Celebrity

Big K.R.I.T. talks hip-hop jewellery and his new album

Big K.R.I.T.'s jewellery is extensive. Here's the Mississippi rapper discusses his phenomenal yellow gold jewellery collection and how it all started and his upcoming album, This Is How I Got Here. Plus, why he didn't rush to buy gold jewels after his early success but instead wore inexpensive jewellery

Words by Will Lavin, Photography by Jorge Sigala

Big K.R.I.T.‘s jewellery couldn’t stop shining if he tried. Adorned in gold, the rapper born Justin Scott beams from ear to ear as he greets Something About Rocks at The Gathering Spot, a private members’ club in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia.

“I’ve come a long way,” he says, acknowledging his journey from underground Mississippi rhymer to one of hip hop’s most respected lyricists and producers, having worked with rap heavyweights such as Lil Wayne, J. Cole, Wiz Khalifa, Ludacris and many others. But it’s not just his musical career that’s evolved, Big K.R.I.T.’s jewellery game has geared up too. 

Coming up during the blog era of rap in the mid-2000s, K.R.I.T. (an acronym for King Remembered In Time), whose mixtapes K.R.I.T. Wuz HereReturn of 4Eva and 4eva N a Day put him on the map, wasn’t as flashy as some of his contemporaries during the early stages of his rise to fame. Instead of gold and platinum chains and iced-out timepieces — which in hip hop symbolises a change in status that often comes alongside a rags to riches tale — he opted for a more modest approach, donning black wooden medallions on beaded chains with matching bracelets.

Big K.R.I.T. wears Charriol glasses, Callye Peyrovi yellow gold custom jewellery and a Rolex Presidential

Even after signing to legendary rap label Def Jam — on which he released his first two albums — K.R.I.T. didn’t rush to the jewellers like many rappers do the second they get their first big cheque. “I needed to start as the humble king that I am,” he explains. Now, however, years later, as an independent artist putting out music through his own imprint, Multi Alumni, which he launched in 2017, he believes he’s finally earned his time to shine. Whether it’s his matching custom gold chain and pinky ring both sporting the name of his record label or his impressive eyewear collection, K.R.I.T. is definitely enjoying the fruits of his labour.

On the heels of a new EP, and as he prepares to release his next album — the first since 2022’s acclaimed Digital Roses Don’t Die — Big K.R.I.T. gets candid about his jewellery journey, recalls his late grandmother’s grills and explains what fans can expect from his forthcoming LP.

Why do you think jewellery is so important in the world of hip hop?

Clearly there’s the royalty aspect, right? The idea of being able to not only shine inwardly but shine outwardly when you step into a room, there’s confidence you can get from it. There’s a level of it that would be considered conspicuous consumption but when you come from where you don’t have much and you don’t really know how to convey a certain level of creativity, or success or excitement about what you do, I do believe that jewellery has become a way to do that. It’s a symbol of success.

Big K.R.I.T. wears 9Five sunglasses, Callye Peyrovi yellow gold custom jewellery and a Rolex Presidential

What is your earliest jewellery memory?

My grandmother’s chain, she had a small crucifix. She also had an open face gold grill.

Your grandmother had a grill?

Yeah. My grandmama was really shining! The open face was hard. It was an actual denture situation for her, but to me, I was like, ‘Shiiiiiiiit. Show me your grill’.

What was the first piece of jewellery you ever owned yourself?

[Laughs] That’s funny! When I was 13 I bought a middle of the mall Geneva watch that I got at Bonita Lakes Mall in Meridian, Mississippi, and you couldn’t tell me shit. It had a green face, it was quote-unquote platinum, and there were fake diamonds all over it — all the diamonds you could ever want. I also had a No Limit [Records tank] charm which would definitely turn your skin green

The No Limit tank is such an iconic emblem. What are some other hip hop-related jewellery memories you have from your youth?

I gotta go with Slick Rick. Oh my God! I remember the gold ropes and stu¢ like that; it was just crazy. Then there’s the chain and charm that 2Pac had — the gun [pendant] stands out a lot, I remember that. Even the Death Row [Records] charm and chain, that was a big deal. If you could get one of those, wow.

Big K.R.I.T. wears Chrome Hearts sunglasses and Callye Peyrovi yellow gold custom jewellery

You started out wearing wooden pieces at the beginning of your career. Why was that?

It was very important that I didn’t spend the money necessary for me to get my album taken care of — like clearing samples etc. — or that I needed to take care of my family, just so I could sustain my lifestyle. I said on a song in 2001 that I wouldn’t get a grill unless Paul Wall made it, and I was actually able to accomplish that as I kept going in my career. By the time I came to have a ‘Multi’ chain, the VVS’ and stu¢ like that, it’s because I’d earned it. But I needed to start as the humble king that I am, you had to see the progression. I didn’t want people to think that this happened overnight.

Are there any particular pieces you splurge on more than others?

It’s mostly just gold for me. I actually just started adding the extra shine to my jewellery. But most of it has a meaning to it. Like this [chain pendant] has ‘Multi Til The Sun Die’ on the back, and my ‘Multi’ pinky ring.

Big KRIT jewellery
Big K.R.I.T. wears Callye Peyrovi yellow gold custom jewellery

You have a lot of glasses, too, though, right?

I do have a collection of glasses. Cartier used to be my thing, and a lot of that was because of [late UGK rap legend] Pimp C. But I had to get to the point where I realised that my head wasn’t really shaped for those. Once I got a beard it didn’t really look right. But now it’s just something comfortable. I’ve got a couple Tom Fords, I got some Cazals and shit like that.

They’re all gold?

Yeah, pretty much. It’s hard to deviate from it.

Big K.R.I.T. wears 9Five sunglasses, Callye Peyrovi yellow gold custom jewellery and a Rolex Presidential

How has your relationship with jewellery changed over the years?

I think a large part for me is the understanding of leaving something that doesn’t depreciate in value for my children, understanding that it is to showcase my personality, not so much about what the industry does. It has creative expression. Certain jewellery has properties that are calm, and learning more about that is also dope. But if I’m not wearing it, it doesn’t make me less of a person, doesn’t make me less of an artist either, and I’m one of those people where even before I had that people listened to my music.

Speaking of your music, you recently released a new EP, Regardless It’s Still Timeless, which comes as you prepare to drop your next album. What can fans expect from the forthcoming project?

It’s definitely gonna have that grit, that ener§, and a lot of the vulnerability and transparency that’s gotten me this far in my career. There’s a lot of things that I feel like I didn’t do quite right and I’m gonna have the opportunity to speak about it on this particular project, but it’s just a small piece of the puzzle.

Does it have a title?

The name of that particular project is called This Is How I Got Here. It’ll probably arrive two months from now — definitely this year. The goal is to drop two to three projects this year.

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