Mississippi native Justin Scott p.k.a Big K.R.I.T. released his latest project Digital Roses Don’t Die last week on February 17, 2022.
The fifth full-length album in his discography sees K.R.I.T. tapping into some unexpected creative influences to produce an album that was a step outside of what some may consider his “box”.
DRDD is a soulful album that is essentially a breakdown of what the experience of being in love is like from a vulnerable, realistic, and emotionally intelligent perspective with a hint of K.R.I.T.’s signature Southern platitudes and imagery.
I listened to the album with my girlfriend throughout the day last Friday and many of the tracks resonated with us on the first spin, even though it wasn’t an in-depth listen. Later that night, we sat down and caught a vibe with the album in spatial audio.
That’s when we really picked up on how much effort had been put into the sonics, lyrics, and concept of the album overall.
Conceptualizing The Experience Of Love
K.R.I.T. explained the direction of the project in a recent Instagram Live session for his fans, “I wanted to make an album that was just happy and it was the ups and downs of the base idea of just love.”
This is achieved by the sequencing of the album, themes of the tracks, the interludes, and the number of tracks.
The rollout for the album, including the official video for the single So Cool, featured a number of hints that it would have a 70’s R&B vibe and an expansion on themes that K.R.I.T. had visited previously on tracks such as Red Eye, Higher Calling, and Third Eye.
The end result is an album that sounds like Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On album meets 8-Ball and MJG’s “Space Age Pimpin”, it’s a declaration of love from the perspective of a Southern everyman expressing his feelings in the most authentic and vulnerable way he can.
The Elements Of Attraction
Fire (Interlude) opens the album up and sees Scott giving a spoken-word style breakdown of what the theme of this portion of the album consists of. This starts the pattern of the interludes being named after the elements and the following tracks embodying those elements.
The interludes also maintain a motif of photos being used to symbolize the status of the relationship as we move through each one, with smiles serving as filters or masks. Initially, no filters are needed because the smiles are genuine, but by the time we arrive at the closing interlude; the smiles are being used as filters to cover up the reality of the relationship.
Southside of The Moon, Show You Right, and Rhode Clean detail feelings you have when you first meet someone new and the initial spark flickers to life.
Southside Of The Moon is about when you first connect with somebody on a deeper level, you want to see each other as much as possible. You want to dive into that person and who they are, trying to see if the vibes are real or if it’s just infatuation.
Show You Right is a song about the buildup of attraction that comes after getting to know each other and climbing deeper into that connection with each other. Applying pressure. It also seems to allude to it possibly being a right person, wrong time situation. Rhode Clean is a signature KRIT car metaphor. The track channels the feeling of having a queen on your arm for the world to see and that feeling of gratefulness to have something real in this facade-focused society.
Content and Connected
Earth (Interlude) sets the theme for the next three tracks, which deal with the feeling of being grounded and secure with your partner. Knowing that you’re in the right place with the right person. This section consists of Cum Out To Play, Just For You, and So Cool.
Cum Out To Play is a musical sex scene. The sonics create a feeling of sensuality and the lyrics evoke erotic energy without having to say a lot. The ending is a fireworks show, which reminded me of the episode of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air where Carlton lost his virginity.
Just For You is a song about applying pressure and letting somebody know, “I’m serious bout this here, signal strong I’m clear about this here” in the words of K.R.I.T himself. You’re locked in and focused on them and only them.
So Cool rounds off this trio and acts as a statement of admiration and appreciation for having this woman in your life and just wondering how did I get so lucky. The video also featured fellow Mississippians making moves, Akeem Ali and Karlous Miller of The 85 South Show, along with legendary DJ, Wally Sparks and fellow former Def Jam signee Trinidad James. The music features a storyline and visuals that pay homage to 70’s Blaxploitation films with a hint of Will Ferrel’s Anchorman films.
Instability Rooted In Insecurity
Water (Interlude) brings in a new emotion, doubt. The water symbolizes the small drips of doubt that can slowly erode away at a relationship. Though the tracks Boring and Would It Matter aren’t presented in a negative light, they deal with insecurities that many people deal with when they are in serious relationships. Feelings of not being able to hold their partner’s attention, issues of self-worth, or not living up to the standards set forth via social media and reality TV.
The ending track Generational – Weighed Down really drives home the theme of doubt and what it’s like to be in the way of your own growth. It also shows the breakdown of a relationship to differences in wanting to have children and start a family and the anxious feeling of not wanting to pass down the same generational curses and personal issues that you have dealt with. It’s a conversation that most people don’t get the chance to have before creating a new life.
The Wind (Interlude) portion is about life after a breakup and the feelings and steps one goes through to recover from a particularly hard separation. It’s Over Now and Wet Lashes and Shot Glasses detail that initial pain felt from having to adjust to life without your former significant other and the emotional purge fueled by clubs, alcohol, and hookups in an effort to forget about it respectively. All The Time is a lament from the perspective of people that focused their lives on flexing and getting paid, and never made time to create a genuine enough connection to experience this kind of heartbreak.
Overall, I think that Big K.R.I.T. really channeled a lot of emotional depth into this project and created a cohesive and musically deep vision of love and its many ups and downs. I really enjoyed listening to this album with my girl and dissecting the themes being presented, also major shoutout to babe for recognizing the themes of the interludes. I’ve seen some listeners on social media compare it to Andre 3000’s The Love Below album and I feel like that is a fair comparison. It’s a departure from his standard output that sees him taking some creative risks with his brand and identity as an artist. Regardless of where you land as a listener, I think it’s dope that Scott used his freedom as an independent artist to step outside of the box and deliver a passion-fueled series of audio vignettes that breathe life into emotional experiences that most people can relate to.