Praying Man”: “And I been wounded for some miles, so I decided to rest my head, I guess they let me go cause they assumed that I was dead, Smiled and said ‘Son hop in this wagon and get settled’, He offered me a ride and drove me far away from my oppressor, forever “

If there is anything to negate K.R.I.T.’s socially conscious efforts, it’s the jadedness found in his voice.  Usually void of real emotion, K.R.I.T. speaks as if he’ll take no pity or joy.  That’s easily forgivable though based on the harsh realties he raps about.  Plus, his self-produced beats bring enough emotion to the table that calling him on his verbal tone would be faulty.  “Live From The Underground” may not be new or perfect to some but is an honest and genuine stepping stone for an artist on his way to something big.  K.R.I.T. stands for King Remembered In Time and only time will tell where the big man takes his conscious efforts.


Azealia Banks – 1991 album review

Barely old enough to order a drink, Azealia Banks serves up a heaping dose of lyrical debauchery on her newest EP, 1991, which was released digitally last week (physical release set for June 12th).  Banks’ sexually charged, in-your-face vocals pair nicely with the stripped down, early 90’s house music vibe heard throughout the album.  As we reach the midpoint of 2012, the “young terror from the nyc” is poised to the newest alternative IT girl, ready to be played out by mainstream radio and hipsters alike.

The obvious standout of the album is “212” featuring Lazy Jay’s 2009 track “Float My Boat.”  While the track may have been leaked last year, it feels fresh as ever as Banks’ rapid-fire lyrics dance with playful horn blasts and tropical riddims.  Plus, Banks flexes her singing skills with a sultry hook that may be sweet enough to forgive her for vulgarity on the infamously repeated “I guess that cunt gettin eaten” line.  Also leaked last year, “Liquorice” takes you on a high-speed ride of 808-drums and retro trance synths courtesy of UK producer Lone.

The album’s title track (“1991”) and “Van Vogue” are stellar additions to round out the album.  The two tracks, produced by eclectic bass music producer, Machinedrum, continue the EP’s housey agenda to a percussive wonderland.  “1991” is a minimal, Burial-esque track featuring pulsating bell sounds and an evolving melody that sounds like it could have easily been produced in, well…1991.  “Van Vogue” has the same feel as “1991” tinged with subtle R&B influences and airy reverb as well as a cleverly placed sample of a barking dog midway through the hook.

At the end of 1991’s mere 16 minute run time, you’ll hear a multitude of foul-mouthed phrases that should never be spoken in public.  But even after Banks’ gritty lyrics, you’ll somehow be left with a strange feeling of playfulness and innocence in her voice.  She’ll leave you shocked, confused and begging for more.  1991 is a breakthrough album that already feels classic.


Far East Movement – Dirty Bass album review

Los Angeles hit makers Far East Movement are at the forefront of pop music’s evolution towards the bass-thumping, neon-wearing industry standard of 2012.  The group’s newest effort, Dirty Bass, is a relentless 14-track dance party fit for pre-gaming sorority girls, bachelorette parties and anyone who fancies overusing the term “#YOLO.”  That said, the album has its fist-pumping-good-time moments, but is sadly a diluted taste of the seemingly boundless electronic dance music scene.

While the album’s production value is top-notch, Dirty Bass fails to offer a deviation from formulaic, LMFAO-esque party anthems.  The album’s one-dimensional platform plays out more as a playlist of selected singles rather than a complete body of work.  The common theme of the album is a bit crass and abundantly clear: everybody should want to party as hard as Far East Movement.  Songs like “Live My Life” ft. Justin Beiber (“I’m gonna live my life, No matter what, we party tonight”) and “Basshead” ft. YG (“Pop, pop, take a sip like, we the cool kids, take a hit”) seek to push Dirty Bass’ party hard agenda.

Despite a lack of lyrical breadth, there are a few gems hidden in Dirty Bass.   The title track (“Dirty Bass” ft. Tyga) starts the album off strong with a hard-hitting bassline and a tropical soca drum pattern reminiscent of Major Lazer’s “Pon de Floor” while “Turn Up the Love” ft. Cover Drive features an incredibly fun and infectious horn section.  The trancey and upbeat “Fly With U” ft. Cassie stands out as a feel good club banger as well.

It would be foolish to take Dirty Bass too seriously.  In all, it’s a fun party album riding the wave of pop’s new fascination with bass-heavy dance music.  Just let the bass move you and take the lyrics with a grain of salt (or a shot of tequila).