Review Summary: New album, same old K.R.I.T.
If there was an award for hardest working man in hip-hop, Big K.R.I.T. would get it. K.R.I.T. has been steadily dropping at least one release a year since his 2010 debut K.R.I.T. Wuz Here as well as handling production for the likes of Rick Ross and A$AP Ferg and doing guest spots on tracks by A$AP Rocky, CunninLynguists and countless others. K.R.I.T keeps his streak of releasing new material annually alive for another year with his second major label full-length, Cadillactica. While Cadillactica, may have taken more time to put together and cover more diverse musical territory than any of K.R.I.T.'s other records, it has the exact same strengths and weaknesses as every one of his prior releases.
Cadillactica starts off a bang with a string of excellent tracks that sees K.R.I.T. once again checking all his usual musical boxes. Six of the first seven tracks are evenly divided between grimy, dirty south jams ("My Sub Pt. 3", "Cadillactica", "King of the South",) and conscious material ("Kreation","Life", "Soul Food"). All of these tracks are driven by K.R.I.T's effortless confidence on the mic and flawless production choices. K.R.I.T has stereo-thumping southern hip-hop and sharp, introspective storytelling down to an exact science at this point in his career. About the only surprise in the opening stretch of Cadillactica is "Pay Attention", a solid, radio-friendly anthem with a wildly catch hook from Rico Love. "Pay Attention" marks the only time on all of Cadillactica where K.R.I.T departs from his usual bag of tricks with any level of success
After album standout "King of the South", K.R.I.T. delves into experimental mode for the second half of the album, and the results are mostly underwhelming. A majority of these tracks see K.R.I.T. trying to appeal to the R&B crowd ,and it's just not a natural fit for him. "Do You Love Me" and "Third Eye" are grand-scale misfires that sound like rejected Chris Brown or Ne-Yo songs while "Angels" wastes a gorgeous beat from Terrace Martin on a song with a hook so sickeningly corny that it almost led me to puke on my keyboard. The swagger and natural confidence K.R.I.T. possesses on the earlier tracks is replaced with an overpowering aura of awkwardness and lack of aplomb in his rhymes. K.R.I.T quite simply doesn't have the vulnerable demeanor or singing capabilities to pull off these pure pop and R&B tracks. K.R.I.T. is an artist with a well-established comfort zone and when he leaves it, he pretty much always falters.
In typical K.R.I.T. fashion, there's also a number of awful guest spots to drag the down the overall quality of the music. E-40 and Wiz Khalifia each drop predictably bland verses on "Mind Control" that basically kill the song before it gets a chance to get going. At least "Mind Control" was DOA from the start, "Mo Better Cool" starts off strong with a top-notch verse from K.R.I.T., only to come to a screeching halt when Bun B and Big Sant finish up the song with a pair of atrocious verses. Bun B and Big Sant are typically pretty decent, it's just that their contributions here come off as rushed and lack any semblance of the fire K.R.I.T.'s verse has. K.R.I.T. has struggled with weak guest spots his entire career, and it's easily the number one issue he needs to address on his next project.
Cadillactica is another solid yet incredibly frustrating album from Big K.R.I.T. While there's plenty of moments of brilliance on the first half and tail-end of the record, there's an abundance of average-to-bad tracks along the way that drag down the overall quality substantially . If K.R.I.T. cut out the filler, Cadillactica would without question be amongst the strongest hip-hop releases of 2014. K.R.I.T. is a very talented artist whose shown flashes of serious potential throughout his career, but until he makes a more consistent album, he won't come close to touching modern hip-hop's elite artists.