By: Tommy “T-Rod” Rodriguez
There’s something rather beautiful about someone so small becoming so large.
Justin Scott, aka Big K.R.I.T, is a Mississippi rapper that epitomizes this very notion: someone from the country that can move bodies, strengthen minds, and motivate minds. When every mainstream trapper seems to flex materialism and preposterous success, K.R.I.T finds a way to make success seem feasible and within arm’s reach. He is the hometown hero archetype: he came from humble beginnings, finding success to be just as humbling. He is as motivational as a passionate pastor: even if I’m not from the designated “South” of the US, his music strikes a chord with me.
In short? K.R.I.T inspires. He inspires us to chase our dreams, no matter how far away they are. He inspires us to be confident, even if our confidence is found only in the mirror. When that confidence takes us across the finish line, he inspires us to remember our roots when we finally make it.
2020 has been a horrifying year, but one of the few solaces I’ve found has been in K.R.I.T’s re-release of his 2010 mixtape, K.R.I.T Wuz Here. The context of this tape for K.R.I.T’s career is essential in carrying his message: the record used to be a free project, available for download online. In the blog era of hip-hop (primetime for artists like K.R.I.T and contemporaries like J. Cole), this free release was commonplace. What made things different was how professional it sounded. To this day, K.R.I.T Wuz Here bodies most hip-hop projects released today and years ago.
This soulful, trunk-knocking, inspirational mixtape all came from a 23-year-old working quietly on his own to write his own verses and compose his own beats. He exemplifies the idea of a homemade genius, working from his own desk to provide something truly glorious. It motivates me, and it sure as hell can motivate you in the most dark or annoying times. Listen to the murky turntables and bright tones of “Return of 4eva”; they embody the positivity and charismatic presence K.R.I.T presents. The presence of a humble figure ready to take the throne. As you wake up and dread the day, this song can show you that even the smallest person can move mountains if they will it.
What makes K.R.I.T Wuz Here so powerful in 2020 is its passion. In the constant flood of online mixtapes and albums, the album doesn’t follow trends: it is decidedly optimistic, embracing the trials of the past, the tasks of the present, and the rewards of the future. “Viktorious” is dramatic in how it presents victory: no one has seen your success yet, you must see it within yourself. “Children of the World” shows that your road to success requires sacrifice: you may stumble and fall, but we’re all learning. In this game of life, we’re just children, but we learn from our mistakes as we get older. K.R.I.T’s success even seems to have a sense of childlike innocence; he just wants to drive in the candy paint his musical idols drove around in while feeding his family.
One of the most relatable elements of K.R.I.T’s music is its roots in athletics. In this mixtapes original 2010 release, K.R.I.T makes reference to high school football legend Boobie Miles on “Hometown Hero”. On the 2020 re-release, this same sentiment can be found on “No Wheaties,” a brilliant song that draws comparison between success and a cereal notorious for its celebration of the world’s best athletes. K.R.I.T makes motivation relatable with his own passions: as he waxes poetic on sports, anyone can relate to wanting to be THAT athlete, the one on a Wheaties box that conquered every obstacle they faced.
Despite all of the inner talent K.R.I.T celebrates as an artist, he never forgets his upbringing: “Gumpshun” revolves around K.R.I.T’s grandmother recognizing his gutsiness. His ability to succeed and persevere is recognizable even when he was a young child. Listening to music like this is beautiful because it takes simple moments of familial love and uses them as important anchors for success. We’ve all felt the desire to pay it forward to our family and friends; K.R.I.T bottles this very motivation in almost every line he writes. He never tries to hide his heritage either: he speaks through a regal Southern accent that sets fire to the competition on “Talk to Them”.
Justin Scott represents something that I think we can all find motivation in: the hometown hero. K.R.I.T consistently laces his lyrics with an honest description of his childhood, a time where he was surrounded by a loving family in a tough environment. As “Get Over” continues, he reminds us of the harsh racial and economic conditions he has lived in, but vows to change it all. He is a one-man army that is ready to sacrifice everything to see his team across the finish line. He brings his success home, to shape the world in his own ideal vision.
Who else wouldn’t want to do the same?
Big K.R.I.T is more than just a talented Southern rapper. He is the embodiment of what determination can do for someone. We are all tiny in the grand scheme of things, but we have the ability to shape our own destiny and provide for ourselves and our families. K.R.I.T motivates me to get out of bed in the morning, and to do more. Do more work on my craft, my relationships, on my future. With hard-hitting beats, lyricism that anyone can relate to, a voice that can move Cadillac suspensions to the floor, and a message that can induce crowds to tears, K.R.I.T is a Southern giant that we all aspire to be like.
Thank you, Mr. Scott, for inspiring us to push for that potential we carry within ourselves.
Stream K.R.I.T Wuz Here below!
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