Big K.R.I.T. set the bar for rap fanatics on Tuesday, showing and proving with 12 back-to-back freestyles as part of his XII/XII series. It started at noon and released throughout the day by the hour. Innovative, fresh, and just plain exciting, the campaign served as a trophy for longtime fans who’ve championed the respected MC for all these years. Simply put, the #12for12 freestyles proved to be an "I told you so" moment for fans, as Young Krizzle not only delivered, but banked it over the heads of critics one song at a time. So how did the former Def Jam signee do? Check out our ranking of K.R.I.T.’s 12 freestyles below.
"Other Side of the Game"
"A wrong becomes a right," raps Krizzle, which could be reflection of his move after parting ways with Def Jam. Moving on for the better, he takes this jazzy instrumental and shows off the light after the tunnel. "I’m gonna make it on my own." The flow here is as fluid as liquid, as K.R.I.T. bobs and weaves through the jazz percussions like Randall Cunningham on the gridiron.
Highlight Play: "Black is gold, but we strive for diamonds / Zion’s close, I just pray you find it and send word to those left behind it / Overwhelmed and undermined, instead of guns I got knowledge you should blow your mind with"
"4PM @ The Kappa"
Compared to the other entries, the wordplay on this is ridiculous. There’s a point in this song where K.R.I.T. literally describes cooking up a meal that winds up being a double entendre. ("I chopped up the slices and scraped off the flake / Im sorry for the mix up and scraped off the fake.")
Highlight Play: "Don’t be fronting on my name you can’t live where I stay / You don’t pay what I pay to get the Kobe filet / You prolly thinking Lakers, I was talking bout steak / It’s marble on the plate crustaceans on the way / Got tired of catching shrimp so I mixed up the bait / I mixed up the batter then I baked up the cake"
Krizzle kidnaps Future’s "Wicked," and over the span of two minutes he does everything from hailing himself the "Last Dragon breathing" to summoning the mirror on the wall to figure out "Who’s the coldest MC around?" The answer to the latter reveals itself from the track’s start through finish.
Highlight Play: "Its crazy the industry doubt us, so I’m picking up the pieces / Fixing the starch and the creases, make it where they gotta see me / Pay me just to come to meetings"
Within rap’s counsel of new leaders, K.R.I.T. stands out as not only a formidable MC, but one who possesses a rare, elastic flow that allows him to bounce atop any instrumental. Here is no different. Over ScHoolboy Q’s trippy cut, K.R.I.T. talks to his ego ("We got be the greatest to ever make it from the Dirty South") all the while lobbing a delivery that’s as smooth as a no-look pass from Utah Jazz legend John Stockton.
Highlight Play: "It’s going down just look alive, fuck what they heard and who they signed, you did more for the culture than them combined / It just took a while to prove them wrong 300 songs later / No debating, they’ll pass the crown to ya / At the feet of a king that was chained to defeat till he rose out the creek of the sip with a chip on his shoulders / Last of a dying breed, who gonna lead it? / This rap shit is over, matter of fact there is no subject matter or exposure / I can feel the end getting closer..."
"Country Niggas Anonymous"
It’s fitting that for the artwork to K.R.I.T.’s take on Pusha T and Jay Z’s hustler’s poem, the rhymer uses a photo of Joe Namath, the legendary Jets quarterback. And it’s "fitting" because K.R.I.T. pummels the DJ Dahi production just like Namath did the gridiron as lead passer within the Jets’ vertical offense.
Highlight Play: "A chopper with the product in the booth, I’m sweating bullets / Life’s a gamble, this a slot machine and I’ma pull it / I got steak, I got shrimp, I got lobster / What you cooking? / Three minutes, they got 45 left, Who you booking / Yeah that one song killed then it died / I was looking"
K.R.I.T. makes "Lockjaw" sound like it was his all along, and honestly there’s no extra words needed after this sentence to prove so. Hit play.
Highlight Play: "They drop the ball all they want and I’ma pick it up, windmill, 360, behind the back, but that just ain't enough / I’m left to shoot the shot one on the clock, I’m living for the clutch…"
Fitting closer in the series, K.R.I.T. tackles Kanye’s "Real Friends" and like the title suggests, his execution makes the play look "real easy."
Highlight Play: "Yeah you hustling for the Yeezy route, you would go back to the basement but that’s the easy out / Nowadays an easy play means you out of bounds / It ain’t easy being a peasant once you’ve held the crown"
Bouncing on this like a pull back jumper by Lamarcus Aldridge, Krizzle makes it known that “this ain’t even my flow” but makes it work anyway.
Highlight Play: "Who the greatest? Me, me, me, me, me, me, me and me / Who did I leave out?"
On a roll like a dice game, K.R.I.T.’s fluid, smooth delivery once again shines on, as he takes on one of the standouts from Drake’s No. 1 album, Views. "I’m two steps and three flights away," he raps, before hailing this "blood sport, gladiator shit."
Highlight Play: "Who the fuck said I wasn’t king? / Bow down I’m two steps and three flights away / I’m on the kinda bird that turn night to day / You gotta wait your turn I got the right of way / I built the castle I live in, you gotta fight to stay"
Rapid fire K.R.I.T. sounds hungrier than ever.
Highlight Play: "Far from the city, you might need a map to get where I'm at / The only time you ever see me drop a pin (pen) / Long as there's breath in my lungs, I keep going in / Long as I'm livin', make the mark, I be outta ten / Forever multi to the very end"
"The goal is travel, but I wouldn’t change the route," raps K.R.I.T. over this fluttery production. Enough said here.
Highlight Play: "Thinking back when grandma used to give me all those lectures / Now that I'm older I can see from her perspective / That money don't buy love, happiness, or heaven, blessings / I hope my tone convey that I'm serious and that you feel it / If these my last words, may they be more than lyrics, Krizzle"
Despite delivering his signature one-two, Krizzle’s take on Kodak Black’s "SKRT" isn’t as effective as the original. However, he does a good job at turning the street smash into a between-the-sheets lullaby if that counts.