Released November 11, 2014
- Kreation (Intro)
- My Sub, Pt. 3 (Big Bang)
- Soul Food feat. Raphael Saadiq
- Pay Attention feat. Rico Love
- King of the South
- Mind Control feat. E-40 & Wiz Khalifa
- Standby (Interlude) feat. Kenneth Whalum III
- Do You Love Me For Real feat. Mara Hruby
- Third Eye
- Mo Better Cool feat. Bun B, Devin The Dude & Big Sant
- Saturdays = Celebration
- Lost Generation feat. Lupe Fiasco
Cadillactica is Big K.R.I.T.’s second studio album under the Def Jam label. I’ve said before that people have criticized his first album Live From The Underground for not being better than his mixtape efforts. When I revisited the album, I noticed there was more anger and angst in that album that doesn’t exist in his other music. KRIT likes to use various jazz, blues, and soul samples that makes his mixtapes stand out. He wasn’t able to use those same samples on the album, cause when one samples for a commercial release, people want their money. Those legal roadblocks inevitably alters the music. Not only did the music didn’t sound like what he imagined it, but it had to bother KRIT in re-working those songs, thus explaining the anger.
Unfortunately, the 4EvaNaDay (pronounced Forever and a Day) mixtape was released a few months before his album. Normally, artists do that as a warm-up for the major release. 4EvaNaDay is still a quality project. I’ll go as far as saying it’s an incredible work. When it came to the album, it colored people’s perception of it. Instead of looking at the album on it’s own merits, it was compared to the mixtape. In retrospect, I still enjoy listening to the album, but it does pale in comparison to not only 4EvaNaDay, but the rest of his catalog. 4Eva had that signature sound with the samples, he sounded at ease, and it also felt like a proper progression of his music and artistry.
In every way, shape, and form, Cadillactica is huge step forward for the Mississippi rapper. No other release came in the way for this album so his attention wasn’t divided among multiple projects. He was able to better promote this album with most notably his Pay Attention tour. Not to mention he got a lot of buzz and press after releasing Mt. Olympus and had rode that wave up to this album.
The album itself revolves around a loose, but apparent concept. Cadillactica is a planet KRIT introduced from the first album. Throughout the album, he goes through the cycle of life of the planet, eventually destroying it at the end. It’s a clear progression in the album. The KRIT that we hear in the early moments of the album sounds different from the KRIT that ends it. A lot of modern-day releases are hit-and-miss when it comes to sequencing their tracks, but Cadillactica wouldn’t work as effectively as it does if something was out of order.
A change in KRIT’s approach to music is that he allowed people to produce music for the album. Although he still handled the majority of the production, he had four songs produced by others, and another he co-produced. One of them was the first single, Pay Attention featuring Rico Love. It’s an attempt for a larger KRIT presence in radio rotations. KRIT hasn’t sounded quite like this before, so it can be a bit jarring to hear him go down this route. By no means is it bad, it’s a serviceable song. In the scope of the album, it’s appropriate. He sounds more mature in this song than earlier in the album, which coincides with the concept of the cycle of life. For those who are worried that KRIT may have stretched himself and gone too far into trying for a pop hit, the rest of the album is there to satisfy that.
The next song, King of the South is KRIT back at the typical rap braggadocio, with a nice friendly jab at his label. One of my favorite songs on the album features his girlfriend Mara Hruby. Although he is equating a car to a woman, the hook reveals that the car itself is asking him if he loves her, changing the connotation of the song just enough to keep it interesting. There is also a good chemistry between the two on this song, leaving me hopeful they do more work together in the future.
The album ends strongly on the Lupe Fiasco-assisted, Lost Generations. After seeing what Cadillactica had turned into, KRIT has seen enough, and decided to leave it and to end it. The verse Lupe performs acts as the voices of the planet, claiming they have a direction, but in reality, they are simply lost. It closes out the album, giving it a satisfying end.
Cadillactica doesn’t feature those soulful samples KRIT uses on his mixtapes, and it would’ve been interesting to hear how they would’ve been used. But unlike Live From The Underground, Cadillactica doesn’t suffer from it. It’s clear that KRIT learned from that experience, and was able to balance the business with his music. Some may choose to ignore his first album, but without it, KRIT in all likelihood might have not done the great work he did here.
Welcome to Cadillactica.