BIG KRIT: Southernplayalistic

While Mississppi’s own Big KRIT may not be your traditional hometown hero, he’s proving that southern country shit is the stuff that real dreams are made of.

Words: Carlton Wade
Image: Ernest Estime

Saturday night in Nashville is nothing short of phenomenal for Def Jam Records’ newest hit maker Big KRIT. In a steamy hot, jam-packed club performance with his right-hand man Big Sant faithfully by his side and record spinner DJ Wally Sparks backing him up behind the ones and twos, the Meridian, Mississippi native tears the stage to smithereens as he keeps the crowd on their toes with a soliloquy of scorching hot underground classics.

With the intoxicating concoction of liquor, weed and escalating momentum of the party taking their toll on the multi-talented entertainer, the King Remembered In Time lunges into the crowd of rambunctious fans as if leaping off the highest diving board at Six Flags. But instead of being engulfed in the raging waters of summer fun, America’s favorite hometown hero becomes a casualty of his own frolicking with a slightly sprained ankle.

Now on the verge of his major label debut album, Live From the Underground, scheduled to be released in September, KRIT is back at his north side Atlanta home recovering from his wounds. He prepares for his next show in Kansas City a few days away and reflects on where he could’ve wound up.

“A lotta people don’t understand when I say I don’t feel like I deserve what’s going on,” KRIT explains. “I feel like I’ve been blessed because it could not have happened like this. I could have been doing something totally different.”

He continues, “It’s amazing, super surreal to have Bun B and Ludacris on a song, to do records with Raheem DeVaughn, David Banner and Chamillionaire…You couldn’t have told me that this was going to happen two years ago. I’m just excited that this is happening. I could’ve not kept rapping. I never take anything for granted. I’m accepting of anything that comes my way on this journey. I’m accepting of it.”

And what a journey it has been. Writing poems since the ripe age of 12, Young Krizzle transformed his love for the written word into raps when he began snapping other rappers’ necks in the hallways of Kate Griffin Jr. High School. By the time he was 14, he began producing and writing his own music.

Knowing that the dirty Magnolia State could only take him so far in his pursuit of a music career, he dropped out of school at Meridian Community College and relocated to Atlanta in 2005. That year, an A-Town DJ placed his song “We Gon’ Hate” on his mixtape.

After a few years of selling beats to local ATL artists and releasing his own mixtapes, KRIT caught the attention of Jon “Shipes” Shapiro, head of Cinematic Music Group, the home of Sean Kingston and Nipsey Hustle. The two agreed on a deal in January 2010 and KRIT dropped his much-heralded street album K.R.I.T. Wuz Here.

Around the same time, former 50 Cent manager and G-Unit Records president Sha Money XL had landed a position as Def Jam’s senior VP of A&R. His first signee at his new post was Big KRIT.

“I want to make music that is emotions from everyday life because everyday life is filled with emotions,” he says. “I wanted to touch on all these topics because as human beings, we go through all of these emotions. We all can relate to that— financially, spiritually or relationships. And just figuring out the best way to rap about my experiences and make it broad.”

In March of this year, KRIT’s critically acclaimed Return of 4Eva was released online as a free download. But instead of leaning on the subject matter of drug talk, gun clapping and misogyny, KRIT informed audiences about overcoming naysayers on “Dreaming,” friends turned backstabbers on “Made A lot” and KRIT took an honest, critical look at the man in the mirror on “Another Naive Individual Glorifying Greed & Ecouraging Racism.”

“My grandmother used to tell me it’s easy to do wrong. It’s hard to do right. It’s hard to be righteous,” he contends. “I really just didn’t wanna rap about one side of the game—having fun and being reckless. I wanted to talk about it all. At one point in my career, didn’t nobody wanna hear it. It’s a timing thing. It just so happened last year was a good time to come out. People wanted to hear music and not [just] see the glitz and glamour.”

Image by Ernest Estime.

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