B.B. King was one of the most responsible people for bringing the blues to commercial masses and one of the most notable figures from the genre.

Big K.R.I.T., who collaborated with King for 2012’s “Praying Man,” a song from the Mississippi native’s debut album, Live From The Underground, recently spoke with Complex about working with the blues singer and reflected on his career. K.R.I.T. says B.B. King had a profound affect on his relationship with his grandmother and described when they created their collaborative track three years ago.

“When I did [‘Praying Man’ ], I mean, it was after my grandmother has passed that I actually had the opportunity to work with him,” he remembered. “I expressed to him that she was the person that put me on his music. You know, it’s really me just paying homage to her for me to work with him because she loved his music so much. It wasn’t from a shock value perspective at all or anything like that. I just wanted to do something where I knew I could tie generations—something that I grew up listening to and bring it into now. And not let it be such a hip-hop record, but somehow make it soulful and make it bluesy—something that he would do on his own but with my twist. And it’d be a song that had content, subject matter.”



Big K.R.I.T. also remembered his legacy, says he lost a “friend through music,” and wants to make sure that he himself continues King’s legacy through his own music and message.

“I would like to say that I lost a friend through music. He definitely inspired generations of people. The kind of music he created is gonna live on regardless of the fact [he died on Thursday]. I’ma keep championing it. I’ma keep telling people about it. Lord willing, I’ma keep sampling it and putting the youth on to it. For those who don’t know. It would be a shame if people really missed out on the kind of catalog that he had. The kind of passion he had in his music and what he said in his music a lot of times. And just the kind of role model that he was to the people in general. I would like to say that I definitely thought that I was a friend.”

B.B. King passed away Thursday (May 14) night at the age of 89. He died in Las Vegas under home hospice care, an arrangement that reportedly began two weeks ago. Doctors say he died from suffering a series of strokes.