The biggest plight of any artist is trying to find a happy medium between satisfying the label and maintaining their creative integrity while still being considered a formidable threat in the eyes of their peers. Big K.R.I.T. has seamlessly performed this magic trick with little to no problem.
His debut album, Live From the Underground, showcased a hungry southern rapper fighting through the trenches for acceptance. While many applauded his efforts, some remained skeptical. Of course, K.R.I.T. took notice and returned back into the studio to trump his previous album.
His sophomore endeavor, Cadillactica, is comprised of scintillating tales of a southern rapper coming up in an industry salivating for lyricism. After being questioned, K.R.I.T.’s newest album hushed critics and proved that he is definitely among the new tier of rappers capable of carrying the proverbial torch of hip-hop. His first single “Pay Attention” was a record which fed his label a radio track, all while staying true to his creative roots. In addition, his record “King of the South” ousted any doubt concerning his hunger and ability to be at the forefront for the south.
With 2014 winding down, K.R.I.T. can smile at his success as he continues to turn doubters into believers. He sat down with The Drop to discuss Cadillactica, his favorite records from his new album, his top five athletes of all time, his favorite sports jerseys, and why he’s still a beast in NBA 2K. Check it out.
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Congrats on your sophomore project, Cadillactica. Talk about the reception you’ve received so far regarding your new album.
Big K.R.I.T.: Ah man, it’s been beautiful, bro. There’s been a lot of positive energy. It’s just people excited to see the growth not only sonically, but just content. It’s always a blessing as far as knowing that people still wanna hear you say something when you have something to say. It’s a beautiful feeling. To see so many people kind of have to go out their way to find my album, because you know my album wasn’t necessarily in every store. You know what I’m saying? It was under-shipped. And people were traveling just to get my album. It says a lot man. I appreciated that kind of support. And to just be in a position to not be a new artist, but still sell more than my last album and still gain new followers and new supporters is amazing. You know what it is, at the end of the day with the music, all I ever wanted to do was to say something that was important with the subject matter and the content. I think more than ever, this album gave me the opportunity to showcase that. And I think people understand that as well. I’m not in it for the short term. It’s a marathon. I’m in it for longevity and I’m not gonna sacrifice my creative integrity just for monetary gains.
You definitely had some great cuts from the album. From a creative standpoint, what were some of differences with this album in contrast to your debut project, Live from the Underground?
BK: I would say as a producer, just being able to work with all the producers. You know, being able to work with all the producers, and being able to create for such a long time. I had a year and half to work on this album. You know, with Live from the Underground, I was on tour. I didn’t have much time. That was the difference. Just being able to get in with Terrace Martin, Raphael Saadiq, Jim Jonsin, and people like that, I learned different things from them. And it freed up more time for me to write. The writing came just as trying to be as creative as possible with some of the content and some of the subject matter. You know, I think that made a tremendous difference. Just me being an artist and trying to paint a raw picture of Cadillactica.
If you had to pick your top three records from Cadillactica, which would you choose and why?
BK: That’s kind of difficult to say. But, I would definitely have to say “Saturdays = Celebration,” “Cadillactica” because it’s obviously the theme song, and I’m gonna say “Soul Food.” “Soul Food” was a banger. But every day it changes for me.
You’ve said before you were nasty on the diamond and you were a great baseball player. When did your love for baseball begin?
BK: When I was young. I’d say five years old playing tee-ball, things of that nature. My dad was more of a baseball player than anything. You know, with football, I was kind of small and skinny growing up. So football didn’t take to me as well as baseball did. You know, pretty much from the point I could grab a baseball glove until the point I graduated high school, I was playing. I was pretty unorthodox with the pitching, but I was effective when the time came, and I played shortstop for a brief stint.
That’s dope. Let me find out you were a baby Derek Jeter. (Laughs)
BK: Ah man! I won’t say all that though. (Laughs) I said a brief stint. It wasn’t the longest run.
I’m going to pose you this: If you could choose your five favorite athletes of all time, who would you choose and why?
BK: Wow! Aight, let me see. I’d have to go with obviously Michael Jordan. Then, I’d say Bo Jackson. I gotta go with Bo. Mike Tyson is another one. Give me a second, let me think about this. I’d say Walter Payton. Hold on man! Let me think! Ahh! I got one more. Man, I’m gonna go with Barry Bonds. Nah wait, I’m gonna go with Deion Sanders.
So you’re taking Deion over Barry?
BK: Only because I already have Bo Jackson and Walter Payton.
I know Bo dabbled in both baseball and football. You gotta represent for your baseball people. So, we’ll give you six. If you wanna throw a baseball player in there, would you throw Barry or someone else?
BK: Man, let me see.
I always thought you were a Ken Griffey type of dude. He was filthy.
BK: Crazy with it, man. I really wanted those f****** shoes, though.
I was just gonna ask you too, because I know you’re a huge sneakerhead. Can you give us your top-five favorite Jordans of all time?
BK: I’d say the “Space Jam” XI. We can go with the “Banned” I just because they were the first Jordans that can get fined $5,000 a game for. We can go with the “True Blue” III. Let me think about this. Let me think about this. I’m gonna go with the “Toro Bravo” V. This is gonna be tricky because you said five. I’m gonna say the “Taxis,” man. I been rocking the h*** out of the Taxis, for real, for real.
What I find dope is some artists like you and Wale come out and perform in throwback jerseys. I remember you rocking the throwback Ray Allen jersey. What about your top five favorite jerseys of all time?
BK: S***! Shawn Kemp, Pistol Pete, man, hold on, hold on, let me think. Let me think about this.
Of course, the Jordan jersey. I’m trying to think about the closet right now. Let me think about this. Now are we talking about throwback and all? Because there’s some stuff that came out that was crazy.
Any type of jersey.
BK: Aight, cool. I’ll go with Magic Johnson and his Michigan State jersey. Ah, let me think man. Ah man. Let me think. I’m trying to go back. Hold on, because I’m really…ah s***, Larry Bird! Let’s go. H*** yeah. (Laughs)
I remember you said you were the man on that NBA 2K14.
BK: Oh yeah. Ain’t nothing changed.
So 2K15, you still got the juice?
BK: I still got it in 2K15. I will say 2K15 is definitely different from 2K14. The gameplay is totally different. But, I’m one of those people that can play with every team and beat you. That’s why I know I’m good at that s***.
I remember you said you were rocking with the Bobcats last year. Are you still playing with the Hornets now?
BK: H*** yeah. Yhey’re stronger this year than last year because they got Lance [Stephenson]. But it don’t matter, man. I’ll run with d*** near anybody.
Are you more of a 2K player or Madden player?
BK: I’m more of a 2K player. But, I gotta be honest with you, bro, I remember when 2K was making the football games, too. Those games were crack, though. No disrespect to Madden, but 2K was crack.
I hear that. I used to be a NBA Live player, but then 2K just came through and took over.
BK: They just came and took everything when they made the m************ sweat. They had sweat coming down their foreheads. I was like, “Oh s***. It’s a wrap. The jerseys look like real jerseys.”
Man, the players started glistening and everything.
BK: They had you pop champagne when you won the championship and s***.
Do you manage to still squeeze in some time to play? I know you’ve been on tour recently.
BK: Oh yeah. When you on that bus, you ain’t got nothing but time to play.
Have you lost a game yet?
BK: Oh nah, nah, nah. NBA 2K15 I lost. I won more than I lost. Believe that. They call me the greatest. I don’t really count how many wins and losses I have. There’s no need to put me on the list. But, if you have a streak going, I’ll just come in and put an end to that. I gotta bring them down to Earth.
Can you name us your favorite sports movies of all time?
BK: Oh that’s easy. “Friday Night Lights,” “The Program”, and it’s ironic that all of these are football movies but “Any Given Sunday.”
Are you taking “Any Given Sunday” over “Friday Night Lights?”
BK: You know what, that’s hard to say, because I got inspired with the Boobie Miles story. I got to go with Boobie Miles. I’m gonna throw a baseball movie in there, too. “Major League Baseball II,” the one with Wesley Snipes in it.
Wait! You just gave me another question since you mentioned Boobie Miles. The best hip-hop sports track ever. Who are you going with?
BK: Wow! That’s hard. I gotta think about that. This is besides my record “Boobie Miles?” I’ll give it to the homie Nelly with “Batter Up” because when I was playing baseball, that s*** got so many spins, man, it was retarded.
Follow Carl on Twitter at @TheRealCL24