This Ain't No Finger Painting - @BigKRIT Review Series Part 5 with @JUSTKELS88

Throughout December, Hustlegrade will be sharing album reviews daily!

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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 hereBradford J. Howard graced us with part three and Ronnie Harris wrapped up our guest reviews in great fashion. 

Now, it is my turn to share my thoughts on "4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time", be patient with me because as usual, I ended up being wordy. 

We are nowhere close to done with our year end review series so keep checking back daily for more! 

This Ain’t No Finger Painting.

Writing album reviews has always been an interesting process for me, to say the least. Enter stage right: Big K.R.I.T.’s latest release, 4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time; a 22 track, beast of a double album from an artist that I so happen to hold in very, very high regards. With just over a month to appreciate the album, my thoughts and feelings on it should be forthcoming and organized enough to write them down, right? 

As of two days ago, I was absolutely unprepared to write this review. 

Yes, I had listened to 4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time more than a few times and was thoroughly impressed but, an entire, all encompassing review? I was barely to the point of processing all the intricate nuances that make up what just may be one of the best works of hip-hop art ever created; how was I supposed to review something that my mind and soul were still working to understand? Not to mention, this album happened to drop at a point in my life where taking the extra time to breathe deep seems outlandish some days, forget the how, WHEN was I going to be able to write a review? 

By last night I had 6 possible titles for this review. And nothing else. (I didn’t even use any of those titles, either) 

Somewhere between the first time I heard 2000 & Beyond in 2010 and today, Big K.R.I.T became my favorite hiphop artist; a truth that I may not have been completely sure of until today. My son has grown up listening to K.R.I.T’s music, with me. Every concert, every mixtape, every merchandise sell, I was there, boisterously supporting K.R.I.T. with no concern about record labels or social media opinion. Hell, I created a whole Tumblr page and used it to write about K.R.I.T’s music when I knew nobody was ever going to read it. Yet here I was looking at a blank Word document trying, and failing, to adequately “review” 4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time. 

8 hours ago, I could list every feature producer, feature artist, which tracks K.R.I.T. is solely responsible for, what dates the singles from 4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time dropped and to what reception but I couldn’t verbalize how I felt about it to save my life. I wrote all the facts down and when I read it back it felt so, empty. All the facts and names and chart position talk that seemingly attributed some level of success to Big K.R.I.T. completely negated the most important elements of 4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time and the time, work and soul Justin Scott put into it. 

Either by habit or necessity, I allow a bit of my raw, natural emotions to remain in the margin as I complete the process of analyzing and studying an album. There is a part of me that wants an album review, especially this one, to be definitive. So I stepped away from this review for a couple hours and went back to the album. To the smooth, southern audible embodiment of everything I have ever loved. To a place where I wasn’t paying closer attention to write about the music, I was paying closer attention to better appreciate it. 

I was supposed to publish this review a couple hours ago, and there’s still no definitive, all encompassing understanding or analysis that I can provide for 4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time but, a review I promised. 

My review on the first half of 4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time? It jams. 

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The Big K.R.I.T. portion of 4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time sets the stage for a complete flex of the gritty bravado K.R.I.T. established long ago. Confetti is officially my theme song because f- your party. Your confetti ain’t even heavy. Subenstein (My Sub IV), easily one of the best tracks on the album, has the dopest bridge I have heard in quite sometime. Plus, Mannie Fresh showed out on the production. That sentiment stands for 1999 too. 1999 is, man just go listen to it, Lloyd is completely in his bag on it as well. And it jams. I said I wasn’t going to go about list facts but, look! This man put out an album on an independent label with a T.I. feature closely followed by Bun B and Pimp C on a track produced by Organized Noize. Like. What? AND THEN CeeLo Green gets to rapping like we should expect a new Goodie Mob album soon over production supplied by K.R.I.T. himself while Sleepy Brown two steps all up and down the hook and outro. And it jams. I could go on and on. All that to say, the Big K.R.I.T. side of this project made me feel like Tyrese in that video, WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT FROM ME?! What more do you want from K.R.I.T.? Foremost, his ridiculously superb rapping abilities shine through every track. Then, all of the attributes some critics and listeners claim he is either lacking or yet to display are front and center the entire time. From the fun, club and radio joints it has been said he can’t make to his use of outside production and feature artists that all feel something like preordained, everything is there. Literally everything. And it jams. K.R.I.T. incorporated all of the elements that make southern hiphop legendary, enlisted our southern legends and even stepped outside of what some may expect from him, in the best way possible without being disingenuous for one second. And. It. Jams. 

As the first half of 4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time wrapped up, there was an aura of shedding things that no longer serve a purpose. I couldn’t help but wonder if that was the album or reflective of the album K.R.I.T. intended to create before the record label woes. 

My review on the second half of 4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time? It’s necessary

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Justin Scott the track is a melodic, emotional, bluesy representation of who I think Justin Scott the person is. Of course I don’t know that for a fact but I know I hear CeeLo singing in the background and the instrumentation makes me okAY with assuming things for now. Mixed Messages, Keep The Devil Off and Miss Georgia Fornia hold up a mirror that reflects the cognitive dissonance that enables me to understand that while Big K.R.I.T. is wholly connected to Justin Scott, he does not define him and even exists on the opposite end of life’s spectrum at times. Everlasting and Higher Calling are quickly becoming my go to’s when I want to think about a kind of love that only southern hiphop can depict and break down. I honestly can’t even begin to describe how absolutely soul shaking the last 18 minutes or so of 4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time is. Price of Fame is something to behold, I have yet to find words to do it justice. I distinctly remember hearing Drinking Sessions and having to turn my speaker off and regroup after K.R.I.T. bared his soul over the sound of a drink being poured as his voice noticeably wavered “I'm just waiting on a sign or two. Like what I'ma do when my heart get rusty and tired? And it ain't shining through, and I think about death a lot”.....“I’m so exposed...” Those doubts and insecurities are temporary and The Light and Bury Me In Gold come through in perfect time to bring everything back into perspective. Justin Scott needed to create the second part of this album as much as I needed to hear it. Whether he needed to do so in spite of Big K.R.I.T.’s existence or in order for K.R.I.T. to exist isn’t for me to speak on but, it also doesn’t really matter. 

Knowing that other people, really dope, super talented people inhabit this space where nobody is expected to be, or is even satisfied with being singular, is comforting. A reminder via my most trusted conduit of knowledge and emotion that standing fast in your truth doesn’t guarantee an easy win but a long-term understanding of self, is inspiring. Big K.R.I.T. and Justin Scott exist in a universe that doesn’t recognize rules, only principles; and everyone gets to determine what compromises they’re willing to make. 

My first mind was to go off on a tangent about how 12 for 12 was amazing and how it is “impossible to ignore” Big K.R.I.T. as one of the best hiphop artists, ever but, why? The name. The artwork. The format. The music. The feeling. Everything about 4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time is proof that he is exactly that, whether you believe it or not. I almost scrapped this whole review. Then I almost rushed it. I wasn’t ready to write it and who knows how different it may have been 6 months from now but, there’s something to be said about how I feel about it, today. Big K.R.I.T. is my favorite hiphop artist. My favorite rapper. My son used to sing “Bigger Picture” all the time when he was younger and upon first glance, the artwork for 4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time reminded of a simple statement that has always stuck with me from that song; “this ain’t no finger painting”. Just like Big K.R.I.T.’s career and this amazing album he created, great art takes time. And patience. Like writing this album review and understanding that it doesn’t have to be an over analytical, definitive explanation of Big K.R.I.T.’s intentions, his career or where he’s going from here. I will be singing praises for 4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time for, well, 4Eva so there’s no need to try to finish it all right now.

This ain’t no finger painting and 4Eva Is, indeed, A Mighty Long Time. 

-Kels

Again, huge thank you to those guys for being so willing to contribute to our review series and for being dope writers. 

Check back tomorrow for more reviews!