Big K.R.I.T. - Return of 4Eva
On the very first track, Big K.R.I.T. begins by welcoming his friends to a meeting of some sort. Light synths rebound off his words as he describes his next movement as the Return of 4Eva. The high-hat closes down sharp, and K.R.I.T. perfectly breaks into flow, exemplifying the nervousness, excitement, and pure nausea that accompanies being on stage. Horns sing out, giving him even more confidence as his voice receives a firm footing. A crowd explodes with cheers at the sound of K.R.I.T.’s voice. The horns continue to build tension, while crash cymbals echo around when suddenly—everything stops. A single alarm clock buzzes about, and K.R.I.T.’s roommate begins beating on the walls, telling him to turn it off because it’s too fucking early.
It’s honestly unlike anything I’ve ever heard.
When K.R.I.T. released last year’s mixtape, K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, I foolishly dismissed it. After seeing his latestgarner so much attention, I decided to finally see what all the hubbub was about. Running at an hour and fifteen minutes, Return of 4Eva is the first hip-hop record this year to keep me glued to my headphones on every listen.
Big K.R.I.T. is a southern rapper, and his sound represents his hometown in Mississippi very well. Like other southern rappers (Gucci, Flo Rida, Outkast), K.R.I.T. creates catchy, club anthems centered around the Dirty South stereotype: Girls and Cars. Unlike his southern peers, K.R.I.T. approaches these hood items with a sense of maturity, which is what sets him so far apart from the rest. For example, on “Time Machine” K.R.I.T. illustrates the nostalgic journey he undergoes while riding in his car, reminding him of the happier (and simpler) times he spent driving with his family and friends. Our everyday items can be another’s sense of escapism.
That’s not to say the album doesn’t have its predictable southern rhymes, but they are hardly noticeable when other, more meaningful tracks compliment them so well. The excellent production doesn’t hurt, either. The fact that K.R.I.T. produced this entire album himself is enough to commend the guy. His use of samples is absolutely incredible, blending other’s works so well with his music that it can be hard to decipher originality from previous entries in the dirty south genre.
K.R.I.T. doesn’t only sample music; he also throws out quotes from famous movies and TV shows throughout the record to add to the experience. They can be a little cheesy, but I won’t lie by saying I didn’t get excited when I first heard Mr. Draper’s voice in my ear, differentiating the bond between true sentiment and material possession. Overall, these quotes only add to K.R.I.T.’s main dilemma: Finding his place in the rap world.
Throughout the record, K.R.I.T. constantly questions the benefits in blowing up in the rap game. He wants to be entirely unique, which in his world means staying away from the mainstream (“Another Naive Individual…”). Ironically, K.R.I.T. is already doing something that nobody else is. In another track, “American Rapstar,” K.R.I.T. accuses his fans: ”They don’t love you until you’re underground, or when you’re maxing out you’re bank account.” He is making a much needed point that supposed music aficionados follow specific scenes in music, whether truly endearing or not.
When K.R.I.T. reaches the expected “Vent” track towards the end of the album, it felt much more meaningful. In fact, “The Vent” depicts K.R.I.T. as not only unsure of his place in the rap world, but his place in the real world too. He laments for the death of his brother, and states that “I’d trade my materials for a peace of mind.” It really is relatable southern rap that overshadows all of the bullshit that usually comes with the genre.
Sure, K.R.I.T. doesn’t exactly know what he is growing into in terms of rap/hip-hop. But if he keeps this kind of quality up, he’s sure to gain mainstream success eventually. Listen to this album if you have even the slightest interest in hip-hop.
Luckily, it’s free: