Mississippi rapper Big K.R.I.T. has had busy last few years, releasing an album and/or mixtape each year since 2010. Cadillactica is K.R.I.T.’s first since his 2012 major label debut Live From the Underground. On this new project, K.R.I.T.’s ambition is apparent, as he aims to create a concept album taking place on the planet of Cadillactica. While these lofty goals bring about some great material, the project also comes with a set of significant flaws.
K.R.I.T.’s mic skills are undoubted, combining his diverse rapping style with intriguing lyrics and witty wordplay. On “King of the South”, one of the album’s best tracks, K.R.I.T. flexes his lyrical prowess and raps with such conviction that he actually makes a good argument for being the what the song claims. The beat suits K.R.I.T. well, and while it’s a relatively basic beat, K.R.I.T.’s skill is more than enough to make this track a definite standout.
However, lackluster beats are a common occurrence on Cadillactica. Those familiar with K.R.I.T.’s sound will find these beats to be very similar to his past projects, most likely because K.R.I.T. produces most of his own tracks. While these instrumentals are well produced and layered, they feel too similar to K.R.I.T.’s past work to truly be exciting. That’s not to say that these beats do not fit K.R.I.T. well. Though southern bangers and soulful ballads have become common fair in K.R.I.T.’s catalog, he seems to know what he’s good at and continues to stick with it.
The track “Saturdays = Celebration” features a great soulful hook by Jamie N Commons, and a powerful beat featuring a spacious piano run and resounding snare hits. K.R.I.T.’s verse is a definite standout on the album, as he battles with his inner demons and his faith. “Jesus walks so I run to him, how can they love me when I’m knowin’ what they done to him?” raps K.R.I.T.
The album is tied together loosely with a few skits that discuss life on the planet Cadillactica, which in turn provides a social commentary on human life. The concept is a nice touch, but it would have been great to see this theme expanded upon. The guest features are also a bit of a mixed bag on this project. The guest vocalists fit their respective tracks well, but most of the guest rappers don’t really add anything the project, including Lupe Fiasco’s incredibly lazy and uninspired verse on the album’s closer “Lost Generation”.
As mentioned, the album’s biggest problem results from it’s safe production. While it would have been great to hear a little more adventurous beat-making, Cadillactica still has plenty to enjoy, especially in K.R.I.T.’s rapping and in his excellent songwriting.
Standout Tracks: “King of the South”, “Saturdays = Celebration”, “Cadillactica”