I keep coming back to the words of a Mississippian. As an Alabamian, sometimes that makes me feel guilty. As a Southerner, it makes me feel like a cliché. 

But when we started sketching out the next season of the Reckon Interview, this Mississippian’s words loomed.

No, it’s not William Faulkner. I’m not that much of a cliche — although I do share his love of writing and talking about our own “little postage stamp of native soil.”

But I’m talking about Meridian’s own Big K.R.I.T., who offered up the unofficial mission statement for this season of our podcast: 

Look how they hate me, but copy me

Possibly I was the one with components and properties

To be the greatest of all time, but you won geography lottery.

We all know the American culture starts in the South. Our food, our music, our writing, our activism, our sports teams are all unmatched. 

But we also know that you have to hustle harder to get noticed in the South. With all due respect to Mr. Sinatra, anyone can make it in New York. Try making it in Meridian, Miss. Or Hemingway, S.C. Or Albany, Ga. The creators who are breaking out from the South are the ones with talent too unstoppable to be denied. 

Those are the people we’re talking to this season. The folks creating brilliance down the block. The ones writing the beats that some L.A. producer is going to rip off. The ones who’ve been cooking the recipes handed down through the generations that somebody in Brooklyn is just now discovering. 

People like Rodney Scott, who won a damn James Beard award cooking barbecue. Or Jason Kirk, who is flipping Southerners’ understanding of Christianity on its head. Or Dr. Regina N. Bradley, who wondered why all of her hip hop classes only focused on New York and West Coast rappers when the songs people were actually listening to in their car came from the South.

This is a theme we’ll examine throughout the season on the Reckon Interview podcast. And with our new newsletter, we’ll go deeper on exploring the richness of all the many different Souths and Southerners and Southern ex-pats, and even people who are just South-curious. 

We’re a show for the people who know that Southern stories don’t just shape the South. They shape America. And that there’s more to the Southern culture than what you can buy at a Cracker Barrel (not that I’d ever turn down a Sunrise Sampler, though). 

So if you’d rather start your day with insights and stories from everyone between New Orleans and Richmond, then subscribe to the Reckon Interview podcast on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.