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Cheat Sheet: Big K.R.I.T.

Who: Big K.R.I.T. (born Justin Scott) is a Mississippi-based producer/rapper whose credits include work for Wiz Khalifa, Chris Brown and Ludacris. In addition to supplying tracks for these established players, K.R.I.T. has maintained a healthy solo presence, releasing a series of free mixtapes that recently culminated in his signing to Def Jam Records. With a Def Jam debut imminent, Big K.R.I.T. just released what will be his final free mixtape as an independent artist—4EvaNaDay.

The Sound: If you’re coming out of Mississippi, you’d better be willing to rock the standards of Southern Hip-Hop. Big K.R.I.T. is certainly able to fulfill that part of the bill. His beats tend to be molasses slow, heavy on the bass and redolent of the sort of mumbling choruses that earned Clipse and Ludicras their distinctive spot in the hip-hop universe. Though he’s never shied from braggadocio, Big K.R.I.T.’s surprising lyrical coup comes from his ability to be introspective and honest in his raps, as well as brash and self-aggrandizing. We’re not quite talking Drake levels of sensitivity here, but Big K.R.I.T. is a rapper who can talk about both how “the Caddy still swangin’” and how “too much shine can dull the soul” within the space of three songs.

Essential listening: If Southern Hip-Hop is your thing, then you’re in luck, because as of right now, most of Big K.R.I.T.’s catalog is available for free online. His signature track is without a doubt “Country Shit”, which first appeared on a 2010 single of the same name. Since then, the track has been remixed, chopped and screwed, and made multiple appearances on subsequent Big K.R.I.T. releases.

Big K.R.I.T.’s signature album (or “mixtape”, rather) is probably K.R.I.T. Wuz Here. Released in 2010, K.R.I.T. Wuz Here solidified K.R.I.T.’s status as a major player in the South, as well as earning him his deal with Def Jam.

4EvaNaDay is interesting both because of its artistic and commercial nerve. The album comes after Big K.R.I.T.’s highly publicized signing to Def Jam and serves essentially as an extended ad for his Def Jam debut. This is a clever retail strategy because it extends the hype for K.R.I.T.’s commercial release while also offering a product that can pretty much survive on its own merits. 4EvaNaDay features no guest verses and showcases Big K.R.I.T. at his most brazenly confessional. As he recounts the story of a single day, K.R.I.T. touches on all his favorite lyrical themes—temptation, self-guidance and the deranged diversions of the good life. If it doesn’t get you stoked for a Big K.R.I.T. full-length debut, I don’t know what will.


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About the Author

on MUSIC IS MY OXYGEN WEEKLY.

Shane Danaher's affection for pop music has peppered his adult life with a variety of aesthetically rewarding and financially disastrous decisions. After moving to Portland, Oregon for college (because that's where he heard Modest Mouse was from) Shane has wound up participating in the music world in roles ranging from 'drummer' to 'promoter' to 'bathroom floor scrubber.' He has toured without money, written about almost every band ever to have come out of the Pacific Northwest, and one time traveled all the way to Los Angeles just to see a catch hip-hop show. He currently resides in Portland, where he writes about hip-hop, pop and rock music for a variety of publications. He still plays drums. He wants to meet Kanye West.

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