16 November 2014

REVIEW: Big K.R.I.T. - Cadillactica

There's something about artists who are true students of the game that heightens anticipation for their next project. Big K.R.I.T. is someone who truly takes pride in his work and manages to capture that soulful southern vibe from the glory days of the Dungeon Family. He is the little brother of the south who is making a serious case for himself in becoming its next king. Every project he releases is in a league of its own, and his second studio album Cadillactica is no different.

The album kicks off with "Kreation," where K.R.I.T. talks about his creative process. Cadillactica in itself represents an uncharted planet that exists in K.R.I.T.'s mind where he goes to create. It is the planet where the Cadillac that crash landed on earth on the cover of Live From The Underground came from. As obscure as it sounds, this concept allows his music to be free and fearless, while still embodying that soul and funky "Cadillacmuzik" we've come to expect from him. Each song on the album is, in essence, him populating the planet. Five tracks in, the album really begins to hit its stride with his third single, "Soul Food" featuring the legend, Raphael Saadiq. It's songs like these where K.R.I.T. truly shines as an artist. When he's not making trunk bangers or defending his ability to rap with the best of them, K.R.I.T. hits this zone where his inspirations come out in his music. The smooth, soulful sounds he has mastered on previous mixtapes and his first album are taken to the next level on Cadillactica. From "Pay Attention" and "Mind Control," to tracks like "Mo Better Cool" and "Angels," there is no shortage of that relaxing vibe his music gives you.

Cadillactica still maintains a level of balance, though. There's a stigma that is automatically attached to rappers who come from where he is from, but he lays all negative stereotypes about southern rappers lacking lyricism to rest on tracks like "Mt. Olympus" and "King of the South." On the latter, some would say he is taking shots at the king of the past 10+ years, T.I., but it's far from a diss record. It's more of a reminder that being from a certain region doesn't automatically define your ability or creativety. On "Mt. Olympus," which was originally written as a response to Kendrick's "Control" verse, K.R.I.T. portrays himself as the rap god he feels that he is, and is atop the mountain kickin it with other gods in the game. His cadences and wordplay on these songs are some of the strongest displays of lyricism from anyone in recent years. Simply put, the man is just a beast.

The problem is, the game isn't necessarily built for cats like K.R.I.T. anymore. He continues to crank out quality projects every year, yet will probably never get the respect that is way overdue at this point. Maybe that is a symptom of him having the same manager as Ludacris, or the fact K.R.I.T. is simply a victim of being born 10-15 years too late in a game where his sound isn't as appreciated as it should be. Hopefully word of mouth and the internet will be enough to allow this great album to reach more than just his core fans, because the radio surely won't help. All in all, this is a very worthy follow-up to Live From The Underground, and any fan of hip-hop needs this in their collection.

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