Big K.R.I.T. is going places. Meridian, Mississippi’s hometown hero (Oct. 2 is literally “Big K.R.I.T. Day” in the city) has gone from a struggling artist with no recognition in the game, to a 2011 XXL freshman, to — a few years later with numerous projects to his name — an established artist, from the south and proud of it, hydroplaning in his own lane.

Big K.R.I.T.

Sunday, October 12
Blind Pig

But where did this all come from — his thoughts, his passions, his pursuits, his pain? It turns out that Young Krizzle’s discography is more strategic than one might think; K.R.I.T. has been telling his story backwards. For example, remember the Cadillac that mysteriously crash-landed on Earth on the cover of his debut album, Live From the Underground? With this upcoming album, he delves into the depths of his mind and brings us to the beginning of it all, letting us know where everything, including the Eldorado on LFTU, came from — a planet he likes to call Cadillactica.

“A Cadillac has always been known as classy, smooth, clean, you know what I’m saying? You don’t really have to do too much to it — that whole vibe,” said K.R.I.T. in an interview with The Michigan Daily, “I just wanted to have that kind of vibe with my music. It turned into more than that, I ended up creating a planet … and if I had to name a planet, on some fly shit, why not Cadillactica?”

Cadillactica is special to Krizzle; it’s the embodiment of his subconscious. Within his subconscious, the musings of this Meridian mastermind have matured. He’s pondering the purpose of life, making sure he’s on track to accomplish all that he is supposed to. When asked about what’s different this time around, K.R.I.T. immediately responded with, “growth … the confidence in my music now.”

The album’s second single, “Pay Attention,” features a different kind of grown-and-sexy sound that exemplifies his growth. But K.R.I.T. reworked his approach completely, not just in terms of singles.

The vast majority of K.R.I.T.’s projects are not only self-written, but also self-composed. He prides himself on his production, hook creation, the ability to make music that is all K.R.I.T. from start to finish. With Cadillactica, Krizzle is relinquishing some of that creative control. “Pay Attention,” for example, is the work of Jim Jonsin. While this may initially seem like a step backwards, for K.R.I.T., it’s a sign of progression.

“Sometimes you can get so used to one environment that nothing inspires you in that environment,” explains K.R.I.T., who is used to producing alone in his home. “But I started traveling…shaking up my comfort zone…working with other people and musicians.” On top of that, Cadillactica will only feature three samples, a record low for K.R.I.T., but this too is a sign of progression.

“When you sample, you’re almost at the whim of the person you sample. They put their all into this song and you can only do so much to it. When you hum something out or give somebody the idea … now you’re doing it in your own catalog,” he explained.

“Instead of using a sample, I can create music that people would wanna sample … that you can’t tell if it’s a sample or not … The next step is creating music where you can’t really put me into a box or genre … (this will) open me up to work with so many different artists.”

The change in his approach to composition is clear in his explanations and will surely be evident on Cadillactica, but there are some things that haven’t changed with the “third-coast-representer.” He’s still the same raw cat willing and able to make meaningful music like Return of 4Eva’s “The Vent,” which he revealed he wrote after his grandma passed away.

“Music is my therapy too. I understand what it means to a person when you put on a song … after a long day … that helps uplift you,” said Krizzle. “I don’t mind putting my real life out there. I’m being myself, not a superhero.”

It has been a long haul for K.R.I.T, who started rapping in ’99, but wasn’t signed until 2010.

Maintaining a motivated mentality has been vital for K.R.I.T, who is now at a place where he knows exactly what he wants to do. But most of us, especially college students, aren’t there yet. K.R.I.T. offered some advice to those hoping to reach that mentality, one that seems to be guaranteeing that Cadillactica will only further solidify his spot in the game and set the bar even higher, as high as Mt. Olympus.

“You definitely wanna say a prayer,” K.R.I.T. began. “When you’re trying to achieve something, there’s always gonna be a sign that keeps pointing you in that direction. Be silent and quiet, but look at your surroundings and try to go that direction.” He warned, though, that “it’s not gonna be overnight, especially if it’s worth it.”

“The reason it takes so long is because you wanna make sure you’re 100 percent comfortable in your skin when you do go follow your dreams… When you do get the opportunity, you need that confidence,” said K.R.I.T.

“Once school is over and there’s no more excuses at all, you’re gonna need all that strength. It’s ultimately what’s gonna push you through life when your parents are no longer there for you, when your friends move away and when you’re in a different city you’ve never been in before.”

K.R.I.T. told us in 2010 that soon, we would see him on top. This Sunday, Oct. 12, you can see him yourself at The Blind Pig. He’ll be performing a mix of old and new content, premiering pieces of Cadillactica right here on planet Earth in Ann Arbor. Cadillactica, the album, will be released this fall, on Nov. 11.

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