Big K.R.I.T. is a rapper with very few vices. Sure, his carefree attitude and occasional codeine references are consistent with most up-and-coming MCs, but besides these infrequent mentions, he’s the closest thing to what hip-hop fans could call straight-edge. While the rest of southern rap remains fascinated by drug-themed lyrics, K.R.I.T.’s latest mixtape, 4Eva N A Day, is his conscious attempt to steer hip-hop in a more wholesome direction.
Unlike other young rappers who might only skim over the perfunctory lyrical concept of overcoming personal obstacles, K.R.I.T. makes a mixtape largely dedicated to the idea. But at times, he can’t help himself from falling into some stale hip-hop conventions. On “Handwriting,” he thumbs his nose at those nasty record execs who just can’t understand his so-called realness, and there are too many songs that dwell on the gentle quaintness of the southern lifestyle. Lyrically, it might border on filler material, but the production of nearly every track is impressive. His smooth voice and sharp accent nicely complement his self-produced beats, which often switch from funk to jazz to soul.
Optimism dominates most of the album, which not only shows enthusiasm for his own career prospects, but extends words of advice for his listeners too. K.R.I.T.’s soliloquy on the death of his mother in “Yesterday” is a brief digression from his positivity, but it’s prefaced and followed by two standout tracks (“Wake Up,” “Boobie Miles”) that balance these emotional opposites perfectly. His exuberance is refreshing, and his darker subject matter doesn’t sound forced or faked.
It’s the faith he holds in his audience and himself that makes it easy for the listener to enjoy his music. So even when he falls prey to occasional slip-ups and gimmicks, there’s enough here that makes Big K.R.I.T.’s story worth hearing.