Big KRIT is no stranger to the hip hop world. Born Justin Lewis Scott, the rapper made his debut in 2005 with his mixtape, See You on Top. Many considered him a promising star: In 2010, the rapper secured a record deal with Def Jam, and a year later he was inducted into XXL’s Freshman Class alongside Kendrick Lamar, Meek Mill and YG. But unlike his fellow classmates, KRIT didn’t break into the mainstream. That is, until now.
For years, the rapper struggled with depression, alcoholism and career uncertainty. And after releasing a handful of mixtapes and albums quietly under Def Jam, the rapper announced his departure from the major record label in 2016. Today, the rapper has bounced back as an independent artist, ready to show the world what he’s truly made of. With the arrival of his fourth studio album, KRIT iz Here, we look back at five of his greatest rap moments.
When it comes to Southern pride, KRIT wears his loud and proud. The rapper, born and raised in Meridian, Mississippi, has got swag like UGK’s Pimp C, a sly sneer like Jeezy and the soul of Goodie Mob. His 2010 song, “Country Sh*t,” is a rambunctious ode to the Dirty South and the region’s best offerings. “Let me tell you ’bout this / Old-school, pourin’ lean / Candied yams and collard greens / Pocket full of stones, riding clean,” KRIT raps.
While the trunk-popper received some recognition upon its release, “Country Sh*t” only started to gain popularity a year later when Ludacris and Bun B hopped on the song’s remix. The trio go hard on the bass-driven production, exchanging Krizzle’s original kicking flows for arrogant verses about the rappers’ influence on the hip hop scene. The remix turned out to be a standard at Mississippi parties, launching KRIT’s career to prominence. It also became the rapper’s first-ever single to land Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip hop Songs chart.
“Rich Dad, Poor Dad”
KRIT never shies away from showing affection to his father, citing the senior Scott often as one of his biggest inspirations in life. On “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” the rapper impressively captures the unbreakable bond between a father and son in three delicate minutes, his sharp storytelling tugging at heartstrings. KRIT turns his father’s words of wisdom into a poetic and engrossing tale about a young man’s journey in search of courage, faith and hope. Featuring a beautifully sparse melody punctuated by haunting violins, the track from his 2012 studio debut, Live from the Underground, is a stunning showcase of KRIT’s abilities as a songwriter and producer.
Kendrick Lamar held nothing back when he dropped that bomb of a guest verse on Big Sean’s “Control” in 2013, calling out his counterparts in one aggressive sweep. Kenny’s hit list included J Cole, Pusha T, Meek Mill, Drake, Wale, Jay Electronica, A$AP Rocky, Mac Miller, Tyler, the Creator, and KRIT.
While others quickly jumped to take a swing back at K Dot, KRIT waited to unleash his fury. And when he finally did the year after, the Southern rapper went for the jugular. “Bravo for your swagger jackin’ / I’m overwhelmed by your dedication / You actually fooled these people into thinkin’ / That your music was innovative,” he sneers. Lamar might have taken his shot, but Krizzle hit the bull’s eye.
“1999” featuring Lloyd
KRIT’s major hit arrived in the form of “1999,” a saucy cut from 2017’s 4eva is a Mighty Long Time, the rapper’s third studio full-length and his first since leaving Def Jam. A collab with R&B smooth-talker Lloyd, the song is a playful tribute to Juvenile’s classic hit, “Back that Azz Up,” featuring Lil Wayne and Mannie Fresh.
Over a bouncy, throwback trap beat courtesy of Fresh himself, KRIT spits raunchy lines while Lloyd handles its ridiculously infectious hook. In a song breakdown with NPR, the rapper explained that he’d wanted to create a dance track that felt nostalgic but still fresh: “The drums and the vibe of [the song] was me still being able to create something that could be played in the strip club, but not intentionally. It’s just something to make people dance and feel good.”
“KRIT here, sound like this my, my year,” the rapper announces at the top of the track, declaring his big plans for 2019. After more than a decade into his rap career and years of fighting Def Jam for creative control, KRIT confirms he’s finally a free man allowed to make the music he loves—and he wants to savor this liberation.
“KRIT Here,” an energetic celebratory anthem built around ascending horns and a joyful gospel sample, oozes confidence. KRIT is in fine form as he boasts about the new chapter in his life. The rapper delivers his rhymes with snark, biting back at naysayers trying to bring him down. “I took the ball back to my court, I know they wanting it back, back / Give me the fit of defeat, if you ain’t rootin’ for me / Look how I win with the team, some of y’all hated to see it,” KRIT smirks. Long live the king of the South.
Stream KRITZ iz Here here.