Big K.R.I.T. Talks Being at the Head of the Freshmen Class
Meridian, Mississippi rapper, producer and singer Big K.R.I.T. -- who reportedly just signed a deal with Def Jam -- seemingly came out of nowhere to blow past most of the freshmen contenders in 2010. His new mixtape is called 'K.R.I.T. Wuz Here,' and it's a BBQ-ready combination of lush beats (think Dungeon Family) and sharp rapping that also features Devin the Dude, Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y.
K.R.I.T. is a true DIY artist. He produces his own material and performs all of his own verses and hooks -- a technique that gives the record a more personal, cohesive feel, which is resonating with a lot of fans from the all corners of the country.
We got with Big K.R.I.T. to introduce himself and get the scoop on how he got in the game, how he feels about blowing up and why producing your own material is the way to go.
The BoomBox: Tell us about your origins. When did you first get interested in music? What did you listen to in your younger days?
Big K.R.I.T.: Well, definitely I was a big fan of Pac and Biggie, no doubt. On the Southern aspect we got UGK, Outkast, Goodie Mob; the Southern legends. That definitely was the point where I was like, 'I really want to do this and tell the story of where I'm from.' It kinda started with porches and freestyling in the cafeteria or on the street corner. Then, I tried to get in the studio and really tried to take it serious.
The BoomBox: You started rapping when you were 12, right?
Yeah, 12 or 13. There was cyphers or whatever outside, and you see the older kids reppin' and doing their thing and you want to be part of it. That's kind of where it all started. You just want to try to make a name for yourself.
The BoomBox: 'K.R.I.T. Wuz Here' is one of the best hip-hop efforts so far this year and you seem to be getting some big time recognition lately. How do you feel about it?
Man! I feel blessed. It's been amazing and I'm excited about the feedback I've been getting. The album itself was a long time coming. I've been trying to get in for 4 or 5 years now. I definitely went through a lot to put out a solid project that covers all kinds of emotions that a human might go through. People can relate to the feeling of the records. When you hear my words and my songs, you feel what I'm saying.
The album has really been years in the making. You know, trying to figure out what lane I'm gonna be in, the type of sound I'm gonna have and sticking with my style and doing what I want to do as far as the music is concerned.
The BoomBox: We've also been noticing a lot of people voicing their inspiration from you as a rapper, singer and producer at once. You're obviously not the first person to rap and produce at the same time, but that combination hasn't been as prevalent in recent years. Are you trying to exemplify a model of DIY recording?
Yeah, no doubt! At the end of the day, if you believe in yourself enough, you still have to kind of push forward and keep going. You really can't stop because somebody tells you they don't like your music. You have to take whatever criticism they give you and build upon what you're trying to do. Really, you gotta go all out.
It's a law of averages. The longer you do something, the closer you come to success. Eventually you'll get your goal. I encourage artists to learn how to record yourself and mix it and produce it. If you can produce it, do it. No one has chemistry with you like you. You are gonna spend more time on your project than anybody. I spend hours in the studio on my own music and work rather than some engineer that might really want to go home. Spend all your time and abilities to come out with the best quality possible.
The BoomBox: You create a very comfortable sound that bypasses some of the recent stereotypical sounds, like overloaded 808 drums. What's your take on the production you do?
I try to incorporate live instrumentation if I can. Even with the sampling aspect, it was more to get some live instrumentation in there. Music is still music. Nothing against the synthesizer aspect, but sometimes the feeling you get from an orchestra, strings or electric guitar is way doper. It's me trying to figure out how to blend soul samples and overall instrumentation. The 808 is used to make your trunk rattle. I didn't want to it be so bass heavy so you couldn't hear my words or the more advanced aspects of the musical composition. It took years to figure out how to EQ the proper way. If I use a sample, I don't use the words necessarily. I chop off whatever instruments and piece it together and enjoy the vibe that they had without some screaming effect.
The BoomBox: What's a normal day in your life at this point?
The production aspect has taken over a little more now. You get the opportunity to work with other artists and get placement on their project. That's taken the front seat for the time being. I'm still writing, of course, but I can now take advantage of people knowing that I produced this entire record and wrote and performed all the hooks. That helps a lot with getting good placement. I'm still a student of the game. I enjoy meeting other producers and getting on with them as well.
You can follow Big K.R.I.T. on Twitter and download 'K.R.I.T. Wuz Here' here.