There’s a certain threshold of talent required to get me to care about the connection between 808’s and sub woofers in a Cadillac with the candy paint. Big K.R.I.T. easily surpassed that threshold 30 seconds into “My Sub Pt. 3.”
Listening to a Big K.R.I.T. album has always felt like a peep into his soul and Cadillactica is no different. With this new album, the Mississippi native declares he’s not just an underground king he’s the king of the south. He’s not a fluke, he’s not a gimmick with a strong southern twain, he’s an immovable fixture of rap. K.R.I.T. invites listeners to his world of “Kreation,” vintage whips and third eye visions and once the album has a hold of you, you have no chance of being free till the last track ends.
Even when it seems K.R.I.T. is providing a simple hood anthem of materialism and flash, the country boy finds a way to give the song depth. With the track “Do You Love Me,” K.R.I.T. gives voice to his beloved Cadillac and speaks about the relationship between a driver and his car. K.R.I.T.’s fifth project is the perfect blend of southern grit, lyrical and intellectual prowess and unapologetic bravado. K.R.I.T. makes it clear in tracks “Mt. Olympus” and “King of the South” he has nothing left to prove. He’s giving you his all and his best because that’s what he does, not because he needs confirmation or affirmation from his peers or the critics—he’s great all on his own.
The harshness of K.R.I.T.’s Meridian accent partnered with the delicacy and intricacy of his lyrics creates a sound that I can’t say I’ve heard anywhere else. Songs “Mind Control” and “Mo Better Cool” immediately bring to mind Aquemini-era Outkast but make no mistake, K.R.I.T. is no knock-off, he’s very much the prototype of what a true artist who dares to call himself a rapper should be. He’s got the flow, the lyrics, the soul and the fight to be the best.
At some points of the album, you just want to sit back on your porch, kick your feet up and throw back a cold one as the sun sets while other parts of the album have you gripping the wheel of your car while you shout “BIG BANG HOE” with the windows rolled down. Even with the changes in mood the transitions never feel jolting or rattling every song feels as if its in proper place.
In recent years K.R.I.T. has collaborated with big name artists such as The Roots, E-40, Talib Kweli and Big Boi to name a few but there is no air of ego or selling out on this album. The passion for the game is still there, the commitment to lyricism is still there and, best of all, the country shit is still there. The last rap album that reaffirmed my constant “Rap isn’t Dead” campaign was good kid, m.A.A.d. city that was until Cadillactica graced my ear drums.
Features like A$AP Ferg and Rico Love gave me pause because their current body of work is not particularly impressive, but I now know better than to doubt K.R.I.T. Each feature is perfectly matched to its respective song and they all clearly brought their best to this album.
This album is perfect in almost every way. I can always do without the “I’ll take your bitch” choruses but music still has a ways to go before we see some gender equality. Even with the dashes of misogyny, Cadillactica shines because it, like most of K.R.I.T.’s work, is a love letter to his listeners and to where he’s from. This album doesn’t give me the “can he ever top this?” worries of m.A.A.d. city. The feeling I get after finishing this album is hope and eagerness because I can’t wait to see what else K.R.I.T. plans to give us in the future. Whatever it is, the speakers in my Chevy Impala and my iPhone will be ready but until then Cadillactica on repeat it is.