As the Southern Republican primaries wind down, it's become abundantly clear how critical the buckle of the Bible belt is to politics -- and hip-hop. Mississippi-bred lyricist/producer Big K.R.I.T. set the internet ablaze last week with the release of his eagerly anticipated "mixtape," 4eva N a Day. Known for his bottom-heavy beats and introspective (and sometimes explicit) flow, K.R.I.T does not disappoint. The term mixtape is in quotes because anyone familiar with his work knows this latest effort isn't a bunch of random or throwaway tracks. The man is practically releasing albums that many would gladly pay for because they are that good.
Following in the tradition of his previous mixtapes, K.R.I.T. Wuz Here and Return of 4Eva, 4eva N a Day is chock full of robust bass lines, country twang, a hint of funk, and a bit of soul. At 17 songs and 50 minutes, K.R.I.T. does all the beats, all the rapping, and all the singing. He gives 100% authenticity and holds his own in a time when more established artists can't put out a solid 12 on a studio album. One thing K.R.I.T. has in common with fellow XXL freshman colleague Kendrick Lamar is that he is going the mixtape route before dropping his "official" studio album, no doubt increasing his stock amongst an industry looking for the next rap superstar.
K.R.I.T. gives us Southern gentlemen and country pimpin', like the merger of OutKast and UGK into one man. The result is tracks like "Red Eye," a melancholy, piano-and-drum cut, which focuses on the strain the music business puts on the relationships. This is the thoughtful K.R.I.T that was featured on The Roots' Undun album; he is all earnestness and poetry. This song is then balanced by the subtly kinky cut "Insomnia," a mellow stripper jam that would be right at home in the encore performance at your favorite strip club of choice. The groaning and guitar riffs at the end of the song would bring a freaky tear to the Purple One's mascaraed eyes.
More standard Southern fare includes "Me and My Old School," a wistful ode to candy-paint, wide-bodied vehicles, and "Sky Club," a light DJ-scratch and drumbeat groove over which he flexes his lyrical and crooning abilities. K.R.I.T. preaches in "The Alarm," tapping into the activist spirit of the Southern church and imploring listeners to wake up to the stark realities around them. Unafraid of going it alone, of speaking in his own unique voice, of mixing and matching sounds until they fit, K.R.I.T. goes above and beyond in providing his listeners with sweet relief from the barrage of mediocre rap out on the market today.
Big K.R.I.T. 4eva N a Day [Download]