This week, Meridian, Mississippi emcee Big K.R.I.T. released his latest mixtape in Returnof4eva . The DXnext alum is following up 2010’s  K.R.I.T. Wuz Here , which won HipHopDX’s “Mixtape of the Year” last December. Speaking with us on Friday, K.R.I.T. was asked about transitioning from acclaimed free mixtapes dating back to 2005 to his Def Jam Records debut.

Returnof4eva is free. It’s not the Def Jam, major label album. Like, K.R.I.T. Wuz Here [which] dropped last year. I’d be pushin’ it to ask fans to buy an album if I dropped it now. I felt like I needed to show people a little bit more [to convince them] that my music wasn’t a fluke – that I could put together another solid project, produce all of it with more content, different subject matter and still be true to myself with the soulfulness of it.” For the Cinematic Music Group artist, talking about his studio debut is premature. “[Returnof4eva is] free. And then, the next album, we’ll see.”

Earlier this month, K.R.I.T. appeared on the CunninlynguistsOneirology album, which followed up an appearance on last year’s Tha Thug Show from Houston, Texas star rapper Slim Thug. Still in a mixtape lane himself, K.R.I.T. was asked about the significance of doing album work, even if in a feature role. “It’s crazy. [Laughs] We play the mixtape game so much, man. The process that people go through to put an album out, to press it up, the credits, puttin’ it in stores is a very intense and long process. It’s not an easy as people think. For an artist to reach out to me for a record that they have all intentions of puttin’ it out as a [retail] album [is major[. People remember mixtapes, but the albums [are what goes in an artist’s] discography.”

In the case of Slim Thug in particular, Big K.R.I.T. was surprised to collaborate several times with an artist whom he grew up admiring. “Especially an artist who I’ve been lookin’ up to and jammin’ for so long, like Slim Thug, since him and E.S.G. had a group, and they was doin’ Screw music. The days of [Swishahouse and DJ Michael “5000” Watts’] The Day Hell Broke Loose and other mixtapes [influenced me greatly]. It’s crazy.” “It’s one of those things where I’m like, ‘I’m finna go to Best Buy right now,’ [to buy the albums].”

RELATED:  Returnof4eva by Big K.R.I.T.

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