Big K.R.I.T. Cruises Cadillactica

Mashing Outkast’s Stankonia and any 8Ball & MJG album

Breaking through while maintaining your essence remains the most difficult task in hip-hop. When your major label debut (Live from the Underground) isn’t the critical or commercial success anticipated, an automatic hedging into commercialism generally follows. Mississippi MC Big K.R.I.T. bucks the trend on follow-up Cadillactica.

From the jump, with “Life,” he ventures deeper into himself:

“Transmission, I missed my mark day one.
I was so close to the sun, I burnt the top off my roof.
I traveled a million miles to uncover what most would doubt.
Although I believe in God, I need proof.”

Standout single, the title track flexes incredible wordplay. Clever bits of hood existentialism show up on the adjoining skit, concerning a questionable drive-thru that offers “low self-esteem, famine, [a DNA test], or a biscuit.” (“Hell nah!”) The Raphael Saadiq-assisted “Soul Food” then brings out the heavy artillery, as the Southern wordsmith pines:

“The acrobats on the corner, they flip.
So when them white vans pull up, shawty, we dip.
Out of view, could’ve been a track star at the school.
But it took the police just to get that .44 out of you.”

(Sit on that a second.)

The emotional “Saturdays = Celebration” features Jamie N Commons alongside K.R.I.T rapping on his battle with alcoholism:

“I made it, I’m home, sick of lyin’, safe and sound.
Battle with drinking, so please don’t pour me no liquor.
Out... on the curb, fight the urge to go retaliate.
Carry on, just be strong enough to walk away.”

Unable to clear a sample in the original version of “Mt. Olympus,” K.R.I.T. goes on the offensive over DJ Dahi’s new production:

“I ain’t got time
To watch out for children, stay out my kitchen.
The shit that I’m cookin’ ain't meant for your kind.
Crackin’ and bashin’ the shit out your spine.”

Playing somewhere between Outkast’s Stankonia and any 8Ball & MJG album, Cadillactica stays on course thematically, lyrics stacking up with any MC on the planet. The project maintains a warm Southern feel without the pinches of hokiness. The country boy remains the country boy, but he knows he’s got a city game – and you believe it.

With or without “two 15s” in the trunk, listeners be in neck-snapping mode. Big K.R.I.T. (Justin Scott) succeeds in his aim for elevation, resting this sophomore disc just high enough for a new audience to want to reach for it. Your speakers should be grounded, and your mind open.

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More Big K.R.I.T.
ACL Live Shot: Big K.R.I.T.
Big K.R.I.T.
Zilker Park, Oct. 13

Chase Hoffberger, Oct. 19, 2012

ACL Music Fest Saturday Reviews
Big K.R.I.T.
Live from the Underground (Record Review)

Chase Hoffberger, Oct. 12, 2012

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Big K.R.I.T., Outkast, 8Ball & MJG, Jamie N Commons, Raphael Saadiq, DJ Dahi

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