RESPECT | Interview: Big K.R.I.T. Talks Bobby Womack, Artistic Growth & The Planet Cadillactica
It’s been over two years since Meridian, Mississippi’s own, Big K.R.I.T. released his major label debut album, Live From The Underground, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been busy. Last year he dropped the well-received mixtape, King Remembered In Time and he’s been hitting the road with the likes of Macklemore and Talib Kweli. The fourth installment of his See Me On Top series just hit the internet last week and his new album, Cadillactica is slated for release this November. Although he’s currently gearing up for his Pay Attention tour with Two-9, Young Krizzle to the time to talk with us about life in Meridian, musical influences and artistic growth, among other things.
You are a very soulful artist. It comes out in your music. Who were some of your early influences and who introduced you to that kind of music?
I would say that my father was the first person to play Geto Boys and NWA around me. He had tapes and I remember he was really into electronics. He had a lot of old cassette players and things of that nature and he was the first to really introduce me to that. I didn’t find out aboutOutkast until I was riding around with one of my first cousins. I would attribute my grandmother to putting me onto the blues and soul music. Like James Brown, B.B. King and people of that nature. So growing up, I had a wide range of things I could pick from. When I got to an age where I could start buying my own CDs and turn the radio onto what I wanted to hear, that’s when I started discovering Willie Hutch, Bobby Womack, Curtis Mayfield, UGK,Three 6 Mafia and Eightball & MJG. That was the beginning of me listening to music in a way where not only was I entertained by it and influenced as a person, but I wanted to know how it was created in that manner.
That’s kind of how I was. When I was 15 or so, I started listening to the oldies station on AM radio and hearing songs that had been sampled for the rap I was listening to on the FM stations. I’ve been hooked ever since.
It’s so many jewels and things you just pick up on a random radio station. A lot of obscure samples came from only having one vinyl record pressed up, maybe one single. The songs that never really, really blew up…sometimes have some of the most amazing melodies and backgrounds and riffs.
I have family in West Alabama, right on the border and anytime I’m there, we go the Bonita Lakes Mall in Meridian. I’m familiar with the area and years ago when someone told me that a cat from Meridian was spitting rhymes, I had to check it out.
Most people have to ride through Meridian to get to Jackson or Biloxi, so they probably have rode through Meridian and didn’t even know it.
What was life like in Meridian coming up?
It was very humbling. I had the opportunity to be raised by a lot of elders. It was the “It takes a village to raise a child” mentality. Both of my parents were very active in my life, even though they weren’t together. They always wanted me to follow my dreams. My grandmother was very passionate about me following my dreams and doing what I wanted to do. Ultimately, she was scared about me venturing into the music industry just because of stories she had heard growing up, but she played a big part in how I am as an individual and a man. She was born in 1923 and she instilled a lot of morals in me that carried over into how I am now. Not only as a musician, but as a human being. I think people can hear that in my music and in the music I actually like to sample. Meridian is one of those places that reminds you how the small and simple things in life can be enough. To me, the days go by slower than in some major cities and I had the opportunity to kinda enjoy my childhood in a certain way. There was a lot of time to sit back and reflect on what you wanted and how you planned on getting it and I’m blessed to have been in a situation to actually have that kind of upbringing.