Big K.R.I.T. • Cadillactica • Def Jam • US Release Date: November 10, 2014
On his debut Live From The Underground, Meridian, Mississippi MC Big K.R.I.T. kept things old school – a good look for the rapper/producer. That said Live From The Underground didn’t exactly rack up the sales or RIAA certifications. Still, despite its modest chart performance, K.R.I.T.’s sophomore album Cadillactica is highly anticipated. That doesn’t mean it was expected to set the charts ablaze, but in a year lacking in the hip-hop department (until late), Cadillactica is kind of a big deal.
Cadillactica eclipses Live From The Underground, and that’s saying something. More conceptual, while the old school handprint hasn’t disappeared, K.R.I.T. gives his audience something more conceptual. This is obvious on the intro “Kreation,” where K.R.I.T. brilliantly references the Biblical creation (“And let us not pretend that we ain’t made in God’s image”) as well as sex (“These hands of mine can hold the weight of planets…of explosions and vibrant emotions that we know we could / explore the out most with no risks…”).
On “Life,” an inspired K.R.I.T. spits, “I found life, in the darkest of times / how can I describe what’s God’s design / with these faulty eyes that often lie.” K.R.I.T.’s lyrical depth is particularly noteworthy here, as the MC eschews shallowness in favor of the thought provoking. How many rappers are spitting about a new planet named Cadillactica? Only Big K.R.I.T.!
“My Sub, Pt. 3 (Big Bang)” is definitely the banger among the album, but what makes a somewhat shallower cut more clever is the way he’s tied it into the concept of the album. Just subtitling the cut “Big Bang” adds another dimension had K.R.I.T. just delivered the latest “My Sub” cut. The title track follows, appropriately, with K.R.I.T. opening the first verse with “Uh, what you think a real n***a rap for? / so I can roll around in a RAV4? Never that / Cadillac pimped out, fish bowl, true vogues / fifteens, but I had to go and get two more.” Yep, “Cadillactica” alright – “F*ck yo whip n***a!”
As good as “My Sub” and “Cadillactica” are, “Soul Food,” featuring Raphael Saadiq trumps them both. Drenched in southern soul, “Soul Food” sounds just as tasty as the real thing. The song obviously transcends literal food, exemplified by rhymes like “Thrown away half eaten as if their seeds never mattered / it ain’t ripe, it ain’t right / that’s why most people don’t make love no more / they just f*ck and fight.” K.R.I.T. definitely is gifted with words.
Rico Love sounds smooth on his guest spot on “Pay Attention,” the lead single from Cadillactica. Definitely the most ‘commercial’ track of the album, “Pay Attention” is sound through and through, if less exceptional than the more thought provoking numbers. “King Of The South” is the more dynamic cut, led by infectious lyric, “Grew up on the country side of town…king of the south, king of the south, king of the south.” A home run, by all means, K.R.I.T. is on autopilot – no doubt about it.
If his agility wasn’t already enough on “King Of The South,” Big K.R.I.T. remains on fire on “Mind Control,” which plays up the luxurious southern sound magnificently. Again laced with top-notch lyricism, the hook latches immediately: “Searching for a freak that’s geeked and bound to let me tweak her / mind, her mind, her mind, her mind, her mind.” K.R.I.T. gets the assist from E-40 and Wiz Khalifa.
Following the “Standby (Interlude),” K.R.I.T. is assisted by Mara Hruby on the lush “Do You Love Me,” which is all about love and sex. K.R.I.T. pulls the old car/girl comparison trick. It probably shouldn’t work (the car thing that is), but it does, particularly given the backing instrumental and Hruby’s seductive vocals. Keeping in step with romance, “Third Eye” maintains a sensitivity about it – it goes beyond the a puppy dog crush. Sure, K.R.I.T. excuses his ‘love at first sight’ (“Pardon if I fall in love too soon”), but his adoration does seem transcendent of lust.
“Mo Better Cool” enlists the services of an all-star cast that includes Devin The Dude, Big Sant & Bun B. If “Do You Love Me” and “Third Eye” had drifted from ‘old school’ sensibilities in a sense, “Mo Better Cool” reestablishes K.R.I.T.’s brand. “Angels” keeps the momentum strong, aided as much by K.R.I.T.’s flow as by the soulful production work. The classicism and how K.R.I.T. respects it is superb. The hook is a winner: “I think angels get high / cause I can’t describe all these clouds in the sky / I think God must have cried / Cause I can’t describe all this rain my life.”
Closing cuts “Saturdays = Celebration” (featuring Jamie N Commons) and “Lost Generation” (featuring Lupe Fiasco) conclude Cadillactica epically. Both cuts show that Big K.R.I.T. was extremely focused on making Cadillactica an album to remember. The thoughtfulness is appreciated and highly regarded by all means.
Ultimately, Cadillactica easily cements itself as one of the year’s triumphant rap albums. Like Logic on his superb Under Pressure, Big K.R.I.T. has constructed an album that goes above and beyond the expectations. Yes, Big K.R.I.T. has his shallower moments, but even those are delivered with care and seem to fit without a hitch. Cadillactica will likely be underrated, but it definitely shouldn’t be. Big K.R.I.T. is the real deal.
Favorites: “Life,” “Soul Food,” “King Of The South,” “Mind Control,” “Angels,” “Saturdays = Celebration”