It’s a rare occurrence these days when a new artist or project comes out of nowhere to shake up the game. Big K.R.I.T. and his K.R.I.T. Wuz Here project have done just that. It’s honest, unapologetically authentic music that’s so Southern fried, it’ll leave you with high cholesterol after every listen. But don’t take my word for it. Listen to the man himself. K.R.I.T. sat down with the Crew’s David D. for a track-by-track breakdown of his debut opus.
1. “Return of 4eva” (Feat. Big Sant) – The concept of this song is bringing back the golden era sound: really sample-driven, 808’s and strong kickback that’s in southern Hip-Hop. I was talking with my patna about a time in music where people still remember Outkast, UGK and 8-Ball & MJG. I’m just reintroducing that sound back into the game and that’s really the idea behind the title, “Return of 4eva.” I wanted it to be a group song with my patna Big Sant, who’s one half of the Alumni Group we started so the connection was perfect for us to do a record like that.
2. “Country Shit” – It’s just being country! It’s expressing how country I am. It’s incorporating again the sample-driven aspect and just drive and a lot of energy in a record. Really, this is my “have fun” record. I’m just gonna say whatever the fuck and be extra country. Whether you’re going to catch the accent or not isn’t important. It’s about beating the trunk heavy and really going in the clubs. It’s something you can ride to.
3. “Just Touched Down” – This is the first record I came out with that everyone paid attention to. I dropped that in 2005. It’s like a statement, like I’ve already been here before. I’ve been doing this for a long time but there are just people that are not hearing me. It’s just saying “I’m here.” It’s got the soulful qualities I really wanted to play off of. I just wanted to introduce myself to the world.
4. “Hometown Hero” – Aw Man! I want to be an inspiration in my state and in my city. I’m saying Mississippi a lot and still the whole world just took to me. It’s how I feel about the state of Hip-Hop and how I feel as an up-and-coming artist. You feel like you’re getting successful and where you want to be but the game is still in high school. I just want to touch on what we all go through in this industry. I just wanted to inspire people with songs that are truthful and heartfelt.
5. “Viktorious” – Getting a lot off of my chest! (Laughs). Mississippi never really got a run like other states. We never got a run like Texas, Florida, Atlanta, Tennessee or Alabama. They had artists come out and really become staples in the game. We never really had that opportunity. It’s important for me to express that. We do have something to say. It’s about being from the state that people generally turn a deaf ear to. It’s one of the angriest records on the album. I’m just trying to prove that we got lyrical content in Mississippi and we’re here now.
6. “See Me On Top” – Another venting record more or less. I’m gonna be successful in my eyes. Being able to put out material and music is successful in itself. I’m comfortable being a musician and a rapper and whether I am successful in the eyes of everyone else is not important to me. I’m satisfied. I’m just expressing the bad times before: going through bad deals and shit and being able to overcome the bullshit in the game. Period.
7. “Glass House (Feat. Curren$y & Wiz Khalifa) – Big pimpin’ and playin’! This is definitely a riding song. I just wanted to capture that with the bassline and grit you find in southern Hip-Hop. Those two artists took it over the top as well. It’s a riding record that reminds you of that old school shit. The flavor on it was just amazing. I think it really showcased the production I do, too.
8. “Children Of The World” – I’m just explaining my views on life. People may see me and say “he’s talking about pimping” or “he’s talking about money,” but we all grew up in the struggle. We’re all children of the world and the influences are there. Some good, some bad. It’s also explaining why school may not have been good for me and why I chose to go with music despite me getting overlooked because I didn’t do what the radio wanted me to do. I did music how I wanted to. That was the acapella part: I been doing this but people sometimes don’t believe I’m from Mississippi because I have lyrical content. But really, I’m going to stand on my own legs and do what I want to do.
9. “They Got US” – I felt like I needed to write a story that’s not just focused on myself. I wanted to talk about other people in my life to show that we all have struggles. The first verse is about a patna I knew that had a lot of struggles – legal and financial – and what he had to do to escape poverty. The second verse focuses on strippers and prostitutes. The third verse is obviously about unprotected sex and adultery. I felt like it was important to express those aspects of life. I wanted to make it more than a rap song, but a song that touched everybody. It’s just another one of those real life songs.
10. “Good Enough” – It’s a very personal record of mine. You just realize, as you get older that there are some things you can’t change. You lose people. They come in your life and they go. You just have to accept it. This song is me speaking to God: worst case scenario if I don’t make it, please let my family make it. That’s good enough for me. I’m not as religious or saved as I might want to be and I’m still dealing with worldly things.
11. “No Wheaties” (Feat. Smoke Dza & Curren$y) – It’s just a great group record of us flexing. We’re artists and we’re accomplished with our content but, unlike athletes, we don’t get Wheaties® boxes. We don’t get that type of pub. But we’re still here. We’re still admired for our talent, though.
12. “Something” – Man. (Laughs). It’s a record about what’s coming. I just can’t let anything get me down in life. I couldn’t let my music get away from me and keep pushing forward. It’s about me trying to succeed even though the government sometimes is trying to stick it to my dreams. It doesn’t have a hook because I wanted to let it breathe and let the sample say everything. Being able to build a character in the lyrics from that sample was amazing. I’ll tell you what: the sample is an Al Green song. It’s an Al Green record and I’ll leave it up to you to find it.
13. “Moon And The Stars” (Feat. Devin The Dude) – It’s the riding-est of ride records. It was amazing to be on a song with Devin The Dude. He turned the record up a notch. It’s just good for riding down 85. You’re just smoked out and chillin’. I wanted it to be mood music. No 808s and just a real easy bassline. It’s hard to explain this kind of record, because I was in a vibe with it. I wanted this to be a record you never take out of the deck. It’s timeless like the moon and stars.
I didn’t meet Devin until SXSW. He was moving so much, but he was able to jump on the record. Though I wasn’t in the studio when he did it, it was crazy seeing him perform at SXSW. If you’ve never seen him perform, it’s some amazing shit.
14. “Never Go Back” – We all have those times where we forget what it’s like to be younger. We get older and miss the fun because it’s all about money and grind. I wanted to reflect on when I was younger, you know, riding on the school bus and riding on the back of the seats. It’s just wanting to be child again when everything was so innocent and smiling wasn’t so hard.
15. “Gumpshun” – You know a lot of people don’t know what that word means. It’s guts, heart, determination and courage. My grandma used to use the word a lot in the house. It’s Mississippi lingo; a brand of word that people aren’t used to. Where I’m from, it’s used a lot. I just wanted to use our slang terminology. I just wanted to bring you all some Mississippi shit. So when you hear “gumpshun,” I hope it puts some Mississippi on your mind, which is always a good thing.
16. “2000 & Beyond” – I wanted to reflect on society and where we are now. We have to deal with violence, the financial world and the government deceiving and discouraging. I wanted to also talk about how people deal with religion. This is all about being a Black man in today’s society. Our leaders fought for so much, but are we living up to their dreams and goals they set out for us?
17. “I Gotta Stay” – That was for my grandmomma. She passed in January. I went through a slump in writing and I was like, “man, what’s wrong?” I didn’t know what it was but wasn’t writing like I wanted to. I just had to sit down and get this off of my chest. This song was dedicated directly towards her. The bridge at the end is something she used to walk around and sing. I didn’t do this for a filler or for the fans. I did it for myself. I wanted a song dedicated to her whether people knew what I was talking about or not. I didn’t want it to be too depressing, but I wanted to say goodbye and be okay with it and move on in life.
18. “Small As A Giant” – In this game, you can be the dopest rapper alive and never get recognized because it’s not your time or you’re in the wrong genre. It’s like the elephant in the room: “how can you not see me?” It’s me venting about being from where I’m from and not getting a good look. It’s hard just watching folks on television that make it seem easy, but you feel like you’re better and you have a type of message that people need to hear but they don’t because you’re swallowed up by industry bullshit or labels. That’s it! It’s just, “pay attention to me! I’m here!”
[Regarding the Soulja Boy/Bow Wow line] At the end of the day, I don’t know anybody for doing what they do. You still gotta have a talent to be good. It’s just my message and lyrical content is so specific, so I have to show how my music is different from other people’s music. It wasn’t a diss but people do get offended. That’s fine because I want people to listen to my music and that’s just what it is.
19. “Voices” – Everybody’s got voices that are good or bad. Whether it’s somebody calling you and telling you either to get this money or they’re hating on you. It’s a record that shows that every day you’re motivated by something. I have a team around me that’s telling me, “don’t stop, don’t quit.” It’s on some motivational shit to tell you to get money and keep going. It’s a vibing thing. I put a lot of 808 in it so you can ride to it in your car. But I also want to make a stadium-sounding record. I want people to rap along with this record not because they see me on stage, but because they feel the words.
K.R.I.T. Wuz Here has been on repeat on a lot of iPod’s around the country. As you can see, the project has been years in the making and a thorough look into the life of one of the dopest new acts in music. Still haven’t heard it? There’s still time. We won’t judge you too much for being late to the party.