Big K.R.I.T., ‘K.R.I.T. Wuz Here’ (Self-Released)
This Mississippi MC/producer’s bracing debut never lets you forget he hails from hip-hop’s gulag (David Banner being the only escapee). And though he feels slighted-“Guess I didn’t swag enough / Stupid fruity pebble chain Louis bag enough”-K.R.I.T.’s far from hidebound. Boasting an array of his own sophisticated beats, he’ll “pop that pussy” over a bouncy drone (“Country Shit”), then go deep on causes and effects (“As Small as a Giant,” “Children of the World,” “They Got Us”) with a nod to UGK and OutKast’s contemplative hustle. “Hometown Hero,” which riffs on Friday Night Lights‘ Boobie Miles, is the sort of cinematic narrative most rappers never approach.