Big K.R.I.T. has put himself in a tough, if enviable, position. His breakout release, May 2010’s K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, had many anointing him as the bridge-builder between Golden Era Southern rap of now-legends and the landscape of today’s down South music. Return of 4Eva, from March of last year, continued the pouring of praise, earning nods as one of the year’s best projects from both mainstream and rap publications and fans, while also spawning an organic radio record (“Country Shit [Remix]”). With his Def Jam debut, Live From The Underground, slated to drop in June, Krizzle wanted to give listeners one more free body of work, so he offered up 4Eva N A Day.
With sizeable critical success already under his belt, Big K.R.I.T. isn’t rethinking the lane he’s already carved for himself with 4Eva N A Day. Instead, he’s employing the same musical and stylistic components that got him to this point, once again: soulful, jazzy production; shining Southern pride; lyrical content that reflects the authentic and wide range of emotions any individual goes through.
Even with many of the same qualities that his previous projects possessed, 4Eva N A Day stands out in its comprehensive conceptual approach. Most of the songs themselves still have concepts, as they have in the past, but, here, the entire release is tied into itself, as Krizzle takes the listener through a day with him, from waking up with the sun to knocking out just a few hours before it comes up again.
After the alarm goes off at “8:04 AM,” it’s time to “Wake Up,” over a beautifully mellow saxaphone by Willie B. The 2011 XXL Freshman reflects on his love for and loss of his grandmother with “Yesterday,” which includes a short sample of her speaking at the beginning. He kicks it and lights up with his patnas on “Sky Club,” then fights with his girl on “Red Eye,” before seeing locals and neighbors at the “Package Store.” The Cinematic rapper then hits the strip club and is ready to “turn this into something” on “Temptation,” and then open to the idea of reconciling with his significant other on “Insomnia.” After a full day, he gets some sleep at “5:04 AM.”
On “Handwriting,” the Third Coast Representer considers some of the music industry politics he has faced, but also offers up some of his most telling commentary and career-related self-reflection: “I make albums not hits,” he raps, after recounting Def Jam asking for another single; “Maybe I’m hurting myself talking about real life instead of the fame,” he later wonders; “’Cause I rebel I might get shelved, but that’s part of the game.”
Sure, some of the sounds are derivative of his earlier work (the beat of “Country Rap Tunes” is reminiscent of that of Wuz Here’s “Neva Go Back,” for instance), which many would say is derivative of acts like UGK and 8Ball & MJG. But that approach has been, and remains, true to K.R.I.T., and was what got him to this spot and won over fans.
It’s easy and natural to yearn for clear and tangible growth from an artist—and hearing K.R.I.T.’s soundscape expand through the use of producers other than himself could possibly be beneficial. The multi-talented artist has indeed gotten better, steadily working towards perfecting his crafts. But why be untrue to yourself and fans just to force and feign drastic development, or step out of your comfort zone, when it’s not really necessary.
With 4Eva N A Day, Big K.R.I.T. is doing that Big K.R.I.T. thing again. And that’s a damn good thing. —Adam Fleischer (@AdamXXL)