Big Kuntry King came up hustling mixtapes as a teenager alongside T.I., and after earning his place at the table with "My Turn To Eat", he is ready to breakthrough to the mainstream with his second album, the club/street anthem laced "Dope & Champagne".
T.I. may be heralded as “The King of the South”, but he did not reach those heights on his own. One of his partners coming up was his boy Big Kuntry King, who was close with Tip even back when the two were slanging tapes out of their trunks on the streets. King has been in the game for years, and after dropping his first studio solo effort My Turn To Eat, he’s giving fans his next solo installment Dope & Champagne.
HNHH caught up with the Grand Hustle artist who talks about some of the big features on his album, coming up with T.I. on the streets of Atlanta, and what keeps him focused after all these years.
Although he is signed to Atlantic-Grand Hustle, he decided to drop his sophomore LP independently so he could control his own music. Kuntry King feels like street music is not what it once was, and he’s looking to bring back that classic Southern sound, “I’m putting it out independently so I just figured I’d make it a street album, ya know, it just fill the void of the club life and the street life, cause it’s all mixed in one now.”
Obviously his partner, and long time friend, Tip is on Dope & Champagne, but King also talks about other big names that make a feature on his second solo studio album, “I got Curren$y on there, Trae Tha Truth, T.I., Lloyd...some new artists you’re all gonna love.”
His single “Peach Crush” is already in rotation on the radio and in the clubs, and while it serves as an ode to the promethazine drink, frequently imbibed in his city, the South Carolina native says the song has a deeper message. "'Peach Crush' is the single, it’s about, Peach Crush [the drink], we lean a lot, smoke a lot of blunts,” Big Kuntry adds, “[the song] talks about how I’m so impatient in this game, trying to go mainstream.” After putting in his due for so many years, he is grateful for the recognition he receives from his hardcore fans in the South, but is ready to breakthrough to a broader audience.
Perhaps his impatience with wanting to reach a mainstream audience stems from watching one of his best friends become one of the biggest names in the game, and earning the moniker “King of the South”. When asked about coming up with T.I., King Kuntry says they started together, “That was like 17, 18 years old, we were selling our own tapes, in the streets, before he even got on.”
Another contributing factor to his desire to break out, is that although this may only be his second solo studio effort, he has been churning out street classics for years, and some young cats in the game think he’s had overnight success, “they think I’m new, I’m not as young as you boy, but I go hard.”
A few years back, at a time in his career when success seemed unlikely, Big Kuntry King was ready to throw in the towel on the rap game. It was words from a good friend that inspired him, and that motivates him to this day, “when I just felt like rapping wasn’t for me anymore, one of my close friends came up to me and tell me ‘the day you quit coulda been the day you made it’”. After spending time in the studio by himself, while T.I. and his crew were overseas, this ATL legend was able to craft his own style and sound, “then I just started finding myself and the artist I wanna be,” and has not looked back since.
Big Kuntry King’s second album, Dope & Champagne is available now. You can see the full interview with HNHH below.