Acclaimed Mississippi MC and producer Big K.R.I.T. has called his new LP 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time, and it's appropriate; this is a huge, 22-track double album.
Yet unlike most double LPs, 4eva hardly ever drags and isn't rife with filler. That can be chalked up, in part, to the compelling conceptual bent here: the first half of the LP is the "Big K.R.I.T." side, filled with the aggression and bluster that his stage persona requires to entertain fans; the second shares his given name, Justin Scott, and is more nuanced and introspective.
You can probably already guess that the "K.R.I.T." side is plenty of fun, with tracks like "Confetti" readymade to rattle your vehicle as you cruise down the street, its piano-laden, block-rocking instrumental and punch lines about "fucking the world" until he's "busting the center" blasting.
Yet the "Justin Scott" side is every bit as thrilling. It includes "Keep the Devil Off," a bluesy, gospel vocals-laden track that seamlessly blends rap's past and future, with an upbeat, "hallelujah!" rhythm. Good as that is, it's rivalled by other astounding tracks like "The Light," which features the cascading piano notes of jazz star Robert Glasper and the buttery crooning of Bilal, both Grammy winners who play here with a cabaret-ready band that uses vibrato that feels like fluttering butterflies in your stomach.
It's enthralling on a sonic level, but K.R.I.T. keeps up lyrically, his flow more than malleable enough to fit with the jazzy groove. K.R.I.T. and Jill Scott provide another fantastic collaboration on "Higher Calling," where they trade verses like an old couple that intuitively understand each other, effortlessly pouring out metaphors about water, gardens and replenishing deeply rooted romance.
There are plenty of other highlights to be raved about in 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time's massive tracklist. Do yourself a favour: pick up this LP and immerse yourself not only in its impressive breadth, but also its practically unparalleled depth. (BMG)