On Big KRIT and Country Rap Sampling
Big K.R.I.T. – K.R.I.T. Wuz Here (Cinematic Music Group, 2010)
For those of you not paying attention to Google Reader, Big K.R.I.T.’s K.R.I.T Wuz Here is one of the things that’s on rap blogs this week. It’s a solid tape, deserving of the attention. The Mississippi native is still finding his voice as a rapper, alternately sounding like either Pimp C or T.I. but it’s important to recognize him as a producer as well. He personally laced the entirety of the project and is something of a beast behind the boards. His sound, like the Justice League and Burn One before him, is modern in construction yet still sample driven. So much so that this note that was tagged on to the press release, and subsequently most of the blogs that specialize in cutting and pasting press releases:
P.S. We dug deep into the crates for the music & movie samples on this one. The first person that can tell us which samples we used, will receive 1k cash & a pan of Shipe’s famous brownies.
This sort of crate fetishism through artist sanctioned sample spotting is something of a first for country rap tunes. While many Southern producers have implemented many samples over the years, crate digging as a ritual was never much of a conversation point. No Diggin In The Crates, no beefs over who used what loop first, no brags of stacks of beats from here to Atlanta. Up north (and in parts West) it was a lifestyle and marketed as such. It seems like with the name Southern producers they just got beats out of their parents collection or wherever they could and called it a day.
This could be a simple matter of demographics. There’s a lot of space in the South and as such there was just less competition, a wider playing field for the record hunt. Paul & Juice never had to bump elbows and Benjamins at the Roosevelt. Pimp C was probably the only person in Port Arthur searching for Eugene McDaniels. So digging remained a necessity, it never evolved into a badge of honor like it was in the greater New York area. But also it seems like the South never put that sort of weight on exclusivity or obscurity. More often than not these guys were just flipping established cultural touchstones – Isleys, Willie Hutch – versus trying to find Archie Whitewater or whatever. Drum breaks were a non-factor as well. The South always had the 808, but there was a time where open drums were a legitimate commodity in the boom bap rap world. Loop digging culture was a direct extension of this Break digging culture and the Country Rap Production All Stars had no such lineage.
Another thing about the South was that the artists in general tried to present a more glamorous lifestyle than their up north/Boom Bap counterparts did in the 90s. Like Krit, most of their prominent beatmakers were also rappers and getting your fingers dusty doesn’t seem to fit with the pimp/hustler/baller/gangster/cappeeler lifestyle that they promoted. Did Pimp C have to get a manicure after spending an afternoon at the Goodwill? If he did he certainly wasn’t publicizing it.
So why then do we now see Krit making DIGGING a focal point in the promotion of an albumixtape that is otherwise so closely tied to Classical Country Rap Values? Blurred nostalgia, perhaps? Whatever the case, Krit has beats, knows how to use them and you can win brownies if you identify them. So get to it.