7 April, 2011@9:22 pm
In a span of mere months, producer/emcee Big K.R.I.T. has gone from a virtual unknown to an up and comer with an ever increasing fan base. Krizzle’s 2010 release K.R.I.T Wuz Here was one of the year’s biggest successes and surprises and brought hip-hop fans the kind of soulful, heartfelt record they clamor for. With Return Of 4 Eva, K.R.I.T returns with a much anticipated follow-up and attempts to re-create the magic.
Return Of 4 Eva is an example of an artist’s evolution. With the release of Return Of 4 Eva K.R.I.T not only follows up his impressive debut, but surpasses it. An apt comparison is the noticeable evolution that Outkast made from Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik to ATLiens. Where K.R.I.T Wuz Here sought to introduce Big K.R.I.T., Return Of 4 Eva seeks to define and establish his sound. The result is a laid back album to not only ride to, but vibe to. Perfect examples of this are within the first few tracks, as “Rise and Shine”, “R4 Theme Song”, “Rotation” and “My Sub” give the listener head nodding pleasure with a collection of soulful beats that flow perfectly, one after the next.
As he’s made the transition from an unknown artist to a buzz creating fan favorite, it’s evident that K.R.I.T. hasn’t forgotten his humble beginnings. With tracks such as “Dreamin”, “American Rapstar” and “Made Alot”, he not only details the struggles of an emcee on the grind, but also discusses how the burgeoning success leads to jealousy. The crafting of the tracks is noticeably clever, as the production is not only stellar, but the samples chosen for introductions and choruses assist in telling the story.
With Return Of 4 Eva K.R.I.T. sticks to his southern roots. Musically, at it’s heart, the south is more about soul than it is about the trap. “Sookie Now” (feat. David Banner), “Highs & Lows”, “Shake It” , “Get Right” and “Time Machine” (feat. Chamillionaire) are all perfect examples of the soulful but bouncy production perfect for late night rides and early morning headphone sessions. And while they are a notch below the previously mentioned tracks, “Amtrak” and “Players Ballad” fit well into the album as nice transition pieces.
While his production is lauded, Return Of 4 Eva also puts K.R.I.T.’s ability to write and talent as an emcee on display as well. “Free My Soul” and the “The Vent” are two of the album’s strong tracks as K.R.I.T. bares his soul. As these two tracks vie for top billing, the show is stolen by the standout track “Another Naive Individual Glorifying Greed and Ecouraging Racism”. The smooth horns highlight the amazing productio, but even they take a backseat to the strong message and lyrics. The impressive piece of the track is the ability of K.R.I.T. to not only speak about a social issue, but to do so while making it a track that listeners want to hear over and over again. Truly Amazing.
Whatever formula K.R.I.T. follows probably should not be changed. Return Of 4 Eva is not only a successful follow-up to an impressive debut, but a near classic record. The definition of a classic, in the mind of this reviewer, is an album that can be played from beginning to end, over and over, while remaining timeless. With Return Of 4 Eva, K.R.I.T. delivers an album that smoothly transitions from track to track, with each song melting into the next. Return Of 4 Eva is not only a fantastic album, but an experience that hip-hop fans should make sure they are part of.
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