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In 2012, I would’ve rattled off Big K.R.I.T without hesitation had I been asked not only who my favorite rappers were at the time, but who would lead the new wave and resurrect lyricism, right along with J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar.


I know I’m not the only one. DJ Khaled obviously saw it, for god’s sake he put Kendrick, Cole, and K.R.I.T. on “They Ready” together on Kiss the Ring.


K.R.I.T. has done it all right. A career born out of mixtapes with the depth of albums, from the See Me on Top series to K.R.I.T wuz here and 4eva N a Day, to name a few of the thirteen tapes the southern rapper has released from 2005 to now. K.R.I.T dominated the archives of Datpiff and other mixtape streaming sites, dare I say as well as Wayne and 50.


After an XXL cover in 2011 and his debut studio album, Live From the Underground, K.R.I.T. was thrust into the national spotlight, deservedly so, after a six year grind, consisting of nothing less than quality work everywhere you looked.


People forget just how awe-inspiring K.R.I.T. was when he first came on. He had, and still does, have it all. The versatility to drop tracks ranging from bangers like “I got this,” “Yeah dats me”, to club anthems like “Money on the Floor,” all the way to real life music like the 93 til infinity sample on “Somedayz,” and “Rich Dad, Poor Dad.” The man’s versatility doesn’t stop there. What rapper today can get B.B. King on a song and actively rap through the perspective of a slave, all while making a lyrical and socially conscious track other than Big K.R.I.T? Nobody.


K.R.I.T.’s depth as an artist is immeasurable and honestly I could go on forever. The Mississippi rapper’s genre is most distinctly described as real life music because he does what an artist is supposed to do in being able to produce music that fits anyone’s reality at a given moment. K.R.I.T showcases this through his ability to stream the ambition and hunger he has into the listeners ear (See “Dreamin,” “Boobie Miles”). K.R.I.T. lays himself down on every verse in a style similar to the way J. Cole does.


The Cadillactica rapper produces timeless music through the reality he offers. The constant mention of religion without throwing it at the listener, as well as the content constantly reminiscing on his past and looking toward his future, all combined with the ability to take over a slow blues track or a synthetic beat results in one of the most complete rappers of his generation.


We’ve seen K.R.I.T’s wrath in combining that hunger with his lyricism, flow and pure emotion on tracks like “Mt. Olympus,” which was without question the only response to Kendrick’s “Control” verse that even held a torch. Whether it’s been on response or on the same track whether that be on “They Ready” or A$AP’s “1train,” K.R.I.T has proven he can spit with anybody.


The “Country Shit” rapper has also paid his tribute to the roots of Southern rap in featuring artists like Ludacris, T.I., and David Banner to compliment his own modernized brand of traditional southern rap. K.R.I.T not only revived the style made popular by UGK and OutKast, but he evolved it and gave the genre new life through blessing it with lyricism that hasn’t been seen within the subgenre in years.


For some reason beyond me, K.R.I.T has fallen out of conversation with his fellow “They Ready” rappers, Cole and Kendrick, as they’ve risen to conversation as the greatests.


K.R.I.T’s last album 4eva is a Mighty Long Time, was a great album all the way through, continuing the versatility and relevance in content, both socially and personally, but it fell off after the first week.


King Remembered in Time still deserves to be in the same conversations as these two. I have absolutely no idea why K.R.I.T. went from an emerging savior to a rapper on the skirmishes of the genre. Even though it was a tape(4eva Na Day), K.R.I.T has a classic in his arsenal as well. He hasn’t stopped producing music, his content has grown significantly and so has his ability. The only semi-viable reasons I can see is that the growth of others he was grouped with early on in his career, has left no room for K.R.I.T, as Cole and Kendrick became as big as they are. Southern rap has always been a subgenre that has been seemingly harder to break through, with names like Banner really only ever appealing to their niche, but even though K.R.I.T is a proud southern artist, he has all the tools the greats have.


K.R.I.T has always said things along the line of ‘They don’t want to hear that real shit anymore,’ and his continued grind has proven that he couldn’t care less about popular opinion, but one has to wonder if his constant reminder that his authentic style has less appeal has became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Written by Thomas Herron