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 featuring Mr. On Mute can be found here. Joe Coad II is to thank for the second review, which you can read here and Bradford J. Howard graced us with part three.
Part 4 of our review series comes courtesy of Ronnie Harris, the mastermind behind The Kids Wear Crowns, a "useful blog for useless opinions", make sure you check it out! Ronnie is something like a hip-hop reference book so, we are sharing his opinion with full confidence.
See what Ronnie had to say about "4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time" and come back every day in December for more great reviews!
Return Of The King
In The South, we hold things to be sacred.
This isn't totally exclusive to The South, but we like to keep ourselves on an imaginary island. Some things just aren't understood outside of our region. I know I've left The South when I order tea and am not automatically given sweet tea. I know I may have traveled too far when sweet potato pie becomes pumpkin pie. As I travel outside The South, the music changes as well. It becomes a little denser the further North I go. It becomes more uptempo as I travel west. The east coast hip-hop sounds like the hustle and bustle of city life with beats that serve as the soundtrack for a day of stomping across concrete sidewalks. In the South, our music sounds like a long drive over a country road. It is as soulful as the the blues sang on Saturday nights and as spiritual as the gospel sang the following morning.
Much like sweet tea and sweet potato pies, Southern hip-hop is a large part of our culture. It is also rarely understood outside of our island; for that reason when one of our own is recognized, we hold them dear. Thus, why Big K.R.I.T. is exalted by his fans.
I love where Southern hip-hop is heading but K.R.I.T. Wuz Here sounded like hip-hop's last stand. It was a throwback to classic Southern hip-hop from a fresh new face. I remember hearing K.R.I.T.'s verse on "Glass House" and instantly hopping on Twitter to ask "Who is this Big K.R.I.T. guy???". He personally reached out to me after that with not only a link to K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, but links to his previous mixtapes as well. After K.R.I.T. Wuz Here came Return of 4Eva, making K.R.I.T.'s buzz too big to remain on our island. He caught the ear of Def Jam but things didn't quite work out. They told him he was too country. They wanted to find a way to mold his underground Southern sound into something more radio friendly. They took the very formula that made him famous and asked him to alter it. This experience nearly made him lose himself.
4Eva Is a Mighty Long Time chronicles Justin Scott, known as Big K.R.I.T., returning home. Not physically but mentally.
First things first, I have never really like the split personality rapper cliche and I especially don't like double albums, but there is a lot to like on this one. K.R.I.T. has always been honest about the duality of occasionally falling for temptations while staying on the path of righteousness. More important to this album, he has also juggled a life that now includes enjoying the spoils of being a rapper, and all that comes with that...Prioritizing riches over other things your heart holds dear. Bending to industry standards. And the music losing its essence as a result.
Although we've been hoping for K.R.I.T.'s return to come to fruition for some time now, we haven't had much reason for that hope until now. 4Eva is a Mighty Long Time is the best parts of both sides of K.R.I.T..
The Big K.R.I.T. side of the album contains all of the bass heavy, braggadocio we've grown to love from K.R.I.T.. Once I got to "Big Bank" I knew I was back home. Sped-up soul samples, a loud chant-like hook, and K.R.I.T.'s signature flow.
Although the Big K.R.I.T. side has bangers, I fell in love with the Justin Scott side. It sounds like the restoration of a man with a few miles on his soul. K.R.I.T. has gone through hell but it's nice to hear from the man underneath once the chains are off and the grill is removed. Big K.R.I.T. can be summed up by his hook in "Mixed Messages"; "I got a whole lotta mixed messages. In my songs, am I wrong to feel this way?"
The Justin Scott side tells a story of an a man learning how to shake off his personal devils while realigning himself with his core values.
The album concludes beautifully with "Bury Me in Gold". K.R.I.T. has traveled the world and acquired wealth but would give it all away for Justin Scott to make it to heaven.
While K.R.I.T. has always been earnest, I appreciate his candor when discussing his battle with morality. This is the reason why the South holds him so dearly. With K.R.I.T., we see someone who came from the same conditions we came from and lived out a lot of similar experiences. We could always relate to him, which is why we endearingly call him our "country cousin". He puts his soul into the music, that's how we know it's genuine. K.R.I.T. will forever be Southern, he will forever be one of ours.
So is Big K.R.I.T. back? That's not even the question. He never left, he was just finding himself. The journey of finding the true Justin Scott lead him back to being the Big K.R.I.T. we know.
Huge thank you to Ronnie for sharing his review with us and for just being dope, in general. Go read some of his (debatable) opinions over at The Kids Wear Crowns.
Check back with us tomorrow for another review of Big K.R.I.T.'s "4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time"