By Toussaint Egan
Last December, I included Mississippi-based rapper Justin Scott’s (aka Big K.R.I.T.) Return of 4 Eva in my top recommended albums from 2011. Because I enjoyed that album so much, I thought it would be remiss of me not to check out Big K.R.I.T.’s immediate follow-up. Thankfully,4evaNaDay progresses naturally as a more fully formed successor to its hyper-energetic and boastful predecessor.
The intro track, “8:04 AM,” sets a somber and more reflective tone of entire mix tape. Between a soft piano interlude and an immersive field recording of rushing water and chirping birds, Krit reminisces on lessons of life and success, wondering where both will take him. “What a difference a day makes, what about all the effort that a day takes? The winding road of my uncertainty, that undying feeling of urgency, Did I do all that I could do to ensure my success, did I really give my all, and am I really at my best…today?”
There’s a pleasantly appealing and persistent transitional quality among the songs on 4evaNaDay, both musically and lyrically. Almost akin to that of a concept album, the songs chart Krit’s emotional growth as he reminisces on his early musical influences and aspirations, the death and loss of loved ones, the experience of his first car, the dissolution of past relationships and his eventual growth and maturation.
Smooth jazz is a dominant influence on the majority of songs here, perhaps with the occasional exception with songs like “4EvaNaDay (Theme)” and “Down & Out.” Krit has been commonly lauded for his consistent skills as a rapper, his adept choices for production and samples, and his strength in these areas continues to grow through this latest mixtape. His music emphasizes and injects a form of purpose and musical merit into the subgenre of Southern Hip-hop that hasn’t really been touched since the hey-day of Outkast. It’s refreshing to hear Krit stay so close to the roots of his musical origins while confidently moving forward to make his own name. He’s a lyricist first and foremost, an earnest storyteller whose faults may be reside in his flow, and his ability to conjure up humbling and compelling accounts of personal triumph through his lyrics and music.
Big Krit’s debut album from Def Jam Records, Live from the Underground, is due out later this year. If these last two mixtapes are any indication, 2012 is going to be a successful breakthrough year for this ambitious young artist.
Recommended Tracks: Yesterday, Boobie Miles, Me And My Old School, Red Eye, Handwriting