Once an artist lends his life to the spotlight, slinking away to the darkness isn’t always an option. The chances to go away, create and produce material to be consumed without scrutiny no longer exist. Somehow, some way, Big K.R.I.T. managed to pull himself away from the demands of being a rapstar long enough to create 4evaNaDay.
With no featured artists – minus small assists from Willie B (saxophone) and Mike Hartnett (guitar) – the Mississippi MC went about building his latest project all on his own. Sealing off all outsiders allowed K.R.I.T. to create a work that has a first-album feel. While the music is fueled by the world around him, the final product isn’t necessarily meant to cater to anyone other than himself, as if there are years of untapped experiences that he wanted to share. A challenge for artists is to not make music they think listeners are in the mood to hear, but the truth is listeners don’t know what they want until it’s given to them to listen to. Throughout 4evaNaDay, none of K.R.I.T.’s vision is sacrificed to make a “club song,” or pen a track targeted for radio or women and no move seems label-directed. K.R.I.T.’s in that rarefied space – a deep, creative groove I tend to associate with Miles, ‘Trane, George Clinton/Parliament and maybe ‘Kast – where he relies on instinct, makes what he hears and leaves it to the listener to consume the material on his terms, not the other way around.
Instead, he digs into his deepest layers to address the pieces of the world most relevant to him. The production is rich and warm as always, but it’s the character of the content where K.R.I.T. continues to refine his approach. “The Alarm” plays like a “Man In The Mirror” moment meant to keep K.R.I.T. – and us as individuals – focused as life presents its challenges to our character. “The Package Store” covers the paradox played out on the tape’s artwork with a corner hustler playing the narrator who keeps a watchful eye over a preacher and exposing how similar they are. None of the tracks feel heavyhanded, and K.R.I.T. manages to make it out of his self-imposed seclusion to create rider-friendly moments like “1986″ and “Me And My Old School.”
What we’re seeing and hearing is an artist creating a defining catalog. The difference between now and most works pre-Internet is that the web has pulled the curtain back to make greatness appear commonplace through overexposure. But by closing out the world for a short spell, Big K.R.I.T.’s able to bring back artistry that’s been lost for so long with 4eva…