Big K.R.I.T. might just crowd-surf at House of Blues on Saturday. “People be in their Sunday best sometimes, and I don’t be wanting to do it to ’em, but I might have to,” the Mississippi rapper and producer warns during a phone interview with the Weekly.
The “1999” rapper (born Justin Lewis Scott) will have lots to celebrate when he stops here on his From the South With Love tour. His fourth studio LP, July’s K.R.I.T. Iz Here—a sequel to 2010’s breakout mixtape K.R.I.T. Wuz Here—has been one of year’s most celebrated hip-hop releases. It boasts some of his biggest collaborations to date, including the club-ready, Lil Wayne and Saweetie-assisted “Addiction” and searing J. Cole collaboration “Prove It.” The LP is the second release on K.R.I.T.’s own label, Multi Alumni. And to top it off, this will be his first concert in Las Vegas.
Regarded as one of the best in the game (he was one of the MCs targeted by Kendrick Lamar on his infamous “Control” verse), yet never given his just due, Big K.R.I.T. asserted his dominance in the rap wrestling ring on K.R.I.T. Iz Here. It’s full of blistering bravado. “I took a shot no one could block,” he raps on “K.R.I.T. Here.” On “Make It Easy,” he states plainly that, “You on radio … they came to see me/’Cause I did it without a hit.”
“I know that I’m confident in the music I make, how I make it, and what I’m talking about. And my songs and my catalog speaks for itself,” he says while rehearsing in Atlanta. “Now, more than ever, I can say K.R.I.T. is here.”
The record marks a slight departure in sound. Big K.R.I.T. is known for producing the majority of his albums on his own, filling his audible canvas with a soulful, Southern-fried backdrop. This time around, Krizzle didn’t even tweak a snare. It made him come out of his comfort zone, something he’s been trying to do more since leaving Def Jam in 2016. Since liberating himself, he has done everything on his own terms. In 2017, he dropped 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time, a 22-track double album that showcased his duality—a “Big K.R.I.T.” disc for his crunk, turn-up anthems and a “Justin Scott” disc for his introspective cuts. It’s something he’s been wanting to do for a long time but couldn’t on a major label, he says. The success of 4eva positioned him for where he is today.
“I learned that I can do whatever I want to do on a creative business level now,” he says. “I didn’t have to play the album for a boardroom of people that didn’t get it.”
As much as 2019 has been a victory lap for K.R.I.T., it’s also a reminder that there is no finish line. “To be in a position where people still want to come out to the shows [and] still want to hear what I got to say, that’s a blessing. That’s a sign that I’m still supposed to be here, that I still have to go hard,” he says. “I keep saying it’s just the beginning. Everybody else is like, ‘You know you was here for a while,’ but man, I got a lot more grind in me.”
BIG K.R.I.T. with Rapsody, Domani Harris. October 5, 7 p.m., $25. House of Blues, 702-632-7600.