Big K.R.I.T’s 4eva is a Mighty Long Time is two sides of a coin: an ambitious double album in which the first disc is all boisterous rap fantasy, and the second is a surprisingly vulnerable and introspective suite of songs. This is an album well versed in the mythology of southern hip-hop: candy-painted rims, trunk-knocking bass, big cars, fat stacks and strip clubs. And 4eva pays all dues to the legacy of the genre, with features from Southern legends like Bun B, Cee-Lo, and T.I.
KRIT has learned from the best how to execute the vernacular gymnastics of Southern rap. In the south, rap is as much about how you said something as what you actually said. The slang is infinite, and the accent as slippery as hot butter. Rims are reeeeeems, window is winduh, ‘doubt’ is made to somehow rhyme with ‘not’. Sometimes, like on ‘Miss Georgia Fornia’, the language has been bent so much that the rhymes only half make sense when you see them transcribed on a page.
KRIT is as good as anyone at playing with language in this way. While his lyrics are always solid, it is his delivery that really sets him apart: sometimes when listening to 4eva is a Mighty Long Time, I find myself just tuned in to the intoxicating blend of rolled and slurred syllables coming out of the man’s mouth, or the silky smooth production, the majority of which he handled himself.
Disc one ticks all the boxes of a great Southern hip-hop album. It opens with ‘Big K.R.I.T’, a gospel-tinged intro which features some fiery flows in the second half, then segways into the chest-thumping trap single ‘Confetti’. There’s the gloriously obnoxious ‘Big Bank’, and the absolutely filthy strip club anthem ‘1999’, in which Lloyd drops a guest verse so lewd it could make a grown man blush. There’s the G-funk groove of ‘Ride Wit Me’, and then the funky ‘Aux Cord’, which is an ode to all of K.R.I.T’s favourite musicians.
But disc two is where 4eva is a Mighty Long Time really comes into its own. It is named not for Big K.R.I.T but for Justin Scott, the man behind the rap persona. And in it, Scott muses intimately on topics like religion, love, friendship, fame, and music. On ‘Mixed Messages’, he admits to feeling conflicted over which direction to take his music in: ‘I got a whole lotta mixed messages in my songs / Am I wrong to feel this way?’
We can see that confliction play out over the album’s two discs, but Scott needn’t worry. On 4eva is a Mighty Long Time, he paints two very different sides of his personality with consummate elegance, creating an album of big-ballin’ rap philosophy that is bombastic and thoughtful in equal measure. Bravo.