Big K.R.I.T. won’t apologize for what he’s about to do. Dressed in all black with a small gold Jesus-piece draped around his neck, K.R.I.T. places a gold and diamond-encrusted crown atop his head while at White Diamond Imaging studios in Atlanta.
The crown served as more than a wardrobe prop, it was a visual centerpiece to K.R.I.T.’s ambitious declaration. The Meridian, Mississippi, native now believes that he is the true “King of the South.”
But while any rapper could proclaim himself “King,” hip-hop fans must decide if it fits the emcee who hopes to wear the crown. Hours after he donned the gold crown for this edition’s cover, a capacity crowd filled The Masquerade concert hall in Atlanta to witness K.R.I.T. perform the last show of his Pay Attention tour.
After Big K.R.I.T. performed, concertgoers had their say. Once the music stopped, nearly 2,000 fans chanted “King of the South” repeatedly in unison.
Indeed, it was a defining moment that proved Big K.R.I.T. may have legitimate reasoning for proclaiming himself the new wearer of the crown.
Unless you have been totally oblivious to hip-hop in the last 15 years, it’s widely known that T.I. has claimed the “King of the South” moniker. Big K.R.I.T. doesn’t intend to step on any toes, but he believes that this is his time to sit on the throne.
“Coming off of ‘Mt Olympus,’ that was my mind[set],” Big K.R.I.T. said of his decision to proclaim himself “King of the South.” “It was me taking it a step further. It was understanding and feeling that I’m confident in the music I make now and what I’m going to a be doing later on and the quality. Especially on Cadillcactica. I created the planet, why wouldn’t I be the ‘King of the South’? For me, that’s just the beginning of my reign and what I’m trying to do musically. I let everybody know it’s not me trying to step on any OG’s toes and be pitted against anybody. I’m supposed to feel that way. My rap name K.R.I.T. means King Remembered in Time. So people have always called me a king. But now is the time for me to step up and take it further.”
From a lyrical standpoint, Big K.R.I.T. can face off with any rapper of his generation. But to become a true King of the South, he must garner overall respect from the region and remain consistent, like Southern greats such as OutKast, UGK, Scarface, 8 Ball & MJG, Goodie Mob and T.I. He must represent Southern culture while making his vision more accessible to those who’ve never traveled below the Mason-Dixon Line.
“I have to keep making timeless music,” K.R.I.T. says. “Music is the only language that everybody speaks. Before I got in this position, it was always about the music. Just because I got that title [King of the South], that’s just me believing in myself as a man and musician. Everybody should feel like they are a king or a queen at what they do. For me, it’s about putting out the kind of music that heals people, still inspires people to follow their dreams. Getting out in this community and doing as much as I possibly can. Because in the beginning, you’re on the road and touring because you’re trying to get the buzz and get people aware. But I’m at a point where I’m like, let’s just give back and make sure I give other people the opportunity in this music game and let’s spread the love because it’s plenty of it out here.”
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