Loud Minded: Release the crunk
Music columnist William Schmitt on why Big K.R.I.T. is so damn good
Kids, it’s been a trip to be a MOVE columnist. I’m glad that I’ve not let my life get in the way of the commitment I made months ago, when I was a much sadder and more trusting individual. Since then, I stopped putting all my faith in non-reciprocal beings, and I got in the habit of not blaming myself for all of the stupid shit that life kept throwing my way. And high-five for Jesus, because through my columns I’ve been shedding my worthless Catholic guilt that I accumulated and stored in my ribcage like radioactive pyrite.
One of the best ways to subdue mournfulness and make sadness wear the dunce cap is by listening to Big K.R.I.T. Brothers and sisters, I’m all for listening to the classical progenitors of the hip-hop faith, but some days you just gotta tap the bottle, twist the cap and let out yo’ crunk. You all have it inside of you. Some people wear their crunk on their sleeves, some only show it after a night of willful inebriation, but we all have a little monster inside of us that leans with it and rocks with it as though life depends on it.
Krizzle, as K.R.I.T. is occasionally referred to in the same Doggy-style that is responsible for names like Weezy, Yeezy, Breezy, Drizzy and Vizzy, recently released another free album in his quest to endear himself to the world as the next great Southern rapper. He calls it King Remembered In Time, which is also the “kay-are-eye-tee” of his name. As you all should know thanks to grade school, “crunk” is a cousin of hip-hop that originated from Three 6 Mafia and Lil Jon, joined by highways I-22 and I-20 and the need of a word to describe insane amounts of uninhibited energy.
Crunk refers to the state of being where one transcends the limitations of a physical body and becomes one with the bass, a formless entity entwined with the call and response of the hype man and the crowd. A typical audience member of crunk drinks too much lean and turns the bass up in their slabs. “Turnt up,” or simply “turnt,” is actually a modern day version of the word "crunk" that has been adapted by similar Southern cultural movements.
Any fucking way you go about it, K.R.I.T. is dope as all fucking hell. His newest effort has four truly essential songs and no bad tracks. These songs are absolutely essential if you enter into the Fraternity of Crunk, which is like the Brotherhood of Man but deliberately slower and louder than a Greektown weekend. By reading this sentence, by the way, you do agree to enter the Fraternity of Crunk, who does not discriminate by creed, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or liquor of choice.
The first is “My Trunk” featuring ecstasy enthusiast/trap sensation Trinidad James, who was by no small coincidence born in Trinidad. This song would have no place in the ears of children were it not for Ol' Dirty Bastard’s declaration that “Wu-Tang is for the children,” thus opening the door for all lesser hip-hops. It is about riding around town with bros and rolling blunts, both time-tested standards of lying for any and all high school freshmen.
In reverse order of how seriously you should take the message of the song, “How U Luv That” comes in second. It doesn’t have the overt offensiveness of “My Trunk,” but it contains much more aggressive bragging, notably guest Big Sant’s brag of “Time to take off the T-tops, we on that like banners / Man, hold up, my car older than your favorite rapper,” which fails the rhyme test but aces the “Oh shit homey, you just got murked” quiz. Key to this song’s success is the beat, a guitar-driven thumper that will take you to the chiropractor.
Third comes “Banana Clip Theory,” where K.R.I.T. is able to display the storytelling diploma he got from the School of Slick Rick. Not to try and compare every single rapper to Kendrick Lamar, and then yes, to do just that, this song has a beat like “Rigamortis” and a story like “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst." Note that K.R.I.T. did not steal any elements from either rapper — he is acknowledged as such because he shows competence in the same elements as the other men.
Finally comes K.R.I.T.’s grand tribute to himself: “Multi Til The Sun Die.” Thankfully, this track is not a "Walk into the club, like here’s my genitalia” kind of bragging tune, it’s an “I thank God and family for walking with me,” which makes me feel warm inside. The beat is beautiful, a grand bouncing orchestra of sexy vitality that leaves no option but smiling and head-nodding.
K.R.I.T. came into my consciousness in high school when he released K.R.I.T. Wuz Here. I’m not rubbing it into your face that I’ve heard of him before you — I’m telling you about this mixtape because when I talk to people who like K.R.I.T. as much as I do, they all invariably started really liking him upon listening to this and hearing tracks like "Children of the World" and "Viktorious." By starting here and working your way through his discography, you will hear both bass and basic truth. Join the Brotherhood of Crunk, my friend, and I will see you once you turn up to my level.
I give my thanks to the MOVE staff for the great semester, especially to my editor, and I thank you if you’ve read this column even once. Go in peace now. Go in peace to love your neighbor and get crunk.