Written by Jason Greenfield
4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time, and it has been a mighty long time since Mississippi-born MC Big K.R.I.T has released an album.
This project is K.R.I.T’s first release since having departed from Def Jam Records back in 2015. Having been a huge fan of K.R.I.T since the release of Wuz Here back in 2010, it is fair to say that he has had his ups and downs as an artist. Whilst it is exciting to have new material from him, I am more interested in seeing whether this album will meet the expectations that we have of him and, perhaps more importantly, how it will stand in terms of affecting his legacy.
As an artist, Big K.R.I.T is indubitably a traditionalist, who sticks to his Southern roots and paying homage to many of the greats who came before him. Whilst he may not be the most lyrically complex artist when compared to his peers, he certainly knows how to convey a lot of energy and portray a certain vibe within his music. This vibe more often than not will have you sat in your whip, bouncing up and down as you drive around.
With features from legends on this album, in the form of UGK’s Pimp C and Bun B as well as other notable artists like Cee Lo and T.I, there is no surprise that I had high expectations for this project. But with such major names featuring alongside K.R.I.T, there was the risk of his performance being overshadowed by the features. Fortunately, he managed to not only exceed my expectations, but also avoided being overshadowed by his co-stars.
From this album, you get an insight into two sides of the artist, where the two discs act as a way to separate the two personas and commentaries that he makes, ensuring that each disc feels as though it is a coherent project in its own right. The first disc is dedicated to the unapologetic, boisterous Big K.R.I.T moniker; featuring both lyrics and songs that highlight the MC’s love for the streets, sweet candy-pink Cadillacs and his subwoofer (with Subenstein, the fourth addition to his My Sub series). This creates a stark contrast with the second disc, where he raps under his government name: Justin Scott. As Justin, he shares his meditations upon how the ‘price of fame’ has influenced his love life, his relationship with God and many other tidy-bits of O.G wisdom.
The first track from disc 1 that deserves looking at is Subenstein (My Sub IV); this track definitely does slap when you throw it on in the car, and it fits the standard Southern sound that we expect when listening to K.R.I.T. However, as interesting as subwoofers are as a topic, hearing K.R.I.T’s songs of adoration for his sub may be getting a bit stale. Perhaps if this was the first time he had made such a song, I would feel a different way, but when looking at the songs from both this and his former albums, it seems as though he may be lacking in inspiration for new song topics.
How could I review this album without looking at Get Up 2 Come Down? This track has a very Outkast-esque feel to it, where K.R.I.T lays down a verse that sounds just like it could have come from Big Boi’s mouth. The production on this track, which is smooth and soulful in conjunction with verses from Cee Lo and K.R.I.T help to make a case for this song being one of the better songs from the album. Cee Lo rapping has been unheard of in the recent years, so it feels monumental for him to have performed a non-singing feature on this track.
As a producer, K.R.I.T has performed outstandingly; whilst all the songs that he produced are unabashedly southern, he still manages to deliver a lot of variety on the album. There is the characteristic atmospheric sound on the intro, the huge bass on Subenstein, the jazzy, blues-esque sound on various songs throughout the first disc and of course the soul-inspired instrumentals all the way through the 2nd disc. Whilst the whole sound is definitely “K.R.I.T”, it is that way in a manner that encompasses the various parts of the south, whether it is Atlanta, New Orleans or his home; Mississippi.
I think the second disc, Justin Scott, is in fact the better half of the project. The southern rapper feels at his best when he is not afraid to share his vulnerabilities and drops his characteristic big-man bravado. The contrast between the braggadocious verses of the first-half, and the reflective songs from the second-half help to give us an insight into who K.R.I.T really is an an artist, what he is like behind closed doors and who he could be. Drinking Sessions deals with the story of K.R.I.T whilst he was part of Def Jam, he shares his perspective on how what he had originally fantasized about, was in fact near to his worst nightmare. “Signed my name on that line and when I die, that’s when it’s over/ But to them, I looked like a check / Another five years of slaving and then it’s on to the next”. When K.R.I.T exposes his insecurities and fears on tracks such as this and The Light, it serves as a warning to up and coming artists as well as giving us listeners a peep into the perspective of what it means to be a black artist in America.
4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time feels as though it is his best project yet, whilst it certainly has its issues, the main one being a lack of originality or development within his identity of Big K.R.I.T, he has indubitably perfected the sound of Southern hip-hop.
However, I feel that after this album, more additions to the My Sub series could only harm his legacy. If he does not want to be looked back on as a one-trick pony, and would rather cement himself as a diverse legend, then he needs to not be afraid to experiment with his sound. He is certainly an artist whom carved his lane and sound out early on in his career, but I hope that future projects are produced in the same vein as Justin Scott. I’m looking forward to seeing what steps he takes towards continuing his development as an independent artist and cannot wait to see where the ‘King of the South’ takes his music in future projects.
Listen to both sides of 4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time below: