On Monday, March 5, Big K.R.I.T. made an appearance on NPR’s Tiny Desk series, where he performed three songs for his set. Over the course of the show, K.R.I.T. paid homage to his late grandmother, talking about her importance in his music career and giving the audience a glimpse into his relationship with her.
K.R.I.T. got to stirring emotions from the jump, opening his set with his song “Mixed Messages”, which deals with themes such as depression, infidelity, and spirituality, among others. K.R.I.T. uses the end of his first song as a springboard to touch on his struggles with depression. To introduce his next song, K.R.I.T. pivots to talking about how his grandmother was responsible for exposing him not only to gospel and blues, but to church life as well. He attributes the second song in his set, “Keep the Devil Out”, to his grandmother’s influence on him.
After hitting a soulful vibe on his second track, K.R.I.T. goes right back to talking about his grandmother. “I have to feel like my grandmother was my first mix engineer,” K.R.I.T. says at one point. He explains that his late grandma used to record him performing songs and poems when he was younger, and pulls out an old cassette player shortly after. The cassette player holds a recording made by his grandmother of K.R.I.T. and his brother singing when they were younger, which he plays for the audience. As he listens to his younger self and brother perform Donell Jones’ “Where I Wanna Be”, K.R.I.T. wears a nostalgic grin, but wears a slightly more somber expression when his grandmother’s voice comes through at the end.
K.R.I.T. gives a short introduction to his last song, “Bury Me In Gold”, and then dives into it. A couple bars in, K.R.I.T. trails off the beat and apologizes lightheartedly. “I’m super emotional… I apologize,” he says. He restarts the track and doesn’t miss a beat until it’s done, ending his performance on the same soulful note he started it on.
Big K.R.I.T.’s grandmother passed away in 2010, but it seems that her influence in K.R.I.T.’s music is alive and well today. K.R.I.T. kept his cool throughout the performance, but that didn’t stop the gravity of his words and music from making this one of the more serious episode’s of Tiny Desk out there.