By Daniel Paiz
The return isn’t going to take forever after all, as A Week’s Worth Album Review is back to check out Big K.R.I.T’s newest venture. Digital Roses Don’t Die is a February 2022 release from the Meridan, Mississippi emcee, and it might be the most sonically luscious project out right now. The jazziness, the funk, the sonic landscape before your earlobes is a crossroads between Silk Sonic’s most recent offering and another Southern sound. I’m not one that likes to compare acts to OutKast, but this album reminds me of an OutKast tape, though there are some glaring differences.
The biggest difference is what I usually defend artists of doing when they choose to switch things up.
A Return and a new direction
This album feels like a return to earlier work sound wise, but also feels like it’s a reroute. The past couple K.R.I.T albums have been a meshing of hypnotic bass and lyrical dexterity. That bass is usually something required to compare anyone to the revered Stankonia duo. It’s not in that same ‘Kast realm, but it’s present enough to guide the Jazz, Soul, and Funk echoing throughout. The directional change is the switch in lyrics; the mood and feelings are the focus, not executing dynamic rhymes. The album title should have given that way, but I was just too hopeful to realize it.
That timeless adage of giving someone their flowers while they can still smell them echoes across these tracks. This heralded emcee isn’t worried about advancing his own legend in terms of proving he’s one of the best out. Instead, he’s giving those roses to those musicians and creatives collaborating with him, as well as people in his own life.
That reasoning is because truthfully, this isn’t a Hip-Hop album and it’s hard to label it as one standalone genre. In fact, “Southside of the Moon” is the only “Hip-Hop” track on the album. I had been wondering about that, but K.R.I.T recently put to rest any doubt:
Its an ode to Hiphop but also the only hiphop song on the album. I wanted that to be the first song because of how far the album would sonically go.Big K.R.I.T reddit AMA, when asked about “southside of the moon”
While the emcee himself says “Southside” is the lone hip-hop track, I disagree with that. Rapping from the perspective of inanimate objects isn’t anything new; Nas rapping from the gun’s perspective comes to mind first. KRIT, in classic king fashion, raps from the vantage point of the rims and the grill of a car. That’s right, parts of a car. It’s nothing mind-blowing, but it is fun and provides some good imagery. Here’s a taste of those curbside views:
If I was a grill, I’d shine my light on the real
And motherfuck all them laws to show them just how I feel
And fall in love with a chrome lady
And probably have chrome babies ’cause we got a real connection
And candy paint couldn’t fade it, close but separated, I know, I know
But the neon’s around me, so I glow, I glow
I’m like the best edition, like, who really needs a engine?
I smile, they wave in a distance, like, “My!”verse 2 on “Rhode Clean”, track 4 on DDRD
Personifying seemingly mundane parts of a vehicle is just more of flexing that creative muscle. The words only capture a portion of the song, because this song is deeply driven by the musical arrangements. The mood and feelings on this song are best experienced by listening.
Unsurprisingly there are a lot of mixed reactions to this project. If you are looking for something to bump in your trunk, this Multi Alumni artist has plenty to choose from. If you were hoping for some rappity raps that pushed the boundaries of Southern lyricism, like me you’re a bit underwhelmed in that regard. However, if you’re just looking for some good music to jam out to and not have to overthink, or find the hidden meanings in, then you’re likely satisfied.
After the last couple of Big K.R.I.T projects I have to admit I’m slightly disappointed. But, not in the way that you think. I was hoping to have an album to listen to and brag about as one of the best lyrical projects released in 2022. Instead, I get to brag about this being one of the most soulful and (like most of the time) underrated albums of the year.