Throughout December, Hustlegrade will be sharing album reviews daily!
We kicked our year end album review process off with series of reviews on Big K.R.I.T.'s latest release "4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time" thanks to some of our favorite writers!
If you have not heard "4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time" yet, go take a listen!
The first review in this series featured Mr. On Mute and can be found here. Joe Coad II is to thank for the second review, which you can read here.
Arguably the best hip-hop writer (and one of the best all around writers) out of Houston, Bradford J. Howard, blessed us with the third review in our series.
Bradford's work can be found on dayandadream.com as well as yellowbanditmedia.com. Make sure you get familiar with him if you are not already! Keep reading to see Bradford's take on "4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time" and come back daily in December for more great reviews!
“God fed up with my soul, so ain’t no blessings…”
A double album is always ambitious. An artist will run the risk of either giving too much one of thing (say, too many songs that sound the same or too much filler) or too little of another (too few “keeper” tracks). For Big K.R.I.T., the audacity of releasing a double LP was made even bigger by the fact that it was the Mississippi emcee’s first project as a man with no major. Somehow, in spite of being 22 tracks deep, 4eva is A Mighty Long Time manages to find that smart medium.
A concept album that tackles the two sides of a person is far from new. T.I. vs. Tip, for example, and Raymond V Raymond immediately come to mind. But those were single disc LPs. K.R.I.T. understood that his personas deserved an equal amount of shine on their own. It’s not that the two sides conflict. He just wants listeners to understand them apart from one another.
The first disc, of course, is about K.R.I.T. the rapper, drenched in southern fried hip-hop and country soul at nearly every turn (save the guitar strums that accompany the introspective cut “Layup”). On disc one, K.R.I.T. raps like the “King (to be) Remembered in Time” he calls himself and, in the process, pays homage to some of his influences. “Get Away,” for example, pays tithes to the Big Tymers by way of an extrapolation of “Get Your Roll On.” “Get Up 2 Come Down” sounds like something from a student of the Dungeon Family, and appearances from a (rapping!) Cee-Lo Green and Sleepy Brown drive that feel even further. And “Ride Wit Me” is a slab-ready UGK tribute that features Bun B and the ghost of Pimp C. K.R.I.T. is mostly cocky on disc one: a hungry hustler but also a man who lives large (see, “Big Bank” with T.I.). He’s also not afraid to take jabs: his “Classic Interlude” pokes fun at the current hip-hop culture where a project is deemed a “classic” for the simplest things, for example; and “Confetti” is as much external as it is internal critique of not celebrating your reign if you can’t maintain it.
Disc two, on the other hand, is more subtle. There, Justin Scott the person tells stories and uses the blues of the South to appeal to the listener. “Miss Georgia Fornia” (which the casual listener will assume is about Mara Hruby) is a love song that could either be about a person or about KRIT’s journey between both states. His success level might go up but his loyalty to home is never in question (“I promise I can do the job and come back again”). The “Justin Scott” disc also puts into perspective the man behind the image. The K.R.I.T disc tells us he wants fans to “Ride Wit” him; but the Justin Scott disc is the guilt and feeling of self-contradiction of possibly leading those fans down the wrong path, on a track like “Mixed Messages,” for example. He even gets conscious with Bilal playing his choir in the background on “The Light."
On “Price of Fame,” there’s a line where the rapper says, “Justin Scott trapped in Big K.R.I.T., screaming ‘it’s really me!’” 4eva is A Mighty Long Time to deal with the two sides of yourself, the mask you wear in public and the person you are when the flashing lights are gone. But this is who Justin Scott is. This is who we all are. We don’t all have the privilege of 22 tracks to address it. Thankfully, Big K.R.I.T. has given us a soundtrack that sums up those competing personalities and that double consciousness within any given creative.
Thank you again to Bradford for sharing his review with us and for his constant, overwhelming support of everything dope in our city!
Check back with us tomorrow for another guest review of Big K.R.I.T.'s "4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time"