I don’t want to dwell on this too much, since it’s a criticism that has nothing to do with the music, but because we are dealing with the fifth album (four mixtapes and 1 LP) by K.R.I.T. in a span of three years—regardless of the batting average—oversaturation becomes a bit of an unintended biproduct. It’s the same with any artist who is extremely prolific in a short time span (Southern contemporary Curren$y springs to mind). It’s gotten to the point where some tracks within King Remembered in Time just sound like older K.R.I.T. tracks with a change in either lyrics or beats – just worse the second time you hear it. And like all other K.R.I.T. releases, a little tightening could have only helped King Remembered in Time.
But “Argh! Too much music!” isn’t my complaint with King Remembered in Time (especially since it’s a first world problem thing to say); it’s that for the first time, a K.R.I.T. mixtape sounds like a mixtape. For example, his major record debut Live From the Underground, other than some minute differences (guest features and live instrumentation), could have easily been (for better or for worse) interchangeable with any of the preceding mixtapes. Moreover, there are no “Country Shit,” “Dreamin’,” or “Handwriting” to be found here, three great songs found on each of his preceding mixtapes. Elsewhere, with King Remembered in Time, K.R.I.T. works samples—lazily, I might add—of well-known artists into his songs just because he can. As a mixtape, there are no sample clearance issues, so why not? And when Anthony Gonzalez (M83)’s easily-identifiable voice comes on the closer “Multi Til the Sun Die,” it strikes only to remind me of Lupe sampling the same artist on his own fiasco (see what I did there? I used his last name to—agh, nevermind).
So when James Blake’s hook from “The Wilhelm Scream” comes on “REM,” I’m hit with two feelings: the first is a nerdgasm, because—well, it’s James K.R.I.T. (Big B.L.A.K.E? I don’t know, we’ll figure out the best-sounding portmanteau later), but also a “Why is this happening?” K.R.I.T. has never needed to rely on a sample to provide the hook, a never-ending wealth of catchy one-liners is close to the top in his list of skills on his resume. But thankfully, “REM” manages to be an album highlight because of the way Krizzle works in the piano, punctuating Blake’s hooks before becoming a slower version of the one from K.R.I.T.’s previous “Viktorious” (songs sounding like pre-existing K.R.I.T. songs is another issue; for example, elsewhere, “Shine On” reminds me of “Just Touched Down” with its grandiose backing vocals while “Talkin Bout Nothing” reminds me of (again) “Viktorious” with its fast-rapping and counterpointing synth line. That being said, both are still good songs). On the other side of things, his sampling of M83’s “Wait” does not work. For some odd reason—I’m guessing it was a deliberate choice because K.R.I.T. is an excellent producer that he would not have done this accidentally—Gonzalez’s voice is cut up and the “NO TIME!” hook has a glaring stutter, “NO TI-II- -IME!”
There are a couple of other missteps throughout, but none near as bad. “Banana Clip Theory” steals the melody from Cee-Lo Green’s hook on Kid Cudi’s “Scott Mescudi vs. the World” down to its staccato phrasing, a move that singlehandedly brings down an otherwise good track in my books (seriously, compare them). However, because the slow-tempo track’s first chorus revolves around a lone saxophone, when K.R.I.T. introduces it the second time around with drums, especially after the stripped out section of the verse that preceded it, it’s an addition that sounds huge. I’ve always maintained that in addition to being able to drop a catchy hook (see basically every song in the opening half for empirical evidence, especially the Ashthon Jones-aided crunk-ship, “Good 2getha”), another of K.R.I.T.’s greatest strengths is revealed during his reflective tracks (which is why I put Live From the Underground as one of the best K.R.I.T. releases), which is why “WTF” and “Bigger Picture” are some more of King Remembered in Time’s highlights. Unfortunately, the latter suffers from a hook that’s way too much Parmesan that just goes on and on (and on) (and on). Elsewhere, apparently, BJ the Chicago Kid only brings his A-game to his outros when he’s doing them for Kendrick Lamar (think “Kush and Corinthians”).
Closing notes that don’t fit the rest of the review:
1. You could probably make a drinking game out of OutKast references in any K.R.I.T. album. Of course, you’d have relatively few participants, since they have to be sober enough to be paying attention and knowledgeable enough to catch them in the first place, but still. “Feeling good, feeling great, how are you?” Also, opener “Purpose” is basically a condensed “A Bad Note.”
2. After his first proper mixtape, Pineapple Now-Laters, went mostly ignored, discount-Frank-Ocean a.k.a. BJ the Chicago Kid had resolved to change his artist name to his real one, because mouthful handles with crude sex jokes aren’t at all professional to begin with. I guess that never happened.