With his  album Cadillactica less than a month away, the Mississippi native sat down with us to talk about his new albums, how being in love affects his music, “Mt. Olympus” , Tupac & much more.

Big K.R.I.T.’s sophomore album Cadillactica is quickly approaching it’s November 11th release date.  Since the release of his latest mixtape See Me On Top Vol. 4 over the past few weeks it seems like every couple days we have some new details or interesting tidbits to consider in anticipation. Whether it’s the futuristic cover art or some new music-like the title track “Cadillactica” released last night as part of the iTunes Preorder – theres plenty to chew on.  But if those tidbits we’re hors d’oeuvres we present to you a feast.  Young Krizzle spoke with us just hours before his performance at New York City’s Highline Ballroom show with openers Two-9 and needless to say he dropped some gems.

 

The Source: Do you have a pre show ritual?

Big K.R.I.T. : Yea , sleep, hahaha.

The Source: Do yo have a specific story of when a show may have went wrong?

Big K.R.I.T : Nah, normally when we do shows man , even if it’s a slip with the mic and the mic cut off or the speakers go out or you know the song comes on wrong, we always kind press through it.  To be honest we normally just go out there and just kill that shit, people might run up on stage and that happens..

The Source: So no Action Bronson moments?

Big K.R.I.T. : Nah, Nah, I’m good. Depending what song they run up on , they may turn up for a little bit while thats going on , but then they usually get off, we jump in the crowd, throw water, kick it have fun

The Source: I know you have Two-9 opening up for you, how did that come about, why them:

Big K.R.I.T. : I mean well, because of the energy is crazy, they got their own energy.  I respect the movement, to be young and have a real movement, not only in Atlanta but they’re making noise everywhere else, and they’re so in house, having thieir own producers.  They’re so artistic but its still kinda edgy, and its youth at the end of the day they get up there and they go hard, and I’m like DAMN, okay,.  You need that around you at the same time , because were at a point now that theres music I want to put other people on to situations, so why not come out on tour and be a part of this shit because all it’s gonna do is help brand them, and once they get shit poppin, bring me out on stage!

The Source:  I actually got handed their cd outside a show before even hearing of them, and then they started making noise on the internet and I went back and was like wow that’s them!

Big K.R.I.T. : I’m tellin you man, somebody might come by and slip you some dope!

The Source: So, This is a real Concept album.

Big K.R.I.T. : YEA!

 The Source: The days of real concept albums, and overall just concepts in general aren’t what they used to be.  Are there any albums that are concept albums or just ones that come to mind that helped maybe inspire you a bit [in the making of Cadillacitca].

Big K.R.I.T. : Im gonna be honest, these albums didn’t seem like a concept album, but they were more soundtracks. Willie Hutch The Mack, to be able to tell a story musically  always intrigued me , Isaac Hayes ‘Shaft’, things of that nature.  So the listening to these albums  all the way through you get an idea of the movie without seeing it, you know what I’m saying.  That was my first introduction to it , like o shit I can tell a story cinematically on wax though.  That and understanding the tone and how to create a song and it literally takes people there is all about tempo, its all about the kind of feeling in the instruments you decide to use, and all that goes into trying to create a conceptual album, and then figuring out the very clever way of tying it in to every other project you’ve ever done.  If you go back and listen to even K.R.I.T. Wuz Here , there’s pieces in it and ideas and thoughts, that are intertwined with return of Return of 4Eva  and that gets you ready for  4eva N a Day and that prepares you for Live from the Underground and Live goes into King Remembered  In Time as far as prepping people for the next step , which is a singing K.R.I.T, and then King is like  ok now I’m going to take you on a whole other journey and I just wanted to tell the story of where the Cadillac came from that crashed landed on Live from the Underground.

The Source: With how people listen to music now, its very quick and disposable, wit the concept album, were you at all concerned with that, even though its artistically something you want to do, its something that people might miss?

Big K.R.I.T. : Nah because if you take away the planet Cadillactica , if you remove the sequencing of the records, I still feel like I made strong enough songs to live on their own. And that was an extremely important , that these songs without the skits are still solid records, the skits , theres only 2 of em really and they only help with moving along the sequence but these songs stand all on their own.  Even if people don’t necessarily get it, the whole story of it, I think just bottom line they’ll appreciate the quality of the music that’s on the album.

The Source: So are there any songs that just didn’t fit into the theme?

Big K.R.I.T. : Yea “Giants against monsters” , it was a way of me telling a battle between good and evil but in a more , I would say barbaric fashion, not necessarily with nowadays kind of mentality.  But on some catapult, kings and queens, dragons , that kind of mentality.  But I decided to save that for something else.

 The Source: You’ve spoke about how you already know you next album title?

Big K.R.I.T. : I had the title of the next album in 2007, before the idea of Cadillactica.  The title was so, is like, I got to do a lot before I can use that title.

 The Source: Is It the title of one of the songs on the new  album [King Of The South]?

BK: No its not. See you tryin..

The Source: We’ll you hid the title of this one in your last album Live From The Underground [On the title track]

Big K.R.I.T: Yea I did but you had to like really listen.  This time nah, only like five or six people really know the title.

The Source: So with the song “King Of The South”.  Where did the creation of that song come from, did you set out to make a song with that title or did the beat just call for that ?

Big K.R.I.T. : I was at a point where I was pretty much finished with the album, but i felt like something was missing.  Normally with me I cover all of the introspective songs first, because its easier to just sit down and, especially in the space i was in, and create from an artistic perspective, and even the music and the samples and everything.  Normally I hum out a lot of these melodies and create them . At the end it was just missing something, I felt like it was missing a certain confidence not only from me , but from the person on the album.  So I felt if I was gonna go all the way with a confident statement why wouldn’t it be that statement, you know?  Thats where that record came from.  The beat came first, it was my second beat I made on Logic [production software], so I was also creatively using a whole other way of producing.  Normally I use Reason [software].

The Source: So no more MTV beat generator ? [Krit had referenced using this to make beats early in his career in previous interviews]

Big K.R.I.T. : No , I hadn’t done that since 2001.

The Source: It’s funny a lot of producers talk about how they started off with that.

Big K.R.I.T. : You remember memory cards?  Most memory cards came with 24 megabytes of space.  You could sample on play station four seconds, and that four seconds would take up that whole memory card.

The Source: So you had to be nice?

Big K.R.I.T. : You had to be really nice, I never sampled, I just replayed.  But it’s ok, those beats will never resurface

The Source: It was interesting being in The Def Jam offices and hearing your album and then you have the line on their about throwing the ball to Def Jam but they might fumble.

Big K.R.I.T. : HA, everybody at some point becomes frustrated with their work environment or their boss, it doesn’t mean anything by it.  Rap gives you the opportunity to just be honest about certain situations.  But as you can see the building is 100% behind the album, but that was a little just “ehhh man”

The Source: To keep them on their toes right?

Big K.R.I.T. : Exactly, because they definitely keep me on my toes, shit!

The Source: A big topic now is independent vs major, fans even seem to care now.  What have you seen , and seen change being on a label, as far as the process etc?

Big K.R.I.T. : Being on a label puts you on a different platform musically, it just is what it is.  Independent you can run into a ceiling, everyone wants their music to be heard by the masses.  You can run in to that where you keep promoting and only a certain way, and it isn’t growing.  I feel like when you go to a major label you understand that it is a business and it’s a platform where you have to be able to know what your doing and be able to use that platform in a way where it no only markets you the best way possible and you as an individual in your music, but it also gives you an opportunity to open up more doors.  Thats what its doing , giving you an opportunity to put your face on and be attached to something that is respected for music and hip hop.  So it becomes one of those things where if your independent and your spending all your marketing dollars to promote yourself and your running into this brick wall that it can be something that you might want to do eventually . But you build your brand so tuff and so strong that when you do step to a major , you don’t have to worry so much, everything is already in place .  all they’re going to do is run you into these places that you never even thought about or you couldn’t get to because your music wasn’t reaching there.  Labels will pull back now, people will say they’re independent and they’re not because the label will say “you know what, you just do you  and were gonna play the background because it looks better.

The Source: As far as the features on the album, you worked with Devin The Dude again.  You guys have a great chemistry how did that relationship start?

Big K.R.I.T. : Well Devon, these OG’s showed so much love in the beginning, it was like at some point working with them became not only an honor but it was one of those things where I sonically liked how those songs felt.  I always felt like at this point , like creating my own nostalgia, something for myself where it’s like Big Sant, Bun B are always going to be on one of my albums and Devin The Dude is the same.  That creates a storyline in itself, because who knows i could be shooting a mini movie to all these videos, and we could make a whole deal with that.

The Source: You every think about doing a whole project with Devin?

Big K.R.I.T. : Hell Yeah! That would be crazy.  That would be crazy because just based off the fact with how he sings on records and theres sometimes some comedic sense in his music that I think we could create something really special.  Whenever the OG ready, like production even, if i’m not rapping id love to produce a whole album for some of these people.

The Source: You spoke on how now that the albums done your getting more into producing for others, you mentioned a placement on Rick Ross’s new album, any others we can check for?

Big K.R.I.T. : Aww man, yea I think we got a crazy one (Ross).  I think A$AP Ferg might fuck with one, but I haven’t produced as much as I would have liked to.  But trust me after this tour, I’m back in the lab.

The Source: You have Wiz Khalfia on a record on the album, and we spoke to him recently, right after hearing Cadillactica, and asked him about you, your relationship and your new album.  {At this point we showed Big K.R.I.T. the footage, in it Wiz talked about how he & K.R.I.T. met through Allhiphop featuring them, and how he’s excited for when he’s really doing his thing and feeling comfortable doing it.} – It comes from this interview 

Big K.R.I.T. : Thats whatsup ! Because thats where we at now, Cadillactica ! I remember someone from his camp reached out to me on MySpace in like 2004, about working.

The Source: Before he had tattoos?

Big K.R.I.T. : Before anyone had tattoos!  We were laughing about that Allhiphop shit because we had on some big ass LRG clothes in that shit!  Its beautiful to see him still at it, it’s been a journey for all of us, it aint been overnight.

The Source: You have (singer) Mara Hruby on the album, and you’ve said in other interviews that she’s “your lady”, so are you in love?

Big K.R.I.T. : Yea I would say that, Yea!

The Source: How does that affect you as an artist?

Big K.R.I.T. : It makes me happy as a person, and as an artist it gives me the opportunity to express what happiness in a way that i probably haven’t before.  You know a lot of my content has been kind dark, relationship wise, “Red Eye” things of that nature.  This is good though because people get to see a timeline of things, like damn, certain ages I felt this way etc.  Now being in this kinda space and creating based off again my real life.  Theres a particular record on their called “3rd eye” she obviously would be the driving force behind that.  So yea man I write about my real life experiences you know, so there you have it. Thats one, thats definitely one.

The Source: With writing about real life, theres a balance.  Writing about concepts and writing about specifics.  Kendrick for example gained a lot of popularity on G.K.M.C where he spoke on very specific seeming events.  Talk about that balance as it pertains to you.

Big K.R.I.T. : Well I did that a lot on the See Me On Top mixtapes, I did that on K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, I did that on 4EvaNaDay.  4eva was a day in the life project, it featured my dad, featured Big Sant, and they were talking and a lot of my partners and you know my grandma actually talking and so for me it was the specifics of that are there.  Sometimes it just sounds so melodic its like “is he really talking about himself.  300 block has been a recurring thing in  a lot of my videos.  8th street, Meridian Mississippi, 30th avenue, all these things.  For me I try to sonically do it, my actual Grandma is singing on “L.F.U reprise” and thats from actual tapes I found from when i was a child, and i made an instrumental out of that, so i mean , yea.

The Source: One of The Source Magazine’s biggest regrets is that we weren’t able to put out our mid year lists of songs, albums etc.  On the songs list the #1 song we were going to put was “Mt. Olympus”, we went back and forth a lot, but really wanted to make a statement with that because we felt it deserved that title.  So you really recorded it the day after “Control” came out?

Big K.R.I.T. : Thank you for that, an yea.

The Source: Did you almost put it out sooner? 

Big K.R.I.T. : Yea I had a real strong team and they were like “HOLD ON, HOLD ON”.   I waited two months and played it for Jim Johnson and he was like “Hold on just for a second”.  Rico Love was like “yo its crack, but hold on!”  Then a year went by and it was like alright the space opened up for me to do it ,and now it made sense.  Again it goes back to that patience and not reacting and responding just because people expect you to, its got to make sense for me at the end of the day.

The Source: So theres not beef, but that was a challenge in a sense.  Who else challenges you?

Big K.R.I.T. : My partners go ham on records, so like Big Sant, Smoke DZA, these kind of people I can get on records with and I be like “O SHIT”.  We call it cheat codes, which is every artist has a particular thing that they do on record, where they know the minute that 4 bars or 8 bars come in, they do something that will make that verse stand out, and we all know each others cheat codes.

The Source: So what’s your cheat code, Up-up-down-down left right?

Big K.R.I.T. : NAHH, A-B-A-B-Back. HA.  I don’t want to get into that. But at the same time we all know what were capable of doing on records so when were in the studio its definitely like off with your head if you let me, like I’m gonna get at you.  Thats why I understood that verse [Control] it just got a little, like they was putting our heads on horses and shit, there was just a lot going on .  For me I was like, I’ve always been humble, but it was necessary because “Mt. Olympus” was birthed out of that.

The Source: How did you write “The Vent”, where did that come from?

Big K.R.I.T. : SHIT, I wrote “The Vent”  seven days after the anniversary of my Grandmothers passing.  I was very sad that day, it wasn’t seven days it was the actual day, I was just dumb sad, I don’t know why but I just gotta write.  I literally wrote this whole song, and we were at Sant’s crib.  I called my pops like pops I’m just sad , I don’t know why the fuck I’m sad and he was like yea today is the day your grandma passed.  You know you get to moving so much in this music game, and you just forget, but that energy is still there.  Your brain, your subconscious just reminds you, and it reminded me.  The album Return of 4 Eva was pretty much done at that point but I decided to put it on there for her, and from that point on I decided to put a song on every album I did from every album on for her.  Thats a kind of song you cant help but put it at the end of the set.

The Source: Last question here, you talk about cheat codes, as someone who does interviews my cheat code is asking people about Tupac.  Thats how we randomly found out Jeezy almost played him in the ‘Holler If You Hear Me’ Musical (in the current issue of The Source Magazine).  So what does he mean to you?

Big K.R.I.T. : Man with Tupac it’s just his passion, his music, and knowing that a lot of those records were poems, and that he was a workaholic, it meant a lot.  It made me feel like thats what it took, it takes that passion.  Even if the verse isn’t the most lyrical, if the people know that you mean it and they know that you stand by what your saying it’ll go a whole lot farther, and you can hear that in a lot of his songs.  There was definitely a lot of frustration with whatever he was battling with, from being a rapper and just wanting to be a revolutionary and on top of that you can also see that he also cared about the music because even in listening to some of those songs….”Hail Mary” could not have been a club record, he was just doing that because  he felt like DOING THAT.  To have a record like “changes”, a record like that is a timeless song, people are forever going to play that.

 

 

Spencer was blown away talking to Big K.R.I.T., not much else to say.  It was an honor . Follow him on Twitter – 

Spencer Stein – @sjeezs