For some unexplainable reason, Big K.R.I.T. has lately been championed by portions of the internet that don't normally pay attention to rap. He's certainly approachable, seemingly content to exist as a rapper that's primarily popular on the internet, that's known for being reverent to the history of southern rap in the same style that a lot of younger dudes are reverent to New York's early-'90s golden period (though hopefully we won't see K.R.I.T. attempting to cover Soul Food in its entirety anytime soon), but he's not pushing the genre forward or anything. Yelawolf, on the other hand, is a distinctly futurist rapper in the same vein as Outkast. Not because he's breaking new ground, but because he's proving to be wildly experimental and unpredictable within his lane. Even on more traditional songs like "Hometown Hero," where he tempers his nasal voice and plays the humble everyman, he still comes off nimble and in command of the somber beat. Most exciting though, is that he is experimenting with his own flow and continuously pushing himself forward, whether he's sharing the spotlight with Big Boi on a major label record or doing something low-key and more traditional, like this.
Photographer Brian Derballa
July 19, 2010