Last time we heard from Justin Scott was 2014. Billed as Big K.R.I.T., the Mississippi native waits for just the right moment to release his music. The rapper-producer’s sophomore studio album Cadillactica was one of my year-end favorites. K.R.I.T.’s quadruple-threat approach makes him a rare specimen in today’s rap game. The soulful vibe and southern grit present in all of his projects leave him slept on by most rap fans. While he spits some of the most potent bars of his contemporaries, his efforts typically go unappreciated. More times than not, southern rap remains forgotten. Although Atlanta is one of the hubs of modern rap, hip-hop from other southern cities goes unnoticed. Mississippi rap would be nothing without Big K.R.I.T. as far as the mainstream is concerned. It’s a shame. However, at least there is an artist willing to accept the torch. And he does so with flair.
We’ve been waiting a mighty long time for K.R.I.T. to drop a new project. Due to his relative silence in the media, three years feels like forever. Nevertheless, this album kicks ass; I absolutely love this thing. 4eva is a Mighty Long Time blends all of Scott’s talents into one cohesive collection. K.R.I.T. is a much more capable singer than you might expect. He won’t wow you with robust vocals, but his voice has a smooth, rustic tone that flat-out works. He sings, he writes, he produces, and he raps at an elite level. This album clocks in at nearly 90 minutes. Initially, it worried me. Listening through these tracks brought a smile to my face, though. 22 tracks with only two skits is virtually impossible to pull off nowadays. But K.R.I.T. met and exceeded all possible expectations. Since I loved Cadillactica, I expected big things here. Color me impressed.
This double disc is greater than the sum of its parts, which is an extreme compliment. Every song boasts keen cultural commentary and reflective lyrical substance. Scott continuously speaks his mind and bares his soul, earning his seat among hip-hop’s best. Unlike many rapper-producers, he isn’t lost in his own sauce. His personal sound resonates throughout the track listing without dragging on or feeling redundant. The guests here are incredible too. Bun B, T.I., Lloyd and others make the most of their appearances. K.R.I.T. astutely chose his features to heighten each respective track’s sonic value. My favorite tracks are his solo ones, though. “Confetti,” “Layup,” and “Subenstein (My Sub IV)” anchor the first disc. “Subenstein” is the fourth installment of his “My Sub” series, and is arguably the best. The beat switch at the end is such a wave. “Layup” is my favorite track overall. The hook is buttery smooth.
The second disc features one of the best rap songs I’ve heard in 2017. “Mixed Messages” is a lyrical triumph. K.R.I.T. speaks for every self-aware rapper on the chorus. “I got a whole lot of mixed messages in my songs. Am I wrong to feel this way? Revolutionary, although I’m free. I got me a lover, but I still wanna cheat. Wanna be saved, but it’s F*ck the police. Don’t wanna be here, but I’m too scared to leave“. His vulnerability is admirable. The price of fame is one of contradiction, loneliness, and excess. Scott projects his emotions, hoping the truth will bring him comfort. He has shown with 4eva it takes time, guts, and honesty to build a classic. Despite an awkward lead single, Big K.R.I.T. doesn’t need a radio hit to propel him to the top. He only needs his sub, aux cord, and genuine artistry.