“Yes, I know what trill is…” – An eleven year old me to an unsuspecting music teacher
Before touching the works of Coleman, Parker, and Adderley, I studied under the Southern bards, Butler and Freeman. These were the Underground Kingz and their telling of Texas folklore shaped my fertile mind into what it is today. So when you say “trill,” do not expect me to expound upon the technical significance of a hurried repetition between two-note sequences. Because that, like my bewildered music teacher, is simply not trill.
Where I’m from, we dream in Technicolor candy paints—our Midwestern proclivities deeply rooted in the Southern aesthetic. The sounds we call favorite rattle our metal frames right down to the hundred spokes. And it’s not just the lean-injected allure of Houston’s sonic drawl. Southern bodies come alive through the bass-heavy rhythms of Uncle Luke, only to find themselves transported to an entirely different realm thanks to a vehicle fueled by eccentricity and piloted by a couple of ATLiens. This is a culture made up of everything and therefore nothing at all.
Jambalaya. It just is.
Through it all, we have Big K.R.I.T. His approach is a holistic one—naturally birthed from a tradition of many ideas, generating a unique portrait of life below the Mason-Dixon. With 4eveNaDay, we get more of that cornbread-fed dopeness that has made him a constant in a typically fly-by-night field. Following this paradigm, I would like to shed a light on just a few of the many sides of Mississippi’s own, Justin Scott.
“Me and My Old School” is that sunny day in Port Arthur, Texas where the cars creep by with an inefficiency only matched by the downtempo rhythms pouring through the speakers. You take your time so that every single person in sight can breathe in details of your immaculate presentation. For us, we hang on to the pristine gleam of K.R.I.T’s effortless flow, leaving behind a product that is simply too cold for words.
On the other end of the spectrum is “1986.” Right here, we get that classic Southern bounce and unparalleled braggadocio. This is what the backpackers were talking about
when they claimed that the South had killed hip-hop. And that’s fine. But, while they’re enjoying “real hip-hop,” I’d suggest taking off your cool and rocking to the rhythms of something that knocks in the trunk proper. This is feel good music—nothing more, nothing less.
But, that’s the South, I suppose. For every “Porno Movie,” there was an “I Seen A Man Die.” The dichotomous relationship between the raunchy and the reflective is where I situation the project’s centerpiece, “Boobie Miles.” It’s K.R.I.T.’s “Git Up, Git Out.” It’s the record that demands you take not only him, but the entire region seriously.
“Well I guess it’s the allure like when you need to score
One second on the clock and the shot’s all yours
Hit or miss, we take the risk
Cuz anything is better than viennas and warm grits”
Through the materialistic bravado and grandiose lifestyle exists something real. I rarely find space in the crowded room of delusion that has become hip-hop. But somewhere in the reality of it all, just like its namesake, “Boobie Miles” exists. It's a requiem for the everyday champions. No limelight. No shine. This is a celebration of the day to day struggle—a common man's theme.
I think Big K.R.I.T. is the reason that I’ll never apologize for my love of Three 6 Mafia. I’ll even try and justify my odd affinity for the entire No Limit Army (…all the way down to Mia X). For every story of riding clean, there lies an equally poignant story of the gritty reality that permeates the South. K.R.I.T. follows a lineage that celebrates both the good and the bad and does so with an eclectic series of sounds and an indomitable flow. But even as I lace my narrative with a Southern thread, the moral of this story is that it goes much further than any particular region. K.R.I.T. is much bigger than where he's from, but he is who he is because of it. Regardless of anything else, this is our music. We can all relate. Embrace it.
Written By: @paulpennington