4eva Na Day
Big K.R.I.T. has the ability to make a trite line sound meaningful. Maybe it’s just because his emotionally forthright lyricism is a rarity in the rap world, but when K.R.I.T. delves into life’s hardships there is a deep sense of sincerity interwoven with his southern drawl. On paper he may not be saying anything profound; but he is saying exactly what he wants to say and exactly what needs to be said. K.R.I.T. is a master of honest reflection that also happens to make great beats. 4Eva Na Day, K.R.I.T.’s last free album before his Def Jam debut, is another collection of soulful and jazzy hip-hop that at times achieves the impact of its predecessors (notably Return of 4eva and Krit Wuz Here) but is ultimately a less jaw-dropping affair.
Beginning with the track “8:04 am” and ending with “5:04 am”, 4eva Na Day is meant to mirror a day in the life of K.R.I.T. Evidently, his days begin with a life assessment. 8:00 am is usually a little early for me to start being self-critical but I guess that would be the first in a long list of areas where me and K.R.I.T. differ (besides the penchant for large rims and full bodied woman there isn’t really much overlap). On “Wake Up” K.R.I.T. sings “thank god for the day/ thank god for the mornin/ won’t take things here for granted/ no, good lord, I gots to get on it”. The importance of self-motivation is the central theme of the album and probably the defining characteristic of K.R.I.T as an artist. His beats and cadence are both noteworthy but its the pervasive sense of drive and rejection of self-delusion that makes his work so gripping.
In the span of the first five tracks, K.R.I.T. works in a poignant tribute to his grandmother as well as the kind of anthemic tune only southern producers can achieve. The former, “Yesterday”, tells the story of a relationship through meaningful anecdotes and thoughtful reflection. K.R.I.T’s imagery is especially potent. When he thinks of his grandma he thinks of “an autumn breeze, knockin all the pecans out the trees” and “the smell of sweet potato pie”. While tracks like these are important on K.R.I.T.’s albums, it’s the “4EvaNaDay (Theme)”s of his oeuvre that really keep people coming back. The soulful vocal sample is spot on and one is immediately reminded that K.R.I.T’s production tendencies are deeply southern. He is a student of Organized Konfusion, Mannie Fresh, and Juicy J. The kicks are heavy, the snares are sharp, and the hi-hat is used liberally. It’s an energetic concoction that is best served loud. K.R.I.T. does it better than most; however, while his last two tapes were replete with bangers of this sort, 4Eva Na Day is more subdued. Partly because of this, the middle section of the album tends to drag.
Beginning with “1986”, the next six tracks are good, but not great. The choruses generally sound superfluous and K.R.I.T feels the need to return to the career-as-an-airplane metaphor. There are lines like “I’ve been poppin’ my collar since I fell out the womb” that keep things enjoyable but, as the tracks start to bleed into one another, the album loses some of its momentum. “Handwriting”, an intense rebuke of major labels, ends that trend. Recall that the album is meant to follow the arc of a day, meaning that by this time K.R.I.T has probably had a few drinks and calm reflection is being abandoned in favor of passionate opining. Complete with a sample of the classic Ann Peebles breakup song, “Handwriting” bemoans a label culture that requires artists to focus on making hits instead of crafting complete albums.
In a recent interview K.R.I.T assured his fans that whether he “has a hit single or not, [he's] still gonna work to touch people, to make music that people can relate to”. He understands that this is the crux of his appeal. Being himself, complete with his doubts, fears, and deficiencies, is the essence of his music. It’s hard to say whether his major label debut will carry on in that tradition; but, if it doesn’t, we’ll have 4Eva Na Day as a reminder of how good that tradition can be.
Stream and download ’4eva Na Day’ here.