With his second studio album, ‘Cadillactica,’ under his belt, Big K.R.I.T. has reached a milestone. The producer and rapper from Meridian, Mississippi pulled off a major feat by collaborating with artists who influenced his sound while growing up. Bun B, Devin the Dude, E-40 and Raphael Saadiq embraced his project with open arms, working with him without a second thought. “I have so much respect for them,” he tells The Boombox.
With songs like ‘Mt. Olympus’ and ‘Soul Food,’ K.R.I.T. shed his ‘King of the Underground’ persona by creating his own lane as a conscious rapper with hand-crafted beats, which are as elevated as his lyrical content. Since November 2014, Krizzle has been promoting this album and making his rounds on his Pay Attention tour, all while using his platform as an artist to address issues from racism to his rap counterpart’s lyricism. Even with all of the industry politics, the MC has managed to remain true to his brand and stick to his goal of putting the backwaters of Mississippi on the map.
We recently got the chance to chop it up with K.R.I.T., and the conversation covered a range of topics from his personal life (he opens up about his girlfriend) to his rap career (why he chose to take a different route). Find out which rapper he wants to win the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album, why he wants people to be aware of the world around them, his connection with J. Cole and what he feels about the future of hip-hop.
The Boombox: On ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,’ you wore a shirt that read, “Across cultures, darker people suffer most. Why?” Explain the importance of that statement and why you felt viewers should see it?
Big K.R.I.T.: In today’s society and with what’s going on in the world, you have to be conscious and aware of what’s going on. That shirt I wore has a quote from Andre 3000 and it’s actually part of his line — you know one of the jumpsuits. It was one of the quotes that really spoke to me because it’s one of those questions you have to ask yourself: “Why throughout cultures do darker-skinned people have to go through so much?”
People are always judged… So posing that question surrounding a record like ‘Soul Food,’ I just felt like it was perfect. It was something that was good for your mind, body, soul and spirituality. I felt like it was a powerful quote and it would make people talk amongst themselves as well.
There were a bunch of solid hip-hop albums that came out in 2014. Which new album is your favorite besides your own?
I really dug [J.] Cole’s album, man. I actually got to hear it before a lot of people heard it. Just to listen to where he was trying to go and where he is going with music… being able to still make the kind of music that moves and touches people. Normally, people are like once you get to a certain point in your career people feel like you done went mainstream or you make commercial records because you have a deal. But it’s good to know that artists like us, we can still make the kind of music that no matter how much is required people can still feel it.
People still understand that we genuinely want to help people with the music. I think his album conveyed that a lot. Then sonically being able to hear his growth — because you know he produces music like I produce music — so I can definitely hear the growth in his music as well as his lyrical content. That’s always important as artists, we take the listeners and our supporters on this journey and we have to grow up and let our fans grow up with us. We make the kind of content that is timeless because we aren’t really trying to ride a wave
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