Big K.R.I.T. Got Free, and Made The Best Music He’s Ever Made.
I’m from Jackson, Mississippi. Y’all know Mississippi: grow up in the church, get some good soul food, then you get older and leave like, “Christians are kinda crazy right now and that food ain’t that good for you. Maybe I should chill a bit on those.” I’m in Dallas, currently. Bought a house back in July.
Thinking a lot about what makes a home, I thought about where my love for music came from. My dad loves music, he still asks me from time to time if I’ve heard this or that. He’s big into Hip-Hop, and from what I can tell he loves the “hood shit.” There’s one song I remember so vividly ’cause he wouldn’t stop playing it one night, might’ve been on the Fourth of July. (I’m seeing fireworks when I think of it.) It was Drama’s “Left, Right” from his Causin’ Drama album back in 2000. See my dad was in the Persian Gulf War, a part of Operation Desert Storm, so I can see how he’d like this song and also tell us “hell nah y’all ain’t going into the military. I did that so y’all wouldn’t have to.” Good. I ain’t wanna go anyway.
I’m not into Rap f’real right now, but someone I’m always checking for is a rapper that’s been taking a minute to really get it right: Big K.R.I.T. Born Justin Scott about an hour and a half from Jackson in Meridian, he started his journey toward an aural auteur a while back, and made his last ditch effort with a mixtape called K.R.I.T Wuz Here in 2010. Since then, he put out banger after banger after banger. We’d call them mixtapes since, they’re free. But no, these were full-scale albums with their flaws to be sure, but they always had a great opening and ending. Mr. Scott closed this open loop for himself when he’d got on a label, got what he needed, then knew he had to leave. After two years and my constant anxiety for a new piece of the My Sub series, he drops 4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time.
You see all the growth right off the bat: it’s a double disc. There’s a “Big K.R.I.T.” side, and a “Justin Scott” side. (Rappers aren’t real, y’all. Remember that.) In every interview I’ve watched since it dropped, that’s the first thing that would come out of his mouth. It makes sense: those are also the names of the first tracks to each one, and it’s interesting when you play them together. “Big K.R.I.T.” starts off very calm, he flows pretty nicely. The beat continues to build and it’s very bombastic, reminiscent of that one guy that was a correctional officer. When he lets it go enough he asks, “where should we begin?”, and the beat drops. He’s now levitating over it, just flowing. Like it’s easy.
The “Justin Scott” track is a little different in significant ways. It starts off very soulful and like the very first track, continues to build throughout. But, he doesn’t rap on it. The only words on it is “Forever. Forever young. Forever. It’s a mighty long time.” Back when he was working on Cadillactica, he said how he wanted to pull back from producing a bit and focus on writing.
’Cause I’m being inspired musically by working with these guys. Even in the studio with Organized Noize, I’ve seen so much just by seeing how they interact. And how they make music and how they create.
Two of my favorite tracks on the album are at the end. The first one is “The Light.” This man pulled together all the dope jazz instrumentalists, the nouveau-crooner Bilal on vocals, and just very calmly glided across like on roller skates. I actually hope he does this a lot more. (Bro if you reading this do a jazz EP/LP/whatever. You got that juice.) The song right after that, the last one on this long journey of an album, is “Bury Me In Gold.” It feels like church and of course, he’s rapping about giving all his stuff to God when he dies, ’cause he’s good with himself.
A very good interview you should check out is the one he did with Peter Rosenberg. He said this:
Where I was from, they only played — the Top 10 records they played were from somewhere else. It wasn’t like a sound that we had.
I feel that, country cousin. I’m feeling like I want to make some sci-fi/fantasy, OG house music. I already know I won’t stop until I get it right.