Sunday, August 22, 2010

Big K.R.I.T- Return Of Forever Interview w/ [OVAGROUND EXCLUSIVE]

Check out this cool interview with Big K.R.I.T, Merdian, Mississippi rep'a & recent Def Jam signee. I love to see folks grinding in this music and finally get a good look on the mainstream level.

Check it out.



Courtesy of Big Krit, you’re on!

Big K.R.I.T.: Yo, yo! What’s good WordofSouth?!? How are you bro?

Big K.R.I.T.: Man, I’m doing good! I’m grinding every day. I’m excited to be here. I’m blessed to be doing what I love to do. It’s going down 2000 and beyond! Ok no doubt. Tell us about some of the rappers you looked up to growing up.

Big K.R.I.T.: Definitely UGK. I was very influenced by Outkast, Goodie Mob and the Dungeon Family. Also 8Ball & MJG, Scarface; the list goes on and on. I even loved soul music like The Dramatics. As far as music is concerned, it was about stuff that meant something to me. If I could take something from it and apply it to my every day life, that’s was what I was listening to. It had to put me in a good space. It was one of those times when music was crazy. Every time I put in “Ridin Dirty” [UGK CD] it takes me to a certain place. That’s the music I came up on man. Is that the type of feel you’re trying to bring back? Music with some substance, music that means something. Where if someone listens to your music, it actually takes them somewhere emotionally or mentally?

Big K.R.I.T.: Yeah no doubt man. That’s what the whole purpose of “Return of 4Eva” is. It’s like bringing back the same feel. In the same instance, I want it to be timeless music. Something like Outkast’s “Aquemini” [album], you know? From when it was recorded and years from now, people listen to it and love it. I’m talking generations from now. The music is timeless. It’s the same thing I want to do with my music. When people hear it, I want it to take them to certain places in there life. I want them to remember the first time they ever heard it. It’s about saying something meaningful in my content. It’s about the quality not the quantity. That’s a good mentality to have. You mentioned UGK as a major influence. Listeners compare your voice and production style to that of Pimp C. How do you feel about that comparison? Do you think it holds any merit?

Big K.R.I.T.: I’m from the country. Sometimes it’s like ok, I see the country aspect. But Pimp [C] was in his own lane as far as a musician and as a lyricist. He was definitely one of the people that influenced me the most. I was very influenced by his music. In terms of the production aspect, it comes from the blues. I just go with the groove and that might come from baselines or something like that. Even on some regional stuff, Texas is a big part of the musical vibe even in Mississippi.

I’ve been jamming [DJ] Screw since 1998. So when I screw a record down, it’s only me paying homage to what I grew up on. It’s the same with organs or riffs. If I throw an organ or riff in there, and it’s a UGK type record, it’s really me paying homage to what I grew up on as far as what I felt was the sound that showcased how we were in the south. That’s just what it is. It’s me being southern and rapping about things throughout my life, and showcasing it. It’s the type of music I really grew up off. Speaking of your production, takes us through your production process, from how you start and how you find the ideas that you do.

Big K.R.I.T.: I’m really the type of person that digs in the crates for one. I find samples that nobody has ever used and chop them up. I try and create a brand new song off of it. And not so much in a conventional way where you stick a part of the song and make a hook, stick a part and make a verse. But instead, I really chop the sample up.

I’ve had the opportunity to go online and watch some of the greats do it such as Pete Rock and J. Dilla; how they sampled. Even Kanye West, how he chops up his samples and creates a whole other record; you really don’t know what he sampled. It’s the same with 9th Wonder. That’s what I’m trying to do with my music. I dig in the crates and find a sample I really wanna’ use or I find an organic sound that nobody is really using right now and I spin it from there. Normally it starts with melody first and then I incorporate drums. You produced the entire “Krit Wuz Here” album. Do you have any plans to produce for anyone else or are you too focused on your own solo career at this point?

Big K.R.I.T.: Nah, I got plans to really do more. I wanna’ balance the two. Before, I definitely spent a large amount of time working on myself. And now there are a lot of artists with me, I’m going on tour and stuff. I have to take care of those priorities but I definitely want to produce for some people that I grew up listening to like Scarface. I want to do a record with Bun B, 8Ball & MJG, Goodie Mob and so on. These types of artists are the ones I listened to. I feel like I can capture the sound and the grit that they had when I first heard them.
I definitely wouldn’t mind getting in the studio with all of those artists and try to bring that back to life. I want to vibe out with them. That would definitely be an amazing opportunity. That would be awesome. Out of curiosity, what was your favorite song on “Krit Wuz Here?”

Big K.R.I.T.: I have more than one. “I Gotta Stay” was definitely one of my favorite songs. That record was really dedicated to my grandmother. Definitely “Return of 4Eva” and “Country Shit.” Those two are popular ones. And “Hometown Hero” too. Those are my top four. After dropping such a critically acclaimed first project, do you feel the pressure to really deliver on the major label debut album?

Big K.R.I.T.: I’m my worst critic so I push myself anyways. The pressure I put on myself exceeds the pressure anyone else can put on me. I want it to be perfect. Normally when you get with a label, there is a time limit involved and you have to put the record out. When I was working on “Krit Wuz Here”, I really had an unlimited amount of time to do it. It really was five years in the making from me dropping my first mixtape to now. During that whole time, I was figuring out my sound, my hooks, cadence and stuff like that.

The difference now is I have something just as important “Krit Wuz Here” to come out which is my first album; I just don’t have as much time to do it. Really I’m buckling down and figuring out the concepts right now. I have a lot of records that didn’t make “Krit Wuz Here” that are definitely amazing songs. I have a song called “If I Fall” that nobody has heard. I believe I’ll be able to do it and it’s gonna’ be phenomenal. It may not have 19 records on it. But whatever amount we put on it, I’m definitely gonna’ cause the same amount of attention, lord willing of course, as I did with “Krit Wuz Here.” That’s a very honest answer. With not as much time to work on it, what strategies do you plan on implementing to make sure it’s as good or even better than “Krit Wuz Here?”

Big K.R.I.T.: I’m just really not trying to force anything. I’m brainstorming and spending as much time on it as possible. It used to be where artists could make 60 songs and choose a certain amount of songs. They would have a lot more time than we do now though. They used to spend a lot of time working on one project. What I do is, I try to buckle down and see what content I want to put on it. No matter what song I do, whether it is an emotional record or an experimental record, I try and make sure that it’s the craziest record I could possibly do. That way, the first 20 songs that I do are enough for an album. And how much of the album are you into right now?

Big K.R.I.T.: I would say 45%. That’s pretty good considering I’m getting ready to tour in a minute throughout September-November. In December I’ll get a lot more time to work on it. Probably by the end of December I’ll pretty much be finished with it. And who have you worked with thus far?

Big K.R.I.T.: That’s top secret information. But I can guarantee you my big brother Big Sant will be on my album. He was on “Return of 4Eva.” Also shout out to Bun B, I’m really looking to get him on my album. Lord willing I’ll be able to get Bun B on my record. And there are definitely some other legends that I really want to work with. I want my big brother Yelawolf on the record. I just have to come up with the records and make it happen. It’s gonna’ be an amazing project though. I’m excited. I really want to produce my first album myself. That’s kind of a milestone and a goal for me. That would be dope. You just mentioned Big Sant and Yelawolf. I know you have planned two separate collaborative mixtapes with yourself and those artists. Are those still a go?

Big K.R.I.T.: Definitely. The project with Big Sant, me and him are a group and we were a group before this all happened. We have tons of records together right now. Yelawolf, he works fast and is very efficient with recording. He’s laying records down. We were just in the studio and everybody was vibing out, chilling. As soon as we get to it, will finish the country cousins aspect and put it out for the world to hear it. And it comes to my attention that “Krit Wuz Here” is being re-released chopped and screwed by the legendary Michael Watts. Tell us about the decision to do that. (Editor’s note: it dropped August 9th).

Big K.R.I.T.: It’s dropping on August 9th. It’s definitely an amazing experience. Swishahouse and Michael Watts, there about that playa’ shit. They chop it for real, like a legend would do it. If you told me that would happen to me when I was younger, I would have told you to stop playing with me. I’ve been listening to Swishahouse tapes for years. It’s definitely exciting man. People from my hometown are like “man, Michael Watts chopped your tape up?” If you’re getting your music chopped and screwed, Michael Watts is definitely a legend you want to get chopped and screwed by. That’s as official as it gets in my opinion. Definitely. And I heard you’re working on a separate EP with Michael Watts.

Big K.R.I.T.: Yeah, that’s gonna’ be crazy too. Shouts out to Texas. Will definitely have some Texas features on there too. As far as my sound and as far as music is concerned, I was a student of UGK. You know what I’m saying? I was a scholar of UGK. It only makes sense. No doubt. And of course, congratulations on the Def Jam deal.

Big K.R.I.T.: I appreciate that. How did it come about? How long was the process?

Big K.R.I.T.: We dropped “Krit Wuz Here” on May 4th. The process of me getting signed period probably took me five years. I was just grinding. After we dropped “Krit Wuz Here” with Cinematic Music Group, Sha Money XL called and said he just heard the project and thought it was crazy. He wanted to get behind the movement. We parlayed and came up with something major as far as the best way to put the music out and promote it. Def Jam signed me. It’s dope because they invested in a situation where I already branded who I am as an individual. No changing is going to happen. They believed in what I already had going on. That’s what it is. I dropped the record “Now or Never” after the deal just to let people know that the music is not gonna’ change. Now I’m on a platform [due to the Def Jam deal] where millions of people can hear the music and decide whether or not they wanna’ fuck with it or not. Is that what ultimately lead you to picking Def Jam? Because they showed you they believed in the movement? And did any other major labels put there bid in?

Big K.R.I.T.: Yeah but I don’t want to get into who. I enjoy the energy in the Def Jam building. There definitely excited. They definitely understand me. Look at there resume. It was a big move as far as where I’m from. A Mississippi artist signed to Def Jam? Have you heard of that before? Never!

Big K.R.I.T.: Thank you (laughs). It carries throughout the hip-hop game. It definitely shows people where I’m from that things are possible if you keep grinding. If you told me I’d eventually be signed to Def Jam, again, I would have told you to stop playing. I’m in there office and I’m staring away at these plaques and pictures of artists that I’ve looked up to, artists that have really had major success. To be apart of that domain and household, that’s what’s up man. What’s the first thing you did after signing the deal?

Big K.R.I.T.: The first thing I did after signing the deal was I got my rap name tattooed with “Can you remember the time?” on my back. That’s in a celebratory aspect. It meant something to me before this but now it means so much more. I was really able to follow my dreams and accomplish the ultimate goal if you really think about it. Look at athletes; they do all the planning throughout high school and college and then they finally go to the pros. I felt the same way. I got that “can you remember the time” tattooed on my back. And then I partied (laughs). That was it. You work a lot with Curren$y, Smoke DZA and others. Do you think we’re about to embark on a golden age in hip-hop that your about to be apart of?

Big K.R.I.T.: I believe so. Artists are being themselves and rapping about what they know about. There are a couple of them. It comes from us making the best music possible and not so much from a competitive aspect where we don’t let each other hear one another’s verses and such. It’s not even about killing one another lyrically on each record. We all have our own lanes and identity as far as this rap game goes.

We get in the studio and work together. We all want to make the record as jamming as possible. It’s not about egos flying around. I’ve noticed that with other artists I’ve been able to meet. Whether it is Yelawolf, Pill, Donnis, Killer Mike/Mike Bigga, and Wiz Khalifa – It’s a gang of new rappers out right now that are really being themselves. People are really getting in the studio and working together. For a minute it was about emailing tracks to one another. Artists are more about getting in the studio together now. Let’s work and let’s vibe together instead of over a computer. The music definitely benefits when that’s the case. In terms of the radio and DJ’s, how do you feel about the Mississippi hip-hop scene?

Big K.R.I.T.: Really, it’s so spread out. Even though Mississippi as a state doesn’t appear to be so big, the cities are really spread out from each other. The hip-hop network aspect, it’s real difficult on an underground level to promote yourself when there is so much ground to cover between every city. That’s probably the reason I moved to Atlanta. Atlanta is the southern hip-hop mecca. In terms of promoting and networking, that’s just a move that made sense to me. A&R’s aren’t coming to Mississippi to find talent. Maybe they are now, I hope so. That made it difficult.
DJ’s down there are pushing and doing the right thing. But DJ’s can’t do anything if they don’t have the right content to push or play. I had to move around and go to different areas and cities to network. I had to do promotional stuff like that around Atlanta and I used that knowledge for my hometown as well. Mississippi is definitely on the rise though. There are a lot of dope artists getting ready to come out of there too. They are really just being themselves and telling there story; cats like Boo Rossini from CTE Corleone from Jackson, Big Sant from Mississippi. There are a gang of artists. It’s hard to recall all of them but your definitely gonna’ see a Mississippi movement here in a minute. Do you plan on collaborating with any of those artists from Mississippi? Outside of the ones you already work with?

Big K.R.I.T.: Yeah, definitely. I’ve already worked with Corleone. I look forward to working with Boo Rossini. As soon as we all have the down time, I’m pretty sure will all work. Everybody has conflicting schedules and I’m completely understanding of how sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day. And do you feel like none of the major Mississippi radio DJ’s or promoters showed you love until after the Def Jam deal?

Big K.R.I.T.: Nah, not really. At some point as far as how this game goes, you have to show people some kind of footwork. The DJ’s in my hometown played some of my records long before this all happened. I was getting spins in the clubs in Jackson as well. Sometimes you just have to put in a little more effort or work before they can throw you in the rotation; especially when they only play certain records. They can play records here and there, but in order to get on the major countdown, you gotta’ go hard with promoting and building your name in the streets and getting your buzz up.

I moved to Atlanta so my buzz in Atlanta at one point got bigger than my buzz in Mississippi. People were more aware of me because I was working so hard in Georgia. That’s because all of the A&R’s were there. But it’s all love. I don’t ever feel like they owe me anything. Now that I’m up, people can see me and I’m out here grinding, now they decide to play my music, I’m very appreciative of that. Ok no doubt. I really appreciate your time Krit and we’re going to end it on that note. For the last question, to really close it out, tell what’s next up for Big K.R.I.T.?

Big K.R.I.T.: What’s next up for me is branding my name and my company. I have to continue doing that. Lord willing I will sell millions of records. And to continue to put out quality music for the people that enjoy real hip-hop. I will stay true to myself.


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