Big K.R.I.T. Keeps His Beats Homemade and His Rhymes Country

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Big K.R.I.T.
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Mississippi native Big K.R.I.T.  makes it cool to be country, and it's not just because of the southern drawl in his voice, or the leaned back cadence splashed all over his discography.  The 25-year-old has a strong enough flow to please purists and to place his work against the best in his discipline. For years his free mixtapes garnered heaps of praise, and since the break of his studio debut Live From the Underground, the buzz surrounding him has been sweltering. From Rolling Stone to Pitchfork to commentators on every major hip-hop website, K.R.I.T's acclaim is palpable. Just take a spin through K.R.I.T.'s sonic output so far, and you'll have all the evidence you'll need before you see him perform tomorrow at the Observatory in Santa Ana. .

Before he rose to the position of Def Jam signee and torchbearer for the classic blues-indebted southern style of rap, K.R.I.T.'s interest in curating and conjoining rhymes for a living started out through putting together poems and seeing others freestyle. He likens his experience growing up and cutting his teeth as an upcoming emcee to others just like him who hung around street corners and felt inclined to jump in and participate as the veterans of the block spat their off-the-top bars. "The older you get, the more they let you rhyme, and before you know it people are actually holding onto a bar you said. Something you might have said that was clever, they remembered."

K.R.I.T. carried this upbringing with him to his first time recording, and though he was young and inexperienced when he dropped his first mixtape, "See Me On Top," he wisely chose to not go down the path of the brash and hard-headed. Instead,  K.R.I.T. chose to take heed and pay attention to the words of the older and wiser. "A part of me was writing just from what I had experienced and seen via the older cats kind of telling me about the game. I was super young when I dropped 'See Me On Top' so I hadn't experienced as much as I have now," he says as he reflects back.

A few years and countless performances and studio sessions later, there's a lot more experience to add. He's been able to work alongside a who's who of icons like Bun B, Ludacris, and Juvenile, and he's become one of the few individuals in hip-hop who holds the right to say all of what's in their body of sounds is genuinely theirs. Unlike most rappers who just flow over the programmed drums of others, almost all of K.R.I.T.'s work up to this point has been self-produced, and he's become one of the most versatile beatmakers to come out of his region. On one track he might create something that feels as though it could belong to Virginia's war-rap general Lex Luger's catalog, on another the production might sound like it could have found itself a home on UGK's seminal album Ridin' Dirty. But, his main component  is always the same -- "it's all about soul and quality."  With Big K.R.I.T., it's not just the words he says and how they're put together, it's about everything from how the bass booms on a subwoofer, to the very last bar.

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