Monday, November 17, 2014

Review: "Cadillactica" Shows Room For Improvement

Last Tuesday, rapper Big K.R.I.T. released his second commercial album Cadillactica. K.R.I.T. had teased his fans with a week of six new singles last spring and a mixtape about a month beforehand. While many were excited for K.R.I.T.'s first album in over two years, I think Cadillactica was a bit disappointing.

The album's intro, "Kreation", begins with K.R.I.T. laying in bed with a woman, talking about creating a new planet. The song shows K.R.I.T. as a god, creating a new planet that he calls "Cadillactica". The idea of rapping from the point of view of a god would be an amazing concept, and could be expanded to space-age rap, but most of the album fails to mention this creation except for on a few songs, which is a shame. The planet "Cadillactica" is an obvious metaphor for creating an album, but this subject could be expanded much further. A few songs later, K.R.I.T. raps about his love for his car, but the lyricism is very repetitive on the tracks. On "My Sub Pt. 3 (Big Bang)", K.R.I.T. gloats about his car's speaker system, but he raps over a beat so stripped down and bass-heavy that it sounds unfinished. On the title track, K.R.I.T. showcases a strong flow, but the chorus "Cadillac lac lac, Cadillac lac lac, fuck your whip ni--a" is repetitive and boring. But, the next two songs are probably the strongest on the album. "Soul Food" has a gorgeous hook from Rapheal Saadiq, and the first released single features a nice chorus from Rico Love. The second half of the album is more introspective, and focuses on love and life. The album ends with K.R.I.T. destroying the planet he created.

The album has its strengths and weaknesses. The production is superb, and has some of the best beats I've heard all year. Jazzy, bass-heavy sounds make the album sound very futuristic and spacey, which fits well with the theme of Cadillactica. The features are hit-or-miss. A$AP Ferg delivers a very smooth verse on "Lac Lac", and Rico Love, Rapheal Saadiq, and Mara Hruby all have superb vocals, but the features on "Mind Control" sound unnecessary, and Jamie N Commons verse on "Saturdays=Celebration" almost ruins the amazing drum line. But what lacks the most is K.R.I.T.'s lyricism. There are barely any clever lines, and K.R.I.T. relays entirely on extended metaphors and storytelling. But this leads to boring songs and stumbled flows. K.R.I.T.'s technical ability needs a lot of work.

On the album, K.R.I.T. declares himself the "King of the South". With so much southern rap moving towards the street, trap-heavy Atlanta sound, K.R.I.T. probably is the king of the South. But with OutKast, UGK, and 8 Ball & MGJ mostly out of the rap game, K.R.I.T. is one of the only few carrying the true southern sound. And he'll have to work harder to keep it alive.

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