By the time Mississippi producer/rapper Big K.R.I.T. asks fans to shell out for his label debut “Live from the Underground” this summer, the public will have been spoiled by a pile of free mix tapes, a few of which are excellent, fully formed albums. There’s 2010’s critically acclaimed “K.R.I.T Wuz Here,” then 2011’s “Return of 4Eva,” which rivaled most label releases last year with its forceful rhymes and K.R.I.T’s solid production. Now there’s “4eva N a Day.”
The disc finds K.R.I.T. especially laid-back and introspective — even the beats lean jazzier than usual. It’s the perfect prequel to a big, fancy label album — an amazing piece of work built with little more than his considerable production skills, voice and life story.
The project is loosely built around a day in the life of the artist (it starts with him waking up, on “8:04 AM,” and wraps with tracks “5:04 AM” and “The Alarm”) and features keen observations on fame, rap, love, success, family, God and the South. Full of third coast pride, he’s a loving but unforgiving chronicler of life in Mississippi on tracks such as “Package Store,” (that’s liquor store, city dwellers), which he rightfully paints as a place where troubled souls converge to get “wine for spirits.” On “Country Rap Tunes,” K.R.I.T., who pays subtle tribute to the lions of Southern hip-hop throughout “4Eva,” says he wants to “show the world that it’s mo’ to us country folk,” directly addressing the five people in the world still insisting on Southern rap’s inferiority. “Boobie Miles” and “Handwriting” are standout companion pieces that speak to anyone who has ever wanted to give up on a dream. On the former, K.R.I.T. becomes Tony Robbins with a drawl — in full-on motivational mode, he rhymes that “the only difference ’tween a winner and a loser is a winner plays until he wins.” On “Handwriting,” those abstract thoughts on perseverance become deeply personal as K.R.I.T. outlines his struggles in the music industry and details how a dude with a thick accent and no deal went on to become a rising star who managed to drop two complete albums “minus label support.” Make that three.
Big K.R.I.T. will perform at the Fillmore Silver Spring on March 23.
“Boobie Miles,” “Handwriting,” “Package Store,” “Country Rap Tunes”