It’s difficult to state this without sounding negative, and those who read the feature on Logic’s record a few weeks ago will recognize this sentiment, however I feel that if Cadillactica, the 2nd studio LP from Big K.R.I.T., had been released in any other year, it may not have even been on the radar. But this is 2014, and with the possible exception of Nas’ Illmatic and Freddie Gibbs’ Pinata, there really hasn’t been a clear cut “year defining record”. Let’s face it, 2014 has been a slow year in hip hop.
The absence of a major, genre defining release this year has, however, really opened up the flood gates for critics and hip hop fans alike to explore and put more emphasis on what may have otherwise been pretty underground releases – this also gives little known artists the opportunity to impress.
Cadillactica impressed me. This record has an amazing southern flair, but you’d excuse the listener if they heard a West Coast influence when it comes to beat and choice of synths.
This isn’t to say that Big K.R.I.T. has left his Mississippi roots behind; hell no, far from it. The best songs on this (Mind Control, Soul Food, Pay Attention) come straight from these roots. However, if you peel away the layers of these dripping southern bangers you’ll find a P-funk bass line, a southern California synth and an R&B gospel chorus that, sure came from the south, but reminds one more of the Chicago or mid-west soul scene.
K.R.I.T. backs this up, saying in an article with HipHopDX, “I’m keeping it soulful, and I’m also really working with a lot of producers as well. So it’s exciting, that I finally get to sit back and be a rapper. I’m used to being in front of the boards. I’m so used to mixing and so used to producing a record that sometimes it takes away from the creativity, or it takes me longer to create. Now I’m getting the opportunity to be in the studio with some dope producers. You know, Terrace Martin, DJ Dahi, Chad Hugo and people like this. It’s just different, because they work differently. The production they do is different, and the sounds they use and what they all sought from me was the kind of music I make. So we just instantly vibe with what we come up with.”
The best track on this record, and the best representation of Big K.R.I.T’s new found synthesis of styles, is clearly “Mind Control”. Pulling absolutely no punches this tune reminds me of driving from Jackson to Mobile in the middle of the night to get to my grandparents place absolutely blaring Stankonia on the walkman.
Overall, this record isn’t going to set any records or go down in history, but it’s just a great record to play really freaking loud. Preferably with a couple 15’s in the trunk.