Big K.R.I.T talks hat collaboration and music

Big K.R.I.T. wearing the hat he collaborated on with Mitchell & Ness in Philadelphia. (COLIN KERRIGAN /

Mississippi rapper Big K.R.I.T. was recently in Philly last week for the launch of his hat collaboration with Mitchell & Ness. We had a chance to sit down with him and ask him about the hat, his dream musical collaboration and who he looked up to when he was growing up in the South. 

How did this hat collaboration come about? 

It was crazy cause we have been here before and I've always been a fan of Mithchell & Ness from snapbacks. I came through last year to Temple University and did a show with J Cole. Then we had an in-store in one of the stores and I think from there the conversations. They were the first people to pick up on Drinkers Club and what I was trying to brand. They were down to do a collab with me.

So this is the first hat and the first piece, period, of the Drinkers Club. It's just great, man, cause you're talking about legendary Mitchell & Ness. You know what I'm saying? So to be able to have something fresh to come out at the beginning of 2013, it's a great way to start my year off. 

Musically speaking, who's your dream collaboration? If you could work with anyone… 

(laughs) OutKast as a whole. Cee Lo Green. I would love to do a record with Al Green. Bobby Womack. I would love to do a record with Adele. To do a record with M83. A bunch of other people. Coldplay. Death Cab For Cutie. OneRepublic. It's like a game. I'm calling them out cause I'm trying to get them on my next album. 

I'll see what I can do. Along those same lines, you were talking about Coldplay and M83. Aside from hip-hop, what else do you listen to?

I listen to all genres of music. As far as my iPod right now, I've been listening to a lot of Gary Clark Jr.. I've always been into soul music so we're talking about Curtis Mayfield, Willie Hutch, so his music is something I've been listening to a lot on my iPod.

You mentioned OutKast. Growing up in the South, did you look up to those guys? Amd all the other original guys coming up from the South? What did you learn from them? 

Well from OutKast, UGK, 8 Ball & MJG and artists like that, I learned to be myself. Be comfortable being southern and being a countryman. Being proud of it. They were rapping about things that I could go outside and see. It was helpful with me finding what kind of music, when I got older, that I wanted to do and create. It's always been organic. 

Even looking at how the production level of OutKast was, it was still so hip-hop but it had it's own swing to it. Its own vibe to it with the 808 snare. I try to kind of do the same thing with my own music, to add my own flare with vinyl records we're sampling and things like that. 

What's one thing you're looking forward to this year? 

I'm looking forward to going back on tour and having a band. Having a band, having a light show. Being able to do things a little bit different this year as far as my stage, my performance and even my music. This year I'm going to work with other producers as far as my new album, as far as my mixtape. I'm really looking forward being able to learn from all the OGs that I look up to. Cause my last album, it was important for me to produce it all by myself and now that I got that milestone, it's time to grow a little bit more as a human being, a musician, so that's what's going on.