"If you're lookin' for a Southern country bumpkin, let me be it," Meridian, Mississippi, rapper-producer Big K.R.I.T. proclaims on his major-label debut. As on his mixtapes, this lovable throwback evokes his down-home life and day-to-day grind over the playacadillistic grooves of vintage Outkast and UGK. But his retro vision is wide; B.B. King appears on the politically minded "Praying Man," and the melody of "Don't Let Me Down" recalls the Beatles track of the same name. K.R.I.T. isn't flashy, but his spry, liquid verses are full of empathy, even for the haters: "It's hard to celebrate for others when you're dying poor." His underground is open to everyone.
Listen to 'Live From the Underground':
• Photos: Random Notes