4Eva Is a Mighty Long Time- Album Review
By: Thomas Rodriguez
Big K.R.I.T Makes a Sprawling Return to Music with 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time
(Note, this review will be longer than usual due to this album being a two-in-one deal).
I’m going to admit something up front: I’ve never been the biggest Big K.R.I.T fan. Sure, I’ve listened to a couple of singles here and there, and I’ve always liked them, but I’ve never gone out of my way to listen to him. That is, until now. I had heard the hype built up around the double album K.R.I.T, and was intrigued. And if any of the previous songs I listened to in the past told me anything, it was that I could expect some quality music.
So how did it fare?
For starters, I’m going to cover the production. Across both parts of this double LP, K.R.I.T’s style is consistently classy, despite what appears to be various deviations on the southern sound he was brought up on. Even when the beats jump from the bass rattling and hard hitting sounds of Big Bank and Subenstein to the subdued cooldown of Layup, the sonic palette is constantly well developed. Even songs like Keep the devil Off, despite it’s instrumental dead air as a whole, is interesting at least in the first minutes (more on this later).
With that being said, the production on this album, while consistent in tone and quality throughout, definitely changes up after the first half. While the first half (named Big K.R.I.T) is definitely more traditional and southern-styled, what with the incredible bass rocking on Big Bank and the silky smooth, strip-club sounds on 1999, the second half (named Justin Scott) is much more experimental. The opener to the second half, also named Justin Scott, is an instrumental track, covered with absolutely stunning work on mysterious keys and hard hitting percussion, and sets the tone for the instrumental palette of the second half as a whole. Miss Georgia Fornia and Price of Fame, both cover interesting sonic textures as well. Miss Georgia Fornia combines country sounds and rap flows in a way that surprisingly isn’t like combining ammonia and bleach; meanwhile, Price of Fame’s depressed lead piano and light percussion seems like the opposite of what people listen to southern rap for, but it goes off surprisingly well as a backdrop for what K.R.I.T’s doing on the mic.
Speaking of which, K.R.I.T’s performance here is great. He doesn’t fall into the usual double album trap where the sheer amount of times he raps turns the whole project into the usual slosh of similar sounding songs. His performance here is a rainbow of moods, from frustrated in Get Away, depressingly drunk on Drinking Sessions, to hungry as a wolf on Big Bank (I keep mentioning this song because it is one of the best damn bangers ever to grace my ear canals). This variety of emotions here keeps the LP interesting, and K.R.I.T’s dexterity as a rapper with his great flow (and surprisingly decent singing voice) usually kept me impressed. Not to mention the two skits on this album, Weekend and Classic, made me bust my ass off while laughing. You’re a bit of a comedian, aren’t you K.R.I.T?
Those skits actually remind me of another strong point in this sprawling project. The lyrics here are actually pretty great, for the most part anyway. The topics here are so various, that it helps the album feel JUSTIFIED in having a long length. Many artists will release bloated, song heavy double albums (or regular ones) that end up repeating themselves by song 4 without adding anything to the overall project, and by that point you’ve already started reconsidering your taste in music AND your sanity. That being said, topic jumping can make a project feel like it doesn’t have a focus, and the listener can get whiplash if the songs themselves aren’t good. With this album though, K.R.I.T is the center of a lot of things, and his lyrics are mostly clever, sometimes thought provoking, and overall just exciting (the great monster dichotomy he has with his sub bass is killer on Subenstein).
However, while i have a lot of praise to give to this album, there are some gripes to be had with it. For one, in general, i prefer the first half to the second half. Sure, the song Aux Cord is a pretty lame and generic retread of better, more well crafted songs like Rid Wit Me in the first half, but that’s the only problem I have with the first album. The second, despite its run of great tracks at the tail end like Bury Me in Gold and Drinking Sessions, incredibly personal tales that showcase K.R.I.T’s lyrical dexterity, is overall more meandering as a whole. I seriously lost interest in Keep the devil Off three minutes in because of the lack of a strong punchy key or guitar to keep with K.R.I.T’s passionate delivery, and when I saw I had two minutes left to go, I just sighed and prayed to God time would speed up. And as for the songs Everlasting and Higher Calling, I have no idea what happened here, nor will I ever care. Both songs are a snoozefest, to the point where I would be concerned for anyone listening to these songs in a car. Both beats are sloshy as hell with their weak percussion and simplicity, K.R.I.T’s lyrics of “love” to his object of affection are about as interesting as a cinderblock, and Jill Scott’s vocals on Higher Calling’s hook are incredibly phoned in (they’re so muddy I wouldn’t be surprised if she literally sang through a phone call at the studio).
That brings me to my last brief point before I give out my overall opinion: the features. Excluding Jill Scott, most of the features on this album are actually pretty great! T.I on Big Bank gives an amazing verse, Bun B and Cee Lo Green give great homage to the 90s sounds of the south on Ride Wit Me and Get Up 2 Come Down respectively, and Bilal’s hook on The Light is smooth as butter. The features don’t feel misplaced here: they all add a nice side dish to K.R.I.T’s main course.
Now, did I enjoy this LP? Absolutely. Are there a few problems with it? Again, absolutely. The second half is a bit inconsistent, and as a whole I wish those lulling songs were cut, because they put a serious damper on the flow of second half. But as a whole, this is a great investment for your ears. A good way to think about it is this: I never listened to Big K.R.I.T before, and a DOUBLE ALBUM got me into him with me being consistently entertained. It should probably do the same for you
Tracks to Save:
Big Bank, Subenstein, Ride Wit Me, Get Up 2 Come Down, Get Away, Price of Fame, Drinking Sessions, Bury Me in Gold
Tracks to Skip:
Aux Cord, Keep the devil Off, Everlasting, Higher Calling