The Mississippi rapper has decided to part ways with the label that signed him back in 2010.
Big K.R.I.T. released twelve freestyles this past Tuesday as part of his surprise “12 for 12” series. Following the release of the final track, K.R.I.T. tweeted that he will no longer be signed to Def Jam Records—terminating the nearly six year relationship. Immediately following that announcement, he tweeted that, from this point forward, he is dedicated to working with his own label, Multi Alumni.
K.R.I.T. has not given definitive reasons as to why he decided to leave, but the move had been referenced in his music long before the announcement. In his most recent project, the mixtape It’s Better This Way, he has referenced his displeasure with the label on three different tracks.
Even prior to the 2015 release, he took to social media to voice his opinion on whether or not Def Jam was supporting him as much as they should have. His 2014 album, Cadillactica, premiered at #5 on the Billboard 200 but dropped to #43 in its second week of sales, resulting in 53,000 copies purchased. He felt that the album had been under-shipped by the label and states so on his Twitter account. It appears that K.R.I.T. was not trusted as much with his artistic vision as fellow Def Jam artists, including Kanye West, have been in recent years.
The next move for K.R.I.T. and his career is not very clear. Recent times have not been kind to Def Jam, as executives and artists such as Rick Ross have left the company in 2016 for rival label Epic Records. That could be the case for K.R.I.T. as well, but independence from a major label may be the best move for an artist of his stature. While most artists get comfortable after being signed to a major deal, he never stopped working like he was an independent rapper. The transition from being a Def Jam artist to being the head of his own label should prove to be smooth sailing.
Stream and download Big K.R.I.T.’s new mixtape on Datpiff here.