Big K.RI.T. has really been earning himself the name of the ‘King Of The South’ in the underground over the last few years and he knows it. Over the last few years he’s dropping mix tapes every year each of them with his own distinctive style on the production and showing that he has the ability to spit great bars drawing in influences from some of Southern Hip Hop’s greatest artists like Outkast and Kanye West. Mix tapes like ‘4eva In A Day’ and ‘Return Of 4Eva’ showed the world that this man has the ability to make great rap music that could easily be played on radio without dumbing down lyrics even when the subject matters aren’t that deep. His debut studio album had some moments that were disappointing to fans due to it’s overly pandering too far to the radio but with Big K.R.I.T.’s genuine care for his fans he’s completed taken that on board for this record. If there’s anyone who’s earnt the right to say he’s the king of the south it’s him, down to his work ethic.
K.R.I.T. ‘s work ethic is both a blessing and a curse for him. The first track opens with a female voice that we can assume is in his head telling him to create like a constant itch he has to better himself in everything he does. It’s a song about his perfectionism as he spits about how if we were made in God’s image then lets take full advantage of that and be perfect. His perfectionism on this album has found K.R.I.T. wanting to better himself as a lyrical MC, so has him giving more power to other producers more than any of his previous projects. He still handles the vast majority of production on here but has given himself more time to perfect his style as an MC.
As a result of these things Cadillactica feels like the most ambitious effort from Big K.R.I.T. so far in his quite large discography. He tackles much more themes and topics and expands on common themes from his previous projects. A lot of these concepts are all thrown together through this rather bizarre concept which is based in this planet called Cadillactica, which is where the original of all funk comes from. The protagonist is a Cadillac (Of Course) and represents K.R.I.T.’s inner conscience. It sounds completely ridiculous and non nonsensical, and in a way it is, but it’s done in a way that’s quite brilliant. The song ‘Life’ has the Cadillac floating through space dodging comets and stars while marveling at the beauty of life in general, there are metaphors like these littered throughout the record. He also uses this concept as a way of just honestly having a good time like the song straight after ‘My Sub, Pt. 3 (Big Bang)’ which is the third ode to his sub-woofers. He makes out that the 808 drums are all the happiness you need in life when you live Cadillactica, whereas on the title track on the album it has the planet reference Deep South culture where they hit strip clubs. It’s radio friendly music done in one of the more clever ways you’ll find. Even the tracks that aren’t entirely tied in that obviously with the theme are still lyrically golden here, the track ‘Soul Food’ has him spitting the lines ‘Most people don’t make love no more, they just fuck and they fight/ What happened to the stay-togethers?/ Die with you, and that means forever/ Grandparents had that kind of bond, but now we on some other shit’.
The production on here is very ambitious as well, a lot of these tracks really do have that outer space atmosphere going on. There are lush synths on the title track as well as pounding drums on the track ‘Life’ as well as having them on the penultimate track on here ‘Saturday’s a Celebration’ which features British singer Jamie N Commons singing the hook. While this track remained jarring at first the instrumentation really complemented the way in which Big K.R.I.T. delivered his verses on his fear of death. All of the production really does feel like the sound of exploration, maybe it’s not on the level that someone like Flying Lotus could do it but it really is solid throughout the record. Strangely a lot of the tracks where K.R.I.T. lets others on the production are where the record really shines, and his plan fully worked.
After the near perfect first half to the world of Cadillactica things do start to fall off a bit though. For a start all of the guest verses on here do feel pretty much unneeded starting with the worst of them all which is Wiz Khalifa. Not only is Wiz’s verse not even on topic with the song, but it’s just extremely uncharacteristic, especially when put on an album filled where Big K.R.I.T. is spitting with pure passion a lot of the time.Not only that but the song ‘Mo Better Cool’ feels like it was only put on here because he had the guest verses, with the production sounding strikingly similar to previous releases. It’s the one area where you feel K.R.I.T.’s perfectionism didn’t step up to take over and it was detrimental, which is a shame because his production gamble really did work. The track ‘Pay Attention’ seems strangely surface level compared to a lot of the other stuff on the album as well. Some of the hooks on here are a bit hit or miss as well such as the song ‘Do You Love Me For Real’ which has just a typical female hook over some production that of course is stellar.
Cadillactica won’t go down as a classic album, but it is certainly a big leap for Big K.R.I.T. in terms of ambition and a way of getting what he is about across to people. There are a few moments that could have been cut out or changed round a bit on here, but with most big changes comes a few missteps. This album will serve as the second chapter of K.R.I.T.’s career where hopefully he will truly break out into the mainstream and claim his crown as one of the kings of the rap game, instead of just king of the south.