Give Them Their Roses: Big K.R.I.T.
This series will highlight specific artists/albums in an attempt to give people their roses while they are here to smell them. There are times where we as fans may take some of these works of art for granted to an extent so this is to rectify that notion.
Justin Scott, better known as Big K.R.I.T. (King Remembered In Time), is the embodiment of everything that makes Southern Rap great. The country accent, the soul and funk influenced production, the hard-knocking bass contained within those beats, and a level of wisdom and awareness that is expressed through expertly crafted lyrics. The Southern rapper/producer extraordinaire from Meridian, Mississippi had his first big break onto the scene in 2010 with the release of his mixtape, KRIT Wuz Here. The tape showcased his abilities as both a charismatic, multi-faceted rapper as well as an adept soul sampling, southern influenced producer. KRIT's output over the next 10 years would further cement himself as one of the best rappers of his generation. While he may not have experienced the level of mainstream success as some of his contemporaries (such as Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole or Big Sean), his discography throughout this decade can stand toe to toe with any rapper from any area you want to name.
When I think about southern rap legends such as UGK, OutKast, Goodie Mob, T.I., etc., I think about artists that have the balance of providing music that you can ride around and have a good time to, as well as providing thought-provoking lyrical content with forever relevant social commentary. KRIT embodies this balance to the fullest. With songs such as "R4 Theme Song", "Big Bank" which features T.I., "Get Away" and "Mo Better Cool", KRIT uses those beats to flex his charisma on the mic. He has also collaborated with a number of his contemporaries. One of his most iconic features came on the A$AP Rocky song "1 Train". which also featured Kendrick Lamar, Danny Brown, Joey Bada$$, Action Bronson, and Yelawolf. KRIT has the final verse on the posse cut and completely steals the show on a track with lines such as: "B.B. King saw the king in me, so why can't you?. In order to come up close, you'll have to dig up Cash and Elvis, too" (referencing the fact that he had an actual feature from blues legend, B.B. King, on his debut album, Live From The Underground). He has also made appearances alongside the likes of Wiz Khalifa, Curren$y, Rapsody, The Roots, Lupe Fiasco, Phonte, Rick Ross, Ludacris, etc.
KRIT is definitely no slouch when it comes to social commentary within his music. On "Package Store", a song from his 2012 mixtape 4Eva N A Day, he spends the first verse explaining his encounter with a shady preacher before realizing that he can't judge him cause in the end "we both some niggas". In the second verse, he describes an encounter with a potential robber and how the robber loosened up on the aggression to educate K.R.I.T on the troubles that convicted felons experience on the daily. It's hard for felons to gain employment in America due to their record so "instead of buying what he want, he taking what they selling". On his song Bury Me In Gold, K.R.I.T explains the importance of gold as a status symbol in our communities and how the material objects that we crave in this world ultimately have no bearing on our piece of mind or our progress of reaching where we want to go in the afterlife. He also speaks on the retaliatory cycle of gun violence (Banana Clip Theory), struggles with alcoholism (Meditate), the contradictions humans experience on a daily basis (Mixed Messages), struggles with insecurity and self-esteem while being considered a star (Price of Fame), etc. Not overly complicated topics, but that's the type of content that separates rappers from artists.
So what do we have here: critically acclaimed albums and mixtapes, respect from his peers and legends alike and timeless sounding music that is bound to age gracefully (conceptually and musically). When there are discussions on the best Southern rap artists of all time, Justin Scott has more than earned a place in that conversation. He has exhibited excellence for over a decade from a production and lyrical standpoint. He's held his own with everyone he has rapped with and that list is as heavy as his accent. While his career is far from finished, Big KRIT has etched his name in a place that will live forever, and we know that 4Eva is a Mighty Long Time.
Written by: Alandre Davis | Twitter @Dre__843
Edited by: Dithekgo Mogadime | Twitter @DithekgoM