Big K.R.I.T. Talks ‘Returnof4eva,’ Label Politics and Spirituality
Mississippi rapper and producer Big K.R.I.T. has had quite a year. Since The BoomBox featured him in our Top Prospect column, K.R.I.T. signed a major label deal with Def Jam, toured with associates Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y and earned significant critical acclaim for his breakout mixtape, 'K.R.I.T. Wuz Here.' Nine months after his initial interview and on the release day of his new tape, 'Returnof4eva,' K.R.I.T. gave us the scoop on what to expect from his new material, working in the major label world and the role of spirituality in his music.
In your interview last year, you were on the verge of a deal with Def Jam. Now, nine months later, how has your life changed?
It's been a lot of hard work. Right after I signed, I had the opportunity to do the Wake 'n' Bake tour with Wiz Khalifa, Curren$y, Smoke DZA and tons more. Being able to go on the road, it was definitely an eye-opener as far as marketing and putting the music out there. I was working with artists I never thought I would have the opportunity to work with. It's a blessing. It's definitely been a crazy ride so far.
After the success of 'K.R.I.T. Wuz Here,' what are your expectations for the new mixtape and what should fans be looking forward to?
It's all original music. I produced all of it again. As a producer, I want to produce my mainstream album. This allows me to showcase and produce a whole project. After 'K.R.I.T. Wuz Here,' a lot of people have faith in me. Really, I want to create a subject matter and content that sticks to what I know and what people know me for doing -- being country but being conscious at the same time.
I'm my own worst critic. It was supposed to come out on March 22, but I went and did SXSW and really needed to put together a show for that. I decided to push it back [to March 28] to make sure the mixes were right and to reach out to people that [I] wanted on the album and tell them, 'Yo, I got six or seven more days. Is it possible to make this happen?'
I'm praying that people relate to it and accept it.
Has anything changed working with a major label? As you craft an official album, is Def Jam making any demands about producers or collaborations?
Not at all. All the relationships I've built have been me reaching out or vice versa. It's not that kind of thing at all because I produce my own music. That gives me a chance to create an entire record. I can put it together how I see fit versus somebody making me a beat or featuring a random artist. I want to be organic. At the end of the day, we're all on the same page as far as goals and music.
We've recently seen a lot of activity around the 2011 XXL Freshmen Class. What's your reaction to being honored as a rookie after blowing-up a year ago?
Yeah, I was more just appreciative of it. I'm blessed that they feel the music and see the movement and want to be a part of it. That's a milestone. It's a great accolade to have. It's definitely a leg-up as far as being in the game. It puts me in a position to reach a lot of people that didn't know who I was or maybe didn't recognize my face. The magazine is worldwide, so it puts me in some households that 'K.R.I.T. Wuz Here' maybe didn't reach.
One of the more unique things about you as a rapper is your take on spirituality. How does that inform your music and life?
The big thing is my grandmother. She gave me morals to do right by people and find the world on my own. Sometimes, people put too much faith in a human and they disappoint you and you shift your belief to something bigger. As far as my faith, I'm really protective of it. I respect everybody's opinion, but for people to fully grasp me, it's important to talk about spirituality.
I don't think I did this on my own. Honestly, I feel I had help. On my new song 'Dreamin,' I talk about this quite a bit. My grandma passed in January 2010. She was a strong supporter of me and my music and really believed in me. When that happened, I had to start motivating myself. I got more into spirituality and praying more. It all opened up for me. I feel it would be kind of wrong if I didn't talk about it.
Even songs where I proceed to be ballin' and having fun, I still mention God. I'm not going to take any of this for granted.
What else is coming up?
We got a tour jumping-off in April. My boy Smoke DZA is going to be dropping 'THC: The Hustler's Catalog.' Definitely be on the lookout for him. It's just adding to the brand and the music and really trying to live up to my name.