Rising Mississippi rap star Big K.R.I.T. can’t put a price on quality
by DARCY MACDONALD
May 26, 2011
“Free is the most organic you can be,” says Mississippi rapper/producer K.R.I.T. (“King Remembered in Time”), born Justin Scott. “Being willing to create something, put your all into it, invest in it, and then give it away to people for free is definitely a feat in itself in the end, because if it’s quality, people will come back.
“That’s what we dealin’ with now. I just want to build up the confidence of my supporters to go out and actually buy my album out the store. [2010 debut] K.R.I.T. Wuz Here was the beginning, but I still didn’t feel like that was enough to prove I could put together a solid body of music. So I dropped Returnof4eva, which is ultimately me showing the world that K.R.I.T. Wuz Here wasn’t a fluke.”
A fluke certainly does not seem likely, given K.R.I.T.’s down-to-earth approach, often uncharacteristic of the narrower “go-for-mine” attitude exhibited by many rap artists. Do his peers call him crazy?
“I heard that in the beginning stages of my career, maybe back in 2004, 2005. I mean, you know, ‘If you really can’t make no money at it, then what are you doing it for?’ kinda thing,” he says.
“And that may be with any career in life. But you know how it is. Hip hop isn’t really…you know, it’s a show-and-prove kinda thing. So you really can’t expect a person to pay a lot for your CD at the store if they never heard of you before. Or, just listen to it in general.”
K.R.I.T. expects a reasonable return on this most personal of investments when his major label debut drops on Def Jam later this year, and to hear him tell it, it seems even the record industry may be starting to pull its head out of its ass when it comes to the digital market.
“I think they see that it works. At any rate, when you can save money, it’s not harmful. Labels ain’t losin’ any money by me puttin’ together a project and gettin’ it out, and it building that kinda buzz, especially if I’m producing all of it. And then it all comes back in the end, because it’s hits!”
K.R.I.T.’s lyricism reflects that same modest-yet-bang-on-accurate kind of intellect. His production keeps in check the best elements of the South, audibly incorporating regional influences while contemporizing the genre for a new decade, and his DIY approach still helps him line his pockets at the end of the day.
“As far as making money, you know, it’s staying out on the road, you know what I’m sayin’? Touring, merch and things of that nature then become a means for an artist to really make a living off of the music. So you really gotta keep that in mind. It definitely is a way to make money, you just gotta be willin’ to put in time. It’s definitely the road less travelled, but it pays off in the end.”
WITH SMOKE DZA, I.BLAST, BLACK GLOVEZ, AK THA KID, PREACH ANKOBIA AND DJ BLASTER AT LE BELMONT ON SUNDAY, MAY 29, 8 P.M., $25