Q&A: Big K.R.I.T. On His Rise, Dedicating Songs To His Grandma, And Being Inspired By Friday Night Lights
His rap moniker is an acronym for King Remembered In Time, but the way he's going about crafting timeless soulful music, Big K.R.I.T. is being remembered as a king right now. Just ask those who sold out his recent show at the Highline, where just two years ago he was booed while opening for Jay Electronica. 2010 faded away when the crowd at the Highline lost their minds to the wild "Country Shit," with the Big Apple crowd rapping along and jumping around like Danny Boy and Everlast.
K.R.I.T.'s career is really beginning to bubble, and he just added the mixtape 4Eva N A Day to the pot. He's not only kicking substantial raps devoid of the usual rosé and Murciélago references, he's composing beats for some of his lyrical heroes, like T.I.
While en route to JFK for a flight down to SXSW, K.R.I.T. took some time to update SOTC on the growth he's experienced since our chat in June, and to let us know what he has on his calendar for the rest of 2012 and beyond. Always humble and always thoughtful, here's the return of forever.
What's Up Krit? Big tings a gwan!
Haha. Yeah, man. It's been another big year. I'm grateful to be in this position and to be getting the response I've been getting.
Tell me about the response.
The response is just growing. I've been blessed to be touring off Return of 4eva until recently, so I've been hitting up some of the same venues a year later and [the response] grew by leaps and bounds. To be able to sell out Highline and two years ago no one knew me? It's humbling, man. I did 106th and Park and was able to debut ["Boobie Miles"]... all these things are milestones and I feel blessed to be reaching them and surpassing them.
Tell me about a milestone that you were really struck by achieving...
There's been a lot, but one of the ones I was really moved by was producing "Flexin'" for T.I. That was huge for me because it showcased my producer side. Plus, it was for T.I.'s first single since coming home. It was important to me because T.I. is one of those southern artists with dope content. Southern rappers got to prove themselves content wise, and T.I. did more than that.
What other southern rappers do you feel have done that?
Lots of us have. If I had to pick one, though,, it would have to be André 3000. From cadence and transcending rap to the way he just dared to be different even though we the consumers may not get it at first. Music should always be like that, where you learn something new every time you go back and give it a listen.
Big K.R.I.T., "Yesterday"
Why do you think people love "Country Shit" so much, even up top in NYC?
"Country Shit" is... well, it's like if you ain't in the city, you in the country. It may be the suburbs, but if it ain't the city it's pretty much country. Most of America is country, so I think that's why people like that song nationwide. Plus, even without the lyrics the beat is just strong.
4Eva N A Day is a solid, inspiring piece of work. You're a really soulful dude. My friend asked me to tell you how much he appreciated the song about your grandma.
Thanks you, sir. Yeah, that was important to me. There's going to be a song for my grandma on every album. Last mixtape I had "The Vent." This time around I have "Yesterday." In the intro, I included sound bytes of her talking to us and just putting us up on game. It's important for me to show people where I got my ideals. She helped me a lot by instilling morals in me when I was at that age where you start to stray a bit. She made sure I had the right mind-set. She would tell me things like, "If you're going to say something or do something, make sure that it's important and worthwhile."
Do you think that influenced the way you want your work to be viewed?
Absolutely. I treat my mixtapes like albums. Anything I put out I take care to do it properly. I really take time to convey what I feel. With the beats as well. Even if I'm just sampling it still takes me a while to find the right snare even though it can get very tedious. I might just run with an 808 clean sometimes but I always take the time to do it right. Both my parents raised me but she was just a huge part of my upbringing.
What's the science behind "Boobie Miles?"
Boobie Miles is a character from Friday Night Lights, which is one of my favorite movies. I used some dialogue off [FNL] for a skit on "Hometown Hero." I just wanted to come back around to a similar topic... a motivational song telling my fans to stay at it. Things are put in your way for a reason. Just keep at it and you'll win.
If you had to pick one song to represent you and what you're about, what song would that be?
"The Vent." It symbolizes me more than any other song. I think my fans feel a connection to me when they hear it because I'm going through what they're going through. Just trying to find my way, like they are.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.