Introducing XXL Freshman Big K.R.I.T.
Gov’t Name: Justin Scott
Age: 24 Reppin’: Meridian, Mississippi
Notable Releases: Singles: “Hometown Hero,” “Children of the World” and “Moon & Stars,” featuring Devin the Dude, all 2010; Guest Appearance: Wiz Khalifa’s “Glass House,” 2010; Independent Album: K.R.I.T. Wuz Here (Cinematic/Multi Alumni), 2010
Currently Working On: Promoting new independent album ReturnOf4Eva (Cinematic/Multi Alumni); Def Jam debut, due summer 2011
Label: Cinematic Music Group/Multi Alumni/Def Jam Aligned With: Sha Money XL, Curren$y and Smoke DZA
Side Hustle: Producing for himself, Wiz Khalifa, Chamillionaire, Ludacris, Slim Thug and Curren$y; owns his own record company, Multi Alumni, which he founded in 2010
TRUTH: On Being a 2011 XXL Freshman: “It’s amazing to be a part of a group of individuals that definitely made a name for themselves, as far as music is concerned, to be able to put my music on a platform where millions of people can hear it, [and] to be recognized for what I do. Just to be a part of this, even as far as hip-hop is concerned. It’s amazing, and I feel blessed. I want to keep doing what I’m doing, making quality music. I’m trying to make timeless music, and not switching it up. I’ve got a lot of good people around me, great team, and I’m going to stick to what works. The law of averages isn’t important. When you continue trying to do something you work hard for, you’re bound to succeed at it.
[This is] definitely a milestone in my life. To be recognized by a magazine as respected as XXL and to be on the cover, just to kind of lead off into the new year. People just see the hard work and me being myself up to this point, just putting out music that reflected who I am as an individual. Yeah, it's definitely a goal you want to obtain, to be in a position where you're recognized at that level where people are like, ‘Okay, he got next!’ It definitely earns you a spot to prove yourself. At the end of the day to be amongst peers and people that respect the art form and music like I do, it's also great.
It was definitely overwhelming, because—one, with the whole [wearing] make-up thing, it's not really something I'm into. I don't think I need that. [Laughs]. That was a little weird. And, just the whole preparation. Doing the round table, the rappers discussing their thoughts and opinions, the cypher and stuff like that, and then being able to just have fun at the shoot. Normally as an artist I don't really have fun at photo shoots, but I was with my peers, and everybody laughing and kicking it, it was in-tune man. It wasn't Hollywood, [with] everybody being bougie and all of that shit. Everybody was just down to earth and was really excited to be there. Everybody is putting out quality music, so it's a new generation of rappers. I'm excited for what's to come. Just making music that I feel was important.
You deal with the fact—where you need to have a radio single or needing a club single or a club hit or something like that to really make noise, but the game has changed now. Now, financially, being able to put music out, and really using social networks to kind of make a name for myself, I think really just branding who I am as an individual. Letting people know that I'm a human being at the end of the day. I never expected a song like ‘Children of the World’ or ‘Hometown Hero’ to have the type of impact it had, because I had A&Rs and people like that telling me that wasn't the type of record that they play on the radio, or would be played on television. You deal with that three or four years, and to finally in 2009/2010 to drop a song like that and get recognition is amazing. So I feel like I can just be myself. That was the hardest hurdle. Just doing the music that I thought people would love, the music that I love and putting that out to the masses.
The reaction has been crazy! People understand that I'm producing all of my own music and it would make it easier for me to really work with different genres of music. Not just hip-hop, I'm trying to dive into R&B and soul and rock, stuff like that, because I just love music as a whole. And then, just the face card aspect—people can put the name to the face because I didn't put my face on [the cover of my independent album] K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, so a lot of people knew the music, but didn't know what I looked like. This is definitely a platform for people to be like, ‘Oh, that dude!’
Twitter has been blowing up, a lot of my family members are texting me and calling me. Being able to see [the cover image] on the web is crazy in itself! My partner is like, ‘Man you don't understand’—because I'm trying to remain calm, looking at the situation like this needs more work, more grind. But it's hard to keep it on the low and the composure, because it's a national publication and to actually be able to walk into a grocery store and things like that; just seeing hard work pay off, it's a blessing. I know that as far as my parents, they can really be like ‘Alright, this is real’ now. I see it. This is inspirational for real."
FOR MORE ON THE 2011 FRESHMEN COP THE APRIL ISSUE OF XXL, ON SALE MARCH 15.