It's safe to say that Mississippi producer/emcee Big K.R.I.T. is a new King in this world of Hip-Hop. Rather it be proclaimed by Hip-Hop legends (Bun B, T.I., and Ludacris) or simply drawn out into recognition through his name K.R.I.T. alone (short for King Remembered in Time). The Def Jam signee has been boiling hot for the pas two years now and continues to deliver through his slew of mixtapes, production credits, and highly popular southern rhyme features. As he finally prepares to release his long overwaited debut album; Live From The Underground. We caught up with K.R.I.T in New York on the eve of the release of his new mixtape 4Eva Na Day. Via phone, K.R.I.T. drops some thoughts on the current mixtape game, touring versus recording, frustrations with sample clearing, and the treatment behind 4Eva Na Day. Musicians of all genres definitely need to pay attention to what this Underground King has to say, he's about to show the world a thing or two about making the smart choices in your career.
Interview by Bryson Paul
4eva Na Day was a project you pushed back like an album. Is it the same type of feeling of disappointment you get for a mixtape push back like an album being pushed back?
Big K.R.I.T.: I pushed it back because I wanted to add more songs to it for one; you know what I’m saying. That was extremely important to me to add more records. A lot of people don’t realize, that all this; the way I came about, from Return of 4Eva. I hadn’t dropped a mixtape or album yet. I treat these projects just like albums. From the roll out, to shoot videos to em, it’s like all that is extremely important. It’s all original music as well. It’s no freestyles or anything like that at all. It’s all original songs. Just trying to take it like an album, I never want to short the people. I never want to throw a half way project out there, I want to take on every project like it’s my last, you know.
Mixtapes allow an artist to experiment a lot ore with their sound without restrictions. What were some new ideas and material you played with this time around for 4Eva Na Day?
Big K.R.I.T.: I really went with a traditional project man. I think normally when you come up with an album, you have collages of kind of music. You know club records, records about shining, chillin, and all that. But it’s never personal, but sometimes; it might should be. I’m really just diving into what you really enjoy. So the kind of way I took it [creating 4Eva Na Day] this time, is to really dive into my personal, personal life. Even from the time being from when as far as chillin’, waking up in the morning, my routine an all that. Putting it into my music and creating a project that shows honesty via song. That the whole idea of 4Eva Na Day is, trying to create music that just goes through a whole Day in the Life of what I go through. From relationships, to business, to all that.
You’ve been touring a lot since early 2011, how has this been reflected in your new material?
Big K.R.I.T.: We basically develop a better understanding it’s all about making content that you can perform and basically getting people into it. For the most part definitely, making stronger hooks, you know hooks that are a string a gold but just stay humble. For us to still be able to do Return of 4Eva and a record like the “The Vent” and seeing how people see me singing that last part and dive a little bit deeper into that. Then trying to clear music that allows making the project as well. Because at the end of the day I definitely want fans to replay all the music that I make. So I keep all that in mind when I’m creating it for you.
You have said upon announcing the new mixtape that you are treating the tape like a free album. Who are some of your main collaborators on 4Eva Na Day?
Big K.R.I.T.: Um… If you go look at the tracklisting brutha, there isn’t any features. I got guitars, Mike Hartnett playing on two records. “Me and My Old School” and also got him [Hartnett] playing on a record called; “Insomnia.” I got one of my homies from Mississippi, Willie B. playing the Saxaphone on the first record, “Wake Up.” Um… Actually I got my home girl singing opera on the last record, “The Alarm” her name is Crystal B. Other than that, there no rapper features at all brutha.
Wow, that’s a first for a lot of mixtapes.
Big K.R.I.T.: Yea man, I definitely want to treat it like an album. The last thing to come out from me was The Last King 2 it was hosted by DJ Wally Sparks and DJ Break’em Off and you know it was a lot of more collaborations that I’ve did, features, and things like that. But this time I decided just kinda rap about my life and content that affected me personally, ya know.
With sample clearing being a major issue for you, as well as a lot of other artists. Do you look to it as a testament of relying to heavily on samples in your music?
Big K.R.I.T.: Um… I realized that. I just recently realized that it was a hard ordeal, dealing with Live from the Underground. Cause I did a lot of sampling for that, its one of the reason why I had to push the album back. But when it comes to these “street” projects, they for free. So I can kinda go all in and sample whatever I want. But Live from the Underground, it’s a different take on it, you know I had to create records that sounded like samples but weren’t. You know, kinda dive deeper into compositions and just try to make the sound gritty and kinda diverse quality to make it sound old an things like that. It was a different take, I mean some clearances I’d eat it, dealing with publishers, and dealing with trying to find publishers for one and hoping he agrees with the kind of record you’ve made off the sample.
How do you balance the satisfaction between what you want and what your fans want musically on 4Eva Na Day?
Big K.R.I.T.: I think just making music that is true to myself. I had no idea what people wanted from me in the first place, I came up with a project and it worked, you know what I’m sayin. Even with Return of 4Eva, I was like I’m just gonna be myself, make music that I enjoy to listen to and pray that people relate and dig it too. That’s kind of the same way with 4Eva Na Day man, you know never really know, you just got to stick with your gut and make quality music at the end of the day. I think as long as its quality, it makes sense, such amount of content; people gonna dig it.
Do you feel like it is taking 4Eva Na Day to complete the clearing of material for your debut Live from the Undergound?
Big K.R.I.T.: It the samples I chose, some of the sample that I chose were so obscure that it just took… it was hard to get over the publishing, ya know what I’m saying. We kept running into the deadline coming up just like okay well what would ya’ll do. Obviously I can’t just use the sample and take the risk of being sued so its like push it back, let me recreate the sample myself and take it from there. That’s the avenue that we took.
King Pt.2 is an incredible record. Anything from 4Eva Na Day you wanted to place on your debut album?
Big K.R.I.T.: Naw brutha, all the content I created for 4Eva Na Day was meant solely for 4Eva Na Day. It was records that I didn’t want to put on 4Eva Na Day and I didn’t because I felt they were meant to be Live from the Underground. But 4Eva Na Day is all original new music; the only record that has been leaked is “Boobie Miles.”
Being you are always on the road, how does the affect your recording?
Big K.R.I.T.: It’s difficult sometimes but that’s why you try and stop in certain places and knock out music or you try and have yourself on a budget and work when you can. I’m the type of person that likes to be in the studio and sit down and take a whole day to come up with what I’m working with. I want to make sure it’s a 100% perfect or right as much as possible before people heard it. It definitely takes a toll because normally you tired after a show. You really gotta find some kind of energy man and get in that studio.
How supportive is Def Jam as far as it comes to you making mixtapes whereas making an album?
Big K.R.I.T.: Creatively it’s an if it ain’t broke don’t fix it kind of thing. I’m making content that people really relate to, its working. To be able to make a “Country Shit” record but at the same time people like that and then a record like “The Vent”, they [Def Jam] see that the growth is going to be organic, ya know and that’s cool. It takes time to really build up people’s confidence to actually go out and buy an album out the store. I don’t want just be like oh I got a single and my album ain’t right. I want to put together the best possible album I can. The singles all make sense and that’s what were working for right now.
Big K.R.I.T. is currently finishing up his college tour with J. Cole and prepping for the release of his debut album Live From the Underground (Def Jam/Cinematic Music Group). K.R.I.T.'s debut is scheduled to hit shelves June 5th 2012. Until then make sure you grab your copy of the 4Eva Na Day today for free through your favorite music websites.
Pick up your copy of 4Eva Na Day here:
Big K.R.I.T. - 4 Eva Na Day [Mixtape]: Click Here
Also pick up a copy of the EP version of 4Eva Na Day: Road Less Traveled Edition
4Eva Na Day (Road Less Traveled Edition) Tracklist:
1. Boobie Miles
2. Man On Fire
5. Red Eye
Available on iTunes