Return Of 4Eva [Album Review]
It’s amazing how quickly one’s fortunes can change. At his breaking point, Big K.R.I.T./ released his street album K.R.I.T. Wuz Here on May 4th, 2010 in hopes that the stars would at last align in his favor and the music industry would recognize his abilities, both as an emcee and producer. Fast forward to March 28th, 2011. He’s been deemed one of XXL’s 11 Freshman, inked a deal with Sha Money XL and Def Jam and has readied a second street album titled Return Of 4Eva to prove his first masterpiece was no lightning in a bottle.
From the organic onset of ‘Rise & Shine’, it is clear that K.R.I.T. is a true music historian and well aware of his Southern roots. ‘Shine’ sounds as if he recorded alongside OutKast in the studio recording sessions for ATLiens as he seeks to wake up those still sleeping on his immense talents. ‘Another Naïve Individual Glorifying Greed & Encouraging Racism’ sees the emcee address the stereotypical Black male and the actions that follow his footsteps daily down his path of self-destruction. It is the closing records ‘Free My Soul’ and ‘The Vent’, however, that show the Southern emcee at his peak as the former sees him recognizing his increasing success while being wary of potential fallacies and the latter sees him spill some of his most sincere rhymes on wax:
“I saw love in the eyes of a perfect stranger /
She overlooked my caring heart in search of a gangster /
Will we ever be together? Only time will tell /
She called my phone and talked to me as her eyes would swell /
I put my problems, in a box, beside my tightest rhymes /
Under lock and key, buried off up in my mind /
And when it gets too full and I can’t close the lid /
I spazz on my family and my closest friends /
Trade my materials for a piece of mind /
I’m so close to heaven. Hell, I just need some time /
Who cares about life and the highs and lows? /
Maybe I should write another song about pimps and hoes /
Cars and clothes, idle gods, golden calves, Louis scarves”
Return of 4Eva’s not all serious, of course. ‘Rotation’ is a groovy number, perfect for gliding around the city in a caddy car while ‘My Sub’ finds K.R.I.T. exercising the stop-and-start flow in an ode to subwoofers before closing the record with an utterly gorgeous breakdown of a Regina Belle sample. K.R.I.T. also demonstrates his ability to reach the female audience, dropping seductive rhymes on ‘Highs & Lows’. The cinematic trunk–thumping ‘Amtrak’, on the other hand, sounds like a B-Side to Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Pusherman’ as K.R.I.T. ushers a young lady into the pimp game ever so subtly that it would make Max Julien stop and shed a tear.
Guest appearances are few, but each manages to compliment the Meridian, Mississippi native quite well. Chamillionaire offers a rewind-worthy cameo on the retrograde reflective known as ‘Time Machine’ while fellow Mississippi brethren David Banner hops on the country fried anthem ‘Sookie Now’. Big Sant offers a show stealing bombast of confidence and braggadocios on ‘Made Alot’, which answers whether Sant and K.R.I.T. have changed since their newfound success.
On ‘King’s Blues’, K.R.I.T. poignantly asks “what’s a king without no crown”? Despite being unrecognizable, he remains a king. K.R.I.T. makes honest, personable art, and it is this ability to “make you feel him like Braille”, which makes him so adored by an ever-growing fanbase. With Return Of 4Eva, K.R.I.T. embeds yet another precious stone into his crown in his never-ending quest to ensure he remains a king remembered in time. Constructing a masterpiece on his forthcoming Def Jam debut (his third overall album, alongside K.R.I.T. Wuz Here and Return) would complete the hat trick and go a long way in paving his growing legacy as the premier voice of the South.
5 spins (out of 5)