While the South has been the dominate region in hip-hop for the last several years, one state below the Mason-Dixon Line that hasn’t had much representation is Mississippi. But with up-and-coming Meridian, MS rapper/producer Big K.R.I.T. recently signing to Def Jam Recordings, this might be on the upswing for the overlooked state.

XXLMag.com recently spoke with the Magnolia state's only established rap star David Banner, to find out his thoughts on the aspiring artist. “I’m very proud of K.R.I.T., dude,” Banner said, before news broke of the young talent's Def Jam deal. “I’m very, very, very proud of him. He's been doing his thing for a lot longer than people will ever realize and it’s just good that there’s somebody else to help bring the torch on.”

Banner, known for love and devotions towards his hometown (he has Mississippi prominently tattooed across his back), feels as if K.R.I.T. is area’s perfect mouthpiece. “With me moving more towards the movie medium there has to be somebody to step up and continue the fight of keeping places that don’t normally get the attention, to keep it going,” he said. “Dude can really, really rap and he can really, really produce, so he’s a really good representation of Mississippi.”

As previously reported, K.R.I.T.—who has worked with such artists as Devin the Dude, Curren$y and Wiz Khalifa—has been grinding on the underground circuit for a several years now, releasing a handful of mixtapes. Earlier this month he dropped his latest tape, K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, to rave reviews, showcasing both his lyrical talent and knack for soulful production.

K.R.I.T. Wuz Here is currently available online for free donwload. —Jesse Gissen