EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Big K.R.I.T. On The State Of Southern Hip-Hop

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If Big K.R.I.T. wasn’t so adamant about repping his hometown of Mississippi he may not be where he is today. Who was this young rapper from Mississippi who produced his own music? was the question posed two years ago when his mixtape K.R.I.T. Wuz Here surfaced. Where he was from was almost as big of a draw to him as his music. Sure, a southern rapper rapping about where you’re from isn’t uncommon. But the only other well-known rapper from Mississippi to “make it” was David Banner. Minutes before he took the stage at Austin’s ACL music festival he told us he believes the south has always been lyrical. Like us, he too was puzzled that anyone thinks otherwise.

“People are rapping about where they’re from,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned I’mma rap about Mississippi. I’mma take you to my backyard and that’s how you relate to my music more.” K.R.I.T., like slew of other southerners (including myself), never had any problems finding quality music from southern hip-hop artists. In fact, it’s what we grew up on. “Southern hip-hop has always been in a great place,” K.R.I.T. said. “Me coming up listening to UGK, Outkast, Scarface, Dungeon Family, 8 Ball & MJG, Goodie Mobb, the south has always been lyrical. I’m just trying to pull my own weight.”

The influence of his roots and the artists he grew up listening to are found in songs like “Country Shit” and “Hometown Hero,” both of which he performed at ACL. As for what’s currently on K.R.I.T.’s iPod, “Bon Iver, Adele, Bobby Womack, Curtis Mayfield, Anthony Hamilton, 8 Ball & MJG, [Jay-Z's] In My Lifetime, UGK’s Ridin’ Dirty, it’s a lot of soul music.”

Big K.R.I.T. at ACL on the state of southern rap

[Photo: Getty Images]