There is a reason why Mississippi rapper Big K.R.I.T. has such a large and loyal cult following. His follow-up to the 2012 retail album Live From the Underground, Cadillactica is nothing short of a solid, cohesive, futuristic-southern playlist that finds the southern emcee spitting some confident rhymes over progressive production. Easily one of the toughest and most anticipated projects of 2014, this latest album does not disappoint listeners at all. From the start of the project, Big K.R.I.T. takes listeners on a musical journey of tough bass and synth production that does not abandon his grass roots. Bringing in features from Rico Love, Raphael Saadiq, E-40, Wiz Khalifa, Bun B, Terrace Martin, Alex Da Kid, DJ Dahi, Lupe Fiasco, A$AP Ferg, Devin the Dude, and more to further accentuate this trunk-rattling ride to the fictional Cadillactica.
Big K.R.I.T. builds off the buzz from his previously released works King Remembered in Time mixtape and Live From the Underground and captures listeners attention, and keeps it, with the intro Kreation. Starting off smooth with a southern flow, rather than just ushering in some heavy-hitting bass and simple lyrics, K.R.I.T. wants fans to listen to the intelligent words he has to deliver. The self-reflective Life finds the southern emcee bringing in a humble and thankful rhyme over a low-riding beat.
It is not all personal and serious with Big K.R.I.T. After calming your hype and excitement, he comes through with that trunk-knocking, cadillac on chrome wheels, heavy bass anthem that fans also know Big K.R.I.T. for. Mind Control expands on a new sound and brings in E-40 and Wiz Khalifa for a fun party track. The appropriately titled My Sub Pt. 3 continues the series with a more refined spin. The track still has that muddy, gritty, hot funk that the “dirty south” has to offer. Big Sean takes on the series with a moderate flow but, not being from that background, it just does not move like Big K.R.I.T.’s. The following Cadillactica continues the same energy, while taking itself a little less serious and catchy.
After supplying listeners with that gritty, ignorant rhymes to turn the energy high, Big K.R.I.T. mellows listeners and educates with the elegant Soul Food. The chill, jazzy, soul blend lays a great groundwork for the young emcee to give a conscious rhyme. Lost Generation comes to the eardrums a little bit more aggressively as Lupe Fiasco and Krizzle exchange social conscious lyrics. Speaking to more than the ears but trying to reach out to the soul and spirit. Angels also is one of those “sit-down-and-really-listen” moments as he speaks on the lesser times in his life. Still keeping it light with an intro like “I think angels get high…”, the message all makes sense with a full listen. Saturdays=Celebration continues the same message of wishing for better, while evolving it into a piece about keeping the faith in God.
Big K.R.I.T. keeps enough of the intelligent rhymes and raw lyrics to keep listeners entertained, but not making the musical journey so serious. He keeps the wit, but makes it more about showing off his well-written flow and aggression. Although Lac Lac is a bonus track, it is solid and strong enough to be part of the main show. The track keeps that chill southern-vibe and K.R.I.T. delivers a quick word, tongue-twisting words. A$AP Ferg even delivers a Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony-inspired flow that blends so well with each drop of the beat.
King of the South turns up the energy a little bit more as K.R.I.T. pumps out his chest and commands dominance. This is still his show as he claims the title of “King of the South” with no trepidation. He is aggressive, confident, and has the lyrical skill to deliver more than just a boasting rhyme. Taking a minute to remind listeners that he is one of the strongest lyricists that have come out of the south since Outkast, the previously released Mt. Olympus finds the emcee calling out rappers, lazy pop-rap, addressing the foolishness of mainstream images, and establishing his throne on the terrain. Considering that the original was released a day after the deserving, hyped Control verse of Kendrick Lamar’s, Big K.R.I.T. was coming with one of his strongest flows of his career. This was the metaphorical equivalent of Krizzle slamming down his flag and claiming this lane of the rap game his.
As a whole Cadillactica is close to being his masterpiece. There are a few mishaps with Pay Attention and Third Eye. Both songs seemed more of a record label attempt to reach radio play than K.R.I.T. Even with the generic quality of the two songs, the catchiness and rhyme delivery make them good listens. Cadillactica manages to do what many artists are supposed to with a sophomore album. It is diverse, cohesive, well-written, and interesting piece of work. It gives die hard-fans the old K.R.I.T., while throwing in a new sound and still keeping it intelligent. The slow moments of the album still get the high-energy to not come across boring and the high-energy moments keep listeners hype without dumbing-down the lyrics. Definitely one of the strongest full lengths of 2014 and a perfect ride to this fictional, futuristic place.
Review By Tyler Cole