Three years since the release of his last studio album, the sophomore LP Cadillactica back in the fall of 2014 and two years since the release of his mixtape It’s Better This Way the following year, Young Krizzle has finally returned to deliver his long awaited third studio album. Following his departure from a major record label and a near two year absence from the music scene; it’s an understatement to say that the bar has been set incredibly high this time around for Big K.R.I.T. to top. As an artist who’s prided himself on consistency and known for being meticulous in his approach to crafting music, K.R.I.T.’s third studio album 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time comes at a pivotal moment of both change and immense growth in the thirty-one year old emcee’s life and music career. Never a stranger to introspection and reflectiveness, K.R.I.T. harnesses all the energy both good and bad from his experiences, trials and tribulations in the industry over the past several years as well as taking time to reflect and explore some of his own private trials on the two disc odyssey which is 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time.
Needless to say, K.R.I.T. does not disappoint on 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time. Delivering a two disc, twenty-two track monster of an album clocking in at just under an hour and twenty-five minutes. Serving as the Meridian, Mississippi emcee’s first major independent release since announcing his departure from Def Jam last year, 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time is by all accounts a star studded spectacle. Jammed pack with an all-star supporting cast of emcees, singers, musicians and producers all specifically enlisted by K.R.I.T. himself to accompany him on what is arguably the most disciplined and ambitious project of his career to date. After two years of long and meticulous work, it’s clear that K.R.I.T. specifically set out to reacher farther, grander heights in the production department and push the limits of his own musical comfort zone on 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time. While still holding the reins a majority of the time in regards to album’s the production and creative control, K.R.I.T. does occasionally cede some of the production duties to his musical cohorts and brings his friends along to contribute their own flair to the album’s lush, varied soundscape. Lending their musical talents Hey DJ, Mannie Fresh, Organized Noize as well as DJ Khalil, Supah Mario and WLPR are enlisted to contribute on nine of the album’s twenty-two songs. (all of which have multiple production credits across the album’s two disc time span)
The album is also by far Big K.R.I.T’s most feature heavy release yet to date as well in terms of artists assisting behind the mic rather than behind the boards. Practically filled to the brim with talent; 4eva Is A Might Long Time features the likes of T.I., Bun B, the late Pimp C, CeeLo Green, Sleepy Brown, Loyd, Joi, Jill Scott, Keyon Harrold, Kenneth Whalum, Burniss Earl Travis II, Bilal and Robert Glasper who all accompany K.R.I.T. on his latest musical journey without detracting too much of the listener’s attention or pulling the album’s focus from K.R.I.T. himself. A rare and extremely difficult feat to pull off, especially given many contemporary Hip-Hop artists penchants for overloading album’s with superfluous and unnecessary guest features or flavor of the month producer credits. Through this all K.R.I.T. manages to effortlessly, strike the perfect balance on the album. Giving just enough breathing room for the supporting cast to shine while never never losing track or losing control of his own show.
Keeping in line with K.R.I.T’s past efforts and projects, 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time adheres to a specific concept and storyline which serves as the album’s backbone, supporting and holding the projects content and overall themes explored on the release. The album is broken into two parts: disc one, the ‘Big K.R.I.T. side’ and disc two, the ‘Justin Scott side’ (Justin Scott being K.R.I.T’s government name). This time around the album’s concept centers around the duality of his very own identity, serving up a introspective exploration of the contrast between Big K.R.I.T., the flamboyant, boisterous artist who boast and flexes on disc one. While the album’s second half features Justin Scott; the humble, grounded man behind the conjured up Hip-Hop persona that laments and ponders the various, and at times overwhelming complexities of life on disc two of the album. This being said, the two discs are by no means night and day opposites of one another either; as the middle ground where the two personas blur together and overlap are explored as well, which ultimately leads to a golden mean between both Big K.R.I.T. and Justin Scott. In many regards the album is a near perfect allegory to the particular moment in time which K.R.I.T’s career currently sits atop. Not quite underground any longer, yet still not quite a mainstream name. No longer destitute, but far from rich. A far cry from the shallow, fast-food variety music currently being produced by younger, adolescent Hip-Hop artists, yet still not dated or antiquated in any regards either. Much like K.R.I.T. himself the project serves as a perfect half-way point transition period, whether that be in terms musically on the album or the literal position in which K.R.I.T’s career currently falls into.
It’s an understatement to say that 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time is jammed with stunning, head nodding tracks that will have real Hip-Hop instantly bobbing their head. Album Highlights include tracks such as ‘Big Bank’, a booming, soul infused banger making expert use of a classic Willie Hutch sample. Featuring a stellar guest verse from the original king of the south himself T.I. on what is easily the most energetic, high-tempo, block rockin’ track on the entire album. Other highlights from disc one include the Mannie Fresh assisted track ‘Subenstein (My Sub IV)’, an electrifying, trunk thumping anthem serving as the fourth entry in a quadriliogy of ‘My Sub’ tracks from K.R.I.T. detailing the dirty south emcee’s love for old school rides, subwoofers and booming sound systems. While ‘Ride Wit Me’ features a verse from the legendary Bun B and a hook from the late Pimp C. Utilizing unused UGK vocals, Sweet Jones delivers the song’s chorus from the beyond grave in the form of slick heavenly, crooning; serving as testament not only to the late Houston emcee’s lasting legacy but to UGK’s immense influence that the group still holds on southern Hip-Hop as well. ‘Get Up 2 Come Down’ featuring Goodie Mob alumnus CeeLo Green and Sleepy Brown of the Atlanta-based production team Organized Noize is another outstanding track present on the album. Serving as a testament to the classic southern sound which influenced both K.R.I.T’s own production and emceeing abilities as a youth. Reminiscent of production featured heavily in the heyday of groups such as Outkast and Goodie Mob, the track is a refreshing continuation of classic southern Hip-Hop production that K.R.I.T. has continued innovate and featured heavily in his music. A quality which sadly has largely fallen to the wayside in exchange for modern trap beats and overly simplistic production that has come to dominate much of the regions sound over the past decade and a half.
Making the jump into the album’s second half, sonically disc two, or the ‘Justin Scott’ side takes a far more introspective even subdued approach in contrast to its rambunctious predecessor. That being said, disc two is not without its highlights and moments of brilliance either. Paying homage to his southern roots, K.R.I.T. delivers a exceptional performance on ‘Keep the Devil Off’; a gospel infused number with accompaniment of a choir, brassy horns, slapping bass guitar and an electrifying organ performance that invokes the all spirit and energy of a Sunday ministry. On ‘Price Of Fame’ K.R.I.T. details his own unique challenges that have come with being a public figure and famous rapper; including issues he has dealt with coming from his own family. Here K.R.I.T. vents his frustrations, detailing his own anxieties and even touches on his own struggles and battles with alcohol and even depression. It’s a sobering track on what is largely a very earthbound second disc as K.R.I.T. stresses that not all that comes with fame and fortune is necessarily good. On ‘Higher Calling’ K.R.I.T. recruits the talents legendary soul singer Jill Scott for a smooth, laid back track dedicated to a woman very special to him; delivering one of the more sentimental moments on 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time. The highlight of disc two however, is undoubtedly ‘The Light’; a jazzy, horn infused track featuring Bilal, Robert Glasper, Kenneth Whalum and Burniss Earl Travis II. The track is a perfect example of K.R.I.T.’s growing ability to successfully incorporate live instrumentation into his albums while still delivering a sound palatable to the ears of listeners who enjoy and come to love the mesmerizing, but very expensive sample-heavy production of his past albums.
Again, in many regards 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time is the perfect encapsulation of Big K.R.I.T.’s career at this current moment in time. A juxtaposition of two sides that don’t always mesh easily together, yet are still expertly interwoven in way only the most skilled and dedicated artists can ultimately pull off. Likewise, given K.R.I.T.’s up’s and down’s he’s experienced while being signed to a major label, its comforting to hear that he has not let the bad times in the industry outshine the good and is still as passionate about the music than ever before. While many artists who leave major labels often times come off as jaded or bitter in their music regarding their feelings and sentiments towards their experiences in the music industry, K.R.I.T. takes the whole journey in stride. Never letting the bad energy and negative side effects from the business side of things ever overshadow his love for the music. The album not only showcases K.R.I.T.’s virtuosity, but is true a testament to his growth as both an artist and a person over the past few years with the steady rise of his music career. In laymen’s terms 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time manages to hit all the marks and check all the boxes long time K.R.I.T. fans would expect to be met on an album, while still managing to cover new ground and showcase artistic growth without veering too far or making too drastic of a departure from what fans have come to love. Not an easy feat to pull off, especially from an emcee who’s managed to drop five album quality ‘mixtapes’ as well as three studio albums in the span of just seven years. The album’s length can at times be a bit trying at twenty-two songs, especially in the album’s second half due to the introspective nature of the content on the album’s second disc. It’s impossible not to acknowledge the fact that the album does noticeably slow down a bit on more than several occasions in the LP’s latter half. That being said, in an era where artists rarely release double albums (good ones at that) it’s a small nitpick that is easily forgiven when one appreciates the lyrical and emotional depth explored on the album’s second disc. 4eva Is A Mighty Long time is not only one of the better albums to drop in 2017, it is perhaps one of in thee most organized, disciplined albums of Big K.R.I.T.’s career yet. Long time fans will still be surprised to see that K.R.I.T. still has plenty of tricks up his sleeve, while newcomers will be treated to plethora of deep, introspective, quality songs that eloquently paint story of man that is more relatable and personable than most casual listeners may realize. After several years of hype and wait, Big K.R.I.T. not only delivered an engaging third follow-up album, he delivered a powerful, heartfelt project who’s replay value will undoubtedly extend far beyond that of 2017 or even 2018 for that matter. Regardless of how far that relevance goes, one thing is for sure, and that is that it’s safe to assume that resonance it will be a mighty long time.
4eva Is A Mighty Long Time is available now to purchase on CD and Vinyl in stores and on Big K.R.I.T’s own online Store, as well as to stream on Tidal, Spotify, Apple Music, Prime Music and iTunes.
Full Album Track Listing & Credits:
1. Big K.R.I.T.
3. Big Bank (feat. T.I)
4. Subenstein (My Sub IV)
5. 1999 f. Lloyd
6. Ride Wit Me (feat. UGK)
7. Get Up 2 Come Down (feat. CeeLo & Sleepy Brown)
9. Classic Interlude
10. Aux Cord
11. Get Away
1. Justin Scott
2. Mixed Messages
3. Keep The Devil Off
4. Miss Georgia Fornia (feat. Joi)
6. Higher Calling (feat. Jill Scott)
7. Weekend Interlude
8. Price of Fame
9. Drinking Sessions (feat. Keyon Harrold)
10. The Light (feat. Bilal, Robert Glasper Jr., Kenneth Whalum & Burniss Earl Travis II)
11. Bury Me In Gold