BIG K. R. I.T. WILL LIKELY WIN OVER throngs of curious new fans with “Keep the Devil Off,” the gospel-infused single from his latest album 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time, his first in three years. Meanwhile the LP’s other recent single, “Confetti,” has enough car references and braggadocio to satiate the Mississippi wordsmith and beatmaker’s longtime fans. And yet, K.R.I.T.’s finest moments on this behemoth 22-track album may very well be found on the subdued deep cut “Layup.”
“I’m excited about that song on a sleeper level,” K.R.I.T. (born Justin Scott) says of the breezy track, whose everyday hood details and aspirational chorus make it a worthy successor to Ice Cube’s “It Was a Good Day,” and OutKast’s “Git Up, Git Out.”
Of the song’s empowering elements, K.R.I.T. says he merely wanted to create a song that says: “Man, you deserve a layup if you’re out here hustlin.’ Go out and give it your all, and I hope you catch a layup, an easy basket, an easy win.”
For K.R.I.T., such lucky breaks came early on. “My grandmother allowed me to make music in her house, even though I was loud and cursed in my vocals, and did other things she frowned upon. Still, she let me be creative and grow as an artist in the kitchen of her home.”
Friends would later let him crash on their couches as he scraped by, building a steady following in the mixtape scene. After breaking through, he felt like he got layups through working with peers like Wiz Khalifa and idols like Bun B.
Now K.R.I.T. hopes to help rap’s next generation “catch a layup” as he puts it. He hopes to do so “just by giving back, helping other people figure out how to get their music out, being around people who are as passionate about music as I am. That’s where I’m getting my layups now.
“Material things don’t do it anymore, you realize, it comes from the energy that you share with people,” K.R.I.T. adds, before saying that 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time closing track “Bury Me in Gold” explores that notion.
“Once you acquire a certain amount of success and you realize it’s not enough, then you try to get more and that’s not enough, then you’re still searching to be complete, and a lot of that comes with interactions with people, with helping and giving. And that’s where you start to find some peace of mind,” K.R.I.T. says of that song’s themes. “I didn’t need all the accolades or material things. It’s more about being fulfilled, and living life being happily with what I’ve received, and giving that back tenfold.”