Big K.R.I.T. has started building momentum for his sophomore Def Jam album, Cadillactica, later this year, and the songs he's been releasing have shown that he's in no mood to suffer the haters this time around. His debut album, 2012's Live From The Underground, was a solid mix of soul-inflected Southern beats and circular hooks, but he's received criticism for relying too much on the same type of production crutches on his projects. K.R.I.T., the low-key Mississippi MC with bars for days and the respect and love of the underground, was being picked apart for the first time on a mainstream level.

Then came Kendrick Lamar's verse on Big Sean's "Control," where KDot called out all his contemporaries in the rap game, including K.R.I.T., and laid out a challenge for hip-hop supremacy. Suddenly Krizzle was thrust back into the spotlight as one of the rappers Kendrick "murdered" on his verse, and the humble lyricist took it to heart. Fans found that out after one spin of the first single off Cadillactica, "Mt. Olympus," which dropped in April. The song—produced by him—is aimed straight at the critics and people who hit him up following "Control," and re-asserted his claim to the Throne with an unrelenting intensity.

Cadillactica is due out this Fall, and K.R.I.T. mentioned during a recent phone call with XXL that it's close to being completed, saying he's "getting this planet all landscaped and ready so that people can take it a a real tour around these parts." And while he's worked with Southern legends like Bun B and Big Boi in his career, he's also been in the studio working with Lil Boosie as a producer, either for Boosie's upcoming double album or for Cadillactica. "Oh man, it was amazing to be in the studio with the OG, man, and to be able to just be a producer—not even as a rapper or artist—but just to be making the music, and being able to vibe with him and how his work ethic is, knocking song after song after song out," K.R.I.T. said about working with Boosie. "It was amazing just to be able to chop it up with him and hear about everything that he's gone through as far as his grind and putting out music and the underground and proving himself. It was definitely one of those situations where it was one of those milestones."

With Cadillactica on the way, XXL spoke to the 2011 Freshman to get the back story of "Mt. Olympus" and break it down piece by piece to get to the bottom of that new lyrical fire that has replaced K.R.I.T.'s generous demeanor. It's real country shit. —Dan Rys

"Now they wanna hear a country nigga rap

Five albums in, I swear a country nigga snap
Thought they wanted trap, thought they wanted bass
Thought they wanted molly, thought they wanted drank
Fuck them niggas
Now they wanna hear a country nigga rap
Five albums in, I swear a country nigga snap
Thought they wanted gold, thought they wanted shine
Thought they wanted radio, bitch make up your mind"

XXL: "Mt. Olympus" has so much energy, it feels like you're almost angry, or lashing out.
Big K.R.I.T.: I mean, for me, it was more about—as far as the anger aspect—there is a little bit of aggression there, as far as me being always humble and always wanting everybody to win. There was a point where, after the "Control" verse, there was a lot of positivity but also a lot of negativity thrown my way, too. I took all of it, as I do, and I put it into my music. I pride myself on talking about or speaking about topics that relate to me in my life and just things that really speak to me in that moment.

And that "Mt. Olympus" record was me really letting people know, I'm a lyricist, and again, don't sleep on me in this music game. And the aggression also comes from feeling like sometimes I've had to prove myself over and over again. And it got to that point now in my career where I'm like, look at my catalog. Look at my mixtapes that could have been albums. And to produce all this music and write my own music wasn't an easy feat, but it's a part of my story at the same time. But I just wanted to point out little things here and there that may get overlooked, or even me as a musician, like, why I gotta be like that? So "Mt. Olympus" was just the first part of that, because Cadillactica is the next chapter of it all, and I'm excited for people to hear that, too.

Verse One:
"All this attention, I don't even know what I might do with it

That 'Control' beat is like an ugly bitch that everybody done fucked raw
Maybe you hit it
Aw man, I'm more concerned why niggas been textin' my cell, callin' my phone
Ask me about this Kendrick shit, that he ain't even really even diss me on
I ain't drawn to all that propaganda, rap shit 'bout as real as Santa
Now I'm lyrical all of a sudden?
Well last year they claim they ain't understand me
I'm buryin' niggas, and pissin' on they graves
Another nigga, other nigga name on your chain
And they call me a slave?
Niggas scared of that country boy, Lord forbid I catch a body
In the studio tryna calm your soul
Lookin' at your manager, 'I think Krizzle got me'
I put you in the trunk with these subwoofers
Fifth wheel in my shotty
I'm so prolific with these scriptures they might give me a Bible
Page one, come here son
Mind your manners, just be cool
I know you lame when you was in school
The little fame you ain't used to
When it was easy for you to move through
English class, but y'all a thesaurus
Like one of these days I'm gonna be a rapper
But all my verses gonna be borrowed
So I'ma take from all these Southern artists
That mainstream never heard of
Recycle all of they lingo
And make sure I screw my words up
Bravo for your swagger-jackin'
I'm overwhelmed by your dedication
You actually fooled these people into thinkin'
That your music was innovative
Frustrated, rap battlin' never got me out of no public housin'
You tellin' me I can be King of Hip-Hop
And they wouldn't give it to Andre 3000?
Nigga please, this award ain't got shit to do with us
God could physically come down and say "he the greatest
My favorite, y'all should listen, he have potential
To outlive the heatwave I'ma send through this motherfucker
And rebuild for a whole 'nother other culture"
And that wouldn't be enough
So fuck these haters and fuck these hoes
Damn right I still mean that"

XXL: It seems like you're pretty tired of the Kendrick "Control" verse.
Big K.R.I.T.: I mean, what it was, it was like, hip-hop has always been competitive, and it's always been that way. So my mentality with that verse was, alright, we friends, we cool, but at the end of the day, everybody wants to be the best and the greatest at what they do. So not to feel like he's not the King of what he do, but I feel like I'm a King in my own right, too.

So when it comes to these records and it comes to this music, I would hope any and everybody are giving their all on these songs, because I'm gonna get in the studio and I'm gonna do my best to never get murdered on a record. So that's obvious, and that's stated in "Mt. Olympus." So for me it's about putting out the best music possible, proving myself over and over again, because if that's what it takes, that's what I'm gonna do.

Verse Two:
"Hope the hook wasn't too simple

Either way nigga, I wrote it
Yes, I made the beat, yes, I mixed the track
I am far from whack, you a one-trick pony
I don't fall in line, I define what's rhyme
Fuck what you was thinkin', bloggers they can quote it
Lotta rappers buried underneath my house
They know what I'm 'bout, you ain't even know it
Overdosed on hocus-pocus, jibber-jabber
Snap on my stature was fire breathin' dragon
King of every castle, how you signin' rappers?
All these labels must be givin' out a raffle
Wranglin' like cattle, keep a nigga shackled
Leavin' people baffled, tap dance nigga
Misleadin' all of your rap fans, nigga
Might as well just do a lap dance, nigga
Sap ass nigga
Do whatever for some dap ass nigga
I ain't got time to watch out for children, stay out my kitchen
The shit that I'm cookin' ain't meant for your kind
Crackin' and bashin' the shit out your spine
King with a crown, humble and tall
Tyrants never keep quiet, they'd rather be violent
So I'm beheading them all
The lay of the land, I'm settin' fire to buildings and bridges
You ain't sell out a show until you sell out one in Mississippi
What’s good for hip-hop may not be good for my soul
So I keep flexin', wreckin', for the people that respect it
Check it, fuck a 'Control'"

XXL: The one line that always sticks out to me is, "What's good for hip-hop might not be good for my soul." What were you referring to with that line?
Big K.R.I.T.: I mean, because [with] the pressure of what we do, as far as a career, sometimes it can boil over further than just a pen and a pad; it can boil over into your personal life and how you initially go about every day. People become so engulfed in working and trying to drop the next record and make sure you [make an] impact, that you may not be really doing what's best for yourself personally, spiritually.

So for me, just trying to remove myself from some of the negativity, or remind myself of why I made music in the first place, and why I love making music—which is also to help people—that's what that one bar stated. It was like, alright, the competition, the battle rapping, it's a part of hip-hop, and I love it. But at the same time, I gotta take a step back and remember that there's a lot of people that listen to my music just so that they can get from Point A to Point B. Feel better about whatever they're going through in their life, and I gotta remember that when I'm writing these songs. You know what I'm saying?