Big K.R.I.T.’s Trill-OG(Y): 4evaNaDay

Jonah Bromwich is a pause and thinker. Big K.R.I.T. has established a consistent, if predictable, template on his mixtapes. On each of his three projects to date, his particular blend of earnest...
By    March 13, 2012

Jonah Bromwich is a pause and thinker.

Big K.R.I.T. has established a consistent, if predictable, template on his mixtapes. On each of his three projects to date, his particular blend of earnest quasi-conscious rap and ignorant, high-energy paeans to Southern culture has yielded a great mix of bangers, head-nodders, and pause-and-thinkers.

4Eva N A Day, his latest tape, is par for the course. There are car anthems that give the cursory nod to candy-coated slabs that turn all the ho’s heads and inspirational testaments to working hard when nobody believes in you. There are country folk anthems and songs about waking up in the morning. All of them are coated in the beautiful rustic soul that’s become the rapper/producer’s trademark and each song is instantly recognizable as belonging to the aesthetic.

If I sound a touch bored, there’s a reason for that. K.R.I.T. retains the salt of the earth charisma that made him a perennial favorite but after last year’s masterful Return of 4eva, a couple of the songs here can end up sounding a little lightweight. The sax on “Boobie Miles” is too stagnant to exude the mournful quality that it’s meant to have, and its clichés threaten to pull this ode to keeping on into generic territory. Meanwhile, after many excellent songs about cars, “Me and My Old School” is a quiet retread—it even returns to the time machine metaphor that worked so well on the last tape. These songs speak to the rapper’s frustration. It’s hard not to switch on autopilot when you’ve been forced to release all of your best music for free.

When K.R.I.T takes the wheel in earnest, he shows that he’s still as strong as any rapper that’s made his bones in the last few years. “1986” is a simple concept song, executed with precision and complete with a chant-along chorus that makes me which I were born in the year of the tiger. Krit sounds fully engaged on “Handwriting,” where he raps with angry abandon that he’s “sick of being lied to and I’m waging war” in a quickfire flow that’s more reminiscent of his energetic live show than his usual cooled out presence on wax. Final track “The Alarm” is perhaps the most exciting example of a new sound, as K.R.I.T. weds his usual set of strings and brass to the kind of epic sample favored by Just Blaze. It’s a huge song worth sticking around for, as the rapper abandons his usual faith that everything will turn out ok, questions the beliefs he normally espouses and sounds like he’s wised up quite a bit.

Another new direction which works nicely shows up in a trio of songs that focus on women. K.R.I.T’s obsession with telling the truth plays in his favor, as “Red Eye” is extraordinarily genuine about a failing relationship. Krit confesses a whole heap of relatable mistakes here: “sometimes I’m out and I lust…it’s either you or this music and I can’t make up my mind…I’m doing the norm and not what it takes.” “Insomnia” is an unusually solemn sex jam on which Krit is jonesing but considerate as he raps in the chorus, “I’m trying to fall through just to fuck with you, well, that’s if your horny.” (The moans that accompany a guitar solo later on reveal that she was.) And on “Down N Out” Krit advises a pitiable woman with bruises all over her face to keep her head up, even though he knows that there’s not much hope for her.

As much as these new types of songs work, there’s a certain kind of anthem that fans go to K.R.IT. for. The definitive heir to soulful classics “Hometown Hero” and “R4 Theme Song” here is “4EvaNaDay” and it’s a resplendent barnburner of a song, a big, beautiful showcase for the commitment that Krit consistently shows, a commitment that keeps him putting out such solid collections of music. As the third entrant in the trilogy, 4Eva N A Day may have one or two ewoks lurking in its frame, but there’s plenty of firepower to make up for any missteps.

The rap industry is in a tailspin and our favorite rappers should learn to value themselves regardless of the backing of suited noobs. KRIT’s frustration, while legitimate, belies his many accomplishments; the word “classics” in the last paragraph wasn’t a mistake. Just because there’s more rap available than ever before doesn’t mean that all of it is easily disposed—over the course of three tapes, K.R.I.T. has made plenty of songs that deserve to be kept around for(4)ever.

MP3: Big K.R.I.T. – 4evaNaDay (Left-Click)

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