Big K.R.I.T. may well be ‘King of the South’


After nearly a decade of humility and hard work, Big K.R.I.T. has finally come to claim the throne of Southern hip-hop.

The Meridian, Mississippi rapper’s second record “Cadillactica” puts the rapper’s Southern charm on full display.  However, the album combines that charm with a newfound aggression and purpose as he seeks to prove that his less-than-stellar debut album “Live From the Underground” was a fluke.

For those unfamiliar with K.R.I.T and his sound, he is easily the best Southern rapper in hip-hop today. Picking up the torch that genre pioneers Outkast left behind, K.R.I.T. is a chameleon that is able to seamlessly combine trunk-rattling bangers with sensitive and thought-provoking conscious rap tracks.

Regardless of what style of song he finds himself on, K.R.I.T. never shies away from his Mississippi and Deep South roots as well as his love of cars, women and southern hip-hop.

With this background in mind, “Cadillactica” is a slight departure from K.R.I.T.’s typical sound. In the album, K.R.I.T. works with more collaborators than he usually does, including outside producers, a rarity for K.R.I.T. The album also features a more electronic sound, particularly due to the synths that are utilized frequently on the album.

As previously mentioned, K.R.I.T’s debut album had a lukewarm reception, as K.R.I.T tried to blend in more mainstream appeal to the Southern hip-hop he had perfected on mixtapes like my personal favorite
“Return of 4eva.”

So how does “Cadillactica” compare? Well, “Cadillactica” is best described as an album of two halves. The first half, featuring singles like the title track, “Pay Attention” and “Soul Food,” is some of the best K.R.I.T. material I have ever heard. Every song on the first half is stellar, featuring some of his best material since “Return of 4eva.”

The track “King of the South” is especially powerful, as it feels like the mission statement for the album. K.R.I.T’s previous material is marked by his humility, but it is refreshing to see an artist confidently, and correctly, state that he is the best at what he does.

The second half of the record is where the appeal of the album begins to wane. This is not to say that the material on this half of the record is bad – it’s not – but compared to the near perfection of the first half, the slight missteps in the second half become more glaring.

Ironically, “Cadillactica” suffers in dealing with the balance of the mainstream and underground influences that its predecessor did, but “Cadillactica” is weighed down by its conscious rap tracks as opposed to the
mainstream appeal.

My least favorite song on the album, “Saturdays = Celebration,” features a gratingly cheesy, bluesy vocal appearance from Jamie N Commons and a beat that tries too hard to be cinematic and instead feels
lame and forced.

Other songs such as “Angels” and “Third Eye” are quite good, but feel like less emotionally impacting versions of previous songs in
K.R.I.T.’s back catalogue.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed “Cadillactica.” K.R.I.T. has been a favorite of mine for quite some time and this record feels like a well-deserved celebration after the hard work and dedication K.R.I.T. has put into his material.

I highly recommend the deluxe edition of the album because it features two fantastic tracks that I wish could have made the record, a reinterpretation of the fiery “Mt. Olympus,” a response to Kendrick Lamar’s infamous “Control” verse, and “Lac Lac,” a delightful collaboration with A$AP Ferg.