If you want to be a rap star in 2011, you gotta turn some heads. So how’s this for a big entrance? Small-town Mississippi rapper-producer comes galloping into the blogosphere on his high horse, satchel full of slow-burning beats, tsk-tsking anyone in pursuit of the celebrity that keeps haunting his daydreams.
That’s what Big K.R.I.T. is up to on his spectacular new mix tape “ Returnof4eva ,” a sprawling 21-track attempt to bring blind ambition into HD focus. As a producer, he’s a Southern traditionalist, aiming to eclipse OutKast’s most colorful moments. As a rapper, he’s vivid, introspective and consistently annoyed with the stars in his eyes. On “Free My Soul,” he boasts of a glimmering chain, a shiny Mercedes, a pair of Gucci loafers, but later shrugs, “I’m scared that it all ain’t enough to free my soul.”
Austerity like that posits K.R.I.T. as the South’s answer to Mos Def. But at his most self-righteous, the 24-year-old evokes a star with a much bigger mouth and even bigger dreams: Kanye West.