Following a successful run on Def Jam resulting in two albums that topped Billboard's Rap and R&B album charts, Mississippi rapper Big K.R.I.T. struck out on his own with his third proper full-length, which appeared on his own Multi Alumni label. The double album is by far his most personal work -- not for nothing does he title the first song "Big K.R.I.T." and another one "Justin Scott," his real name. He maintains complete creative control here, and is far more concerned with crafting something made to last than chasing trends. This is soul-searching Southern rap steeped in the tradition of OutKast
(who guest on "Ride wit Me"), and David Banner
, with gospel, funk, and the blues providing the backbone. The arrangements are filled with luscious guitars and soulful organ, sounding soothing and comforting without being too laid-back. The album isn't without its hard moments, however, and the first disc is filled with trunk-rattling bangers like "Subenstein (My Sub IV)." K.R.I.T. takes a lot of stylistic chances here, particularly on the album's more experimental second disc, but they always sound natural and honest. "Justin Scott" is a dose of Isaac Hayes
-inspired orchestral soul, with strings and vintage funk synths providing a bed for the choir vocals. K.R.I.T. knows how out of time this sounds, and he ends the track with a playful outro filled with voices pestering him to make something more radio-friendly, but it's obvious that he's making what's in his heart. "Aux Cord" is a winning, creative throwback jam, with shoutouts to everyone from B.B. King
to Raphael Saadiq
. "Price of Fame" is the album's most moving song, reflecting on severe depression and the downside of success. Even deeper into the album, "Drinking Sessions" and "The Light" are spiritual soul-jazz excursions with fluid drums and dusky horns, as well as introspective lyrics. 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time
is a mighty long album, at 20 songs and two brief skits, but K.R.I.T. clearly has a lot to say, and he expresses it with vigor and passion on this ambitious work.