Fire Starter: Big K.R.I.T.
He's Def Jam's latest recruit, hailing from below the Mason-Dixon Line, via Meridian, Mississippi. The new homie's name is Big K.R.I.T., a rapper and producer, who was personally inked to the legendary label by none other than Sha Money XL, the former G-Unit president who recently joined the House that Russell Built. His breakout mixtape, K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, hit the Internet a few months ago and slowly picked up steam, earning praise from music critics and bloggers alike.
According to the Cinematic Music Group affiliate, the project — an earnest collection of soul-inflected Southern hip-hop — was five years in the making.
"People can see the growth from when I first did my first project until now," K.R.I.T. told Mixtape Daily. "And they can see the growth and me really finding myself as an artist. And really not compromising my creative mind frame for what's going on in the industry and just being myself and putting the music out. The first record is 'Return of 4eva.' It was really just telling the game we here on some Southern hip-hop and this is us. And this is the type of music that I'm gonna put out. And I just hope that people can relate to it and respect it."
"Return of 4eva" is among the standouts on K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, along with "Children of the World"; both feature Creative Control-directed clips.
The Mississippi artist became aligned with the burgeoning downtown Manhattan movement after joining forces with music-industry mover Jonny Shipes last year. He then found himself spending time in Dame Dash's 24 Hour Karate School dojo and collaborating with Curren$y and the loose collection of creative types at the hip-hop mogul's studio.
Now that he has signed on the dotted line with Def Jam and joined a roster that includes Rick Ross, Nas and Young Jeezy, the newcomer is honing his Pimp C-like vocals and beats in hopes of making the next Southern masterpiece.
"I'm UGK-influenced, " K.R.I.T. said. "They had their own vibe, how they did their music. They did whatever they felt like they wanted to on record. They the next-door neighbor where I'm from, in Texas. So we were greatly influenced by their music. By Outkast. By 8Ball & MJG. That was the golden era to us."