Hip Hop

Big K.R.I.T. Cadillactica Album Review

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As Mississippi rapper Big K.R.I.T. geared up for his second album release titled Cadillactica, fans and critics alike pondered the musical direction Krizzle would take next. Live From the Underground failed to live up to the lofty expectations listeners placed upon it, as Krit’s music began to follow a predictable pattern. Progression was desired, something Cadillactica aims to appease.

Cadillactica is the wild ride through an imaginary planet within Krit’s mind. The planet itself is symbolic of life, with Krit rolling his candy painted caddy through the geographic ebbs and flows of existence. Even more so, it is a personal album about the hardships of growing old. Gone is the “soul food” we are accustomed to as youngsters and in comes the struggles of carving your own path within a very different looking society. Relationship struggles, societal issues and cultural shortcomings all rotate within Krit’s mind, helping shape the perception of Cadillactica from its creation to the destruction of the planet. Without further ado, a track by track breakdown of Cadillactica. 

1. Kreation (Intro):

This song is literally the birth of both the planet Cadillactica and the creative process within Krit’s mind, a soothing and soulful introduction into the rapper’s world. Krit’s pursuit of perfection is echoed throughout the track, something he seeks for both the planet he has created as well as his music. Strong intro.

2. Life

Krit oozes passion in this haunting anthem, searching for deeper meanings in both his own life and the life of the planet he has created. Krit also makes it clear that while life may be hard, he appreciates the chance to live it. Solid track with Krit showing off his ability to tackle deep concepts yet keep it entertaining.

3. My Sub Part 3 (Big Bang):

Banger. Krit brings all of the down south swagger on this one, finding himself chanting methodically atop of hard hitting bass. This song reflects the Big Bang explosion, something Krit uses as a celebration of his beloved trunk rattling bass.

4. Cadillactica:

One of the best tracks on the album. The intricate, yet knocking instrumentation on this track truly brings out the best in Krit lyrically, as he tears apart each verse he spits. This is a track where Krit aims to show off his lyrical ability and confidence as a rapper, taking you inside his world. The interlude leading up to the Soul Food track is amazing, as a Cadillactica fast food joint tries to sell Krit the “fast food” of the new generation.

5. Soul Food (Featuring Raphael Saadiq):

Standout track. This song is truly incredible. Under smooth instrumentation, Krit brings listeners back to the old days of childhood, where living was easy and “soul food” represented the comfort of life. Yet this feeling of protection begins to disappear and the “soul food” begins to rot as you grow older, exposing you to the hardships of the new generation you are a part of. Very touching track, as Krit’s ability to be introspective and incorporate concepts truly makes him a special artist in these moments. Raphael Saadiq blends in perfectly on the hook.

6. Pay Attention (featuring Rico Love): 

You knew Krit had to make one for the strip clubs. This stripper anthem is one for the clubs and shows Krit’s progression in making marketable yet respectable singles.

7. King of the South:

“I’m here bitches and I’m not going anywhere.” That is essentially what Krit is saying on this southern banger. Krit’s brazen lyrics and viscous flows serve to stake his claim for the crown. Even more so, Krit is sending a message that he is underappreciated and deserves more recognition than what he has been getting. This song is country to the core and one of the most aggressive songs on the album.

8. Mind Control (featuring E-40 and Wiz Khalifa):

This soulful beat finds Krit trying to get into the head of a woman and seduce her, something he croons out on the hook. Decent track, although both E-40 and Wiz Khalifa share forgettable verses.

9. Standby (Interlude):

This jazzy instrumental has Krit attempting to navigate the hardships he is facing, while sending the message to always continue trying. Meaningful interlude.

10. Do you love me? (featuring Mara Hruby):

Krit had to dedicate a song to his one true love, his cadillac. Real life girlfriend Mara Hruby serves as Krizzle’s car on this soulful track, singing to him on the hook as Krit raps of his appreciation for all aspects of his whip. Really smooth, southern track, something Krit is very comfortable making.

11. Third Eye:

Very melodic anthem, as Krit’s search continues for love and relationships. Even more so, this song shows where he sees his future heading and represents the visions of where he believes his life could go.

12. Mo Better Cool (featuring Devin the Dude, Bun B and Big Sant):

Funky instrumentation has Krit flexing his confidence with the ladies all over this record, with Devin the Dude practically floating on the chorus. Bun B delivers a solid guest verse and Big Sant shows he embodies Krit’s sound.

13. Angels

Very soft sounding song, with Krit detailing his confusion as to the type of person he will be. He explores good vs. evil on this track, using the allusion of bad acting angels throughout the track. This song shows Krit trying to persevere despite all the questions he has about what is going on around him. Solid track.

14. Saturdays=Celebration(featuring Jamie N Commons)

Very vintage sounding record, with the message being to not let your sorrows bring you down. Blues rocker and folk artist Jamie N Commons brings a very unique sound to this track, making it a very interesting combination of artists.

15. Lost Generation(featuring Lupe Fiasco)

Finally comes the destruction of the planet Cadillactica to round out the project, but with the reminder within Krit’s mind that “We will create again”. This concluding track has Krit and Lupe playing good vs. evil in regards to the perceptions of the “Lost Generation”. Krit is on the good side, stressing that living the right way and avoiding temptation is the best course of action. Lupe then negates this, stating getting to the top by any means is the motive and showing total disregard for life. Really cool concept to go out on, as both rappers equally thrive on this banging conclusion to Cadillactica.

Big K.R.I.T. has always been a talented rapper with much to offer. His songs often carry deeper meaning and his passion resonates with listeners. But some of Krit’s recent projects lacked that next step in progression that would take him to new heights. In Cadillactica, Krit has taken that next step. Handing over just a smidgen of his creative control does wonders for this project, as the addition of other production credits only enhances Krit’s brilliance. Every song seems a little more put together, Krit’s flows a little smoother and the album as a whole a little more concise. Cadillactica, both the planet and the train of thought racing through Krizzle’s mind, is a galactic adventure worth exploring.

How real was this album? 9.1/10

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Freddie Gibbs ESGN Album Review

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Can you think of a more neglected rapper than Gary, Indiana spitter Freddie Gibbs? With a catalog of more than ten hard hitting mixtapes and two EPs, Gangsta Gibbs gets little recognition for his brilliance in the realm of gangster rap. This is most likely due to the fact that there no longer is an appeal for in your face street music.  The genre has been watered down and made corny through the lack of street credibility and repetitive nature of most rappers. One thing is for sure, Gibbs is a certified gangster, and there is nothing watered down or corny about his street album debut ESGN. 1.  Lil Sodi “Shouts to Gangster Gibbs, he the next to blow” is the first thing you hear over an eerie piano, straight from Young Jeezy himself. Gibbs hopes to cut ties with Jeezy once and for all, and enlists affiliate Lil Sodi to let listeners know just how real it is. 2.  The Real G Money Gibbs proceeds to rip the opening track to pieces, calling out all his enemies in the process. The toughness of this record isn’t up for debate, as Gibbs shows off a rapid fire, angry delivery that highlights his hard hitting, aggressive style. Straight gangster shit. 3.  Came Up A more introspective record, Gibbs reflects on just how far rap music has taken him. Able to escape the concrete jungles of Gary, Indiana, Gibbs reminds us that he will always keep it real and put on for his city, but that he will never go back to that life and continue to build on his independent success. 4.  Hundred Thousand (featuring Hit Screwface and G-Wiz) “Dirty dancing with the devil in my darkest hour” This is a straight drug dealer anthem. ESGN members G-Wiz and Hit Screwface assist Gibbs in providing a look into the life of a hustler slanging yay in the streets. Solid contributions as guest verses. 5.  D.O.A. (featuring G-Wiz and Big Kill) Gibbs and company gets violent on this record, discussing involvement in gang banging and life on the streets of Gary. Big Kill’s shrieking verse is quite entertaining to end the song. 6.  Lay It Down Most ratchet, bass shattering song on the album. This song makes catching a felony seem somewhat reasonable. The industrial drill trap beat infused with heavy bass makes for an absolute banger. Gibbs slows down his flow as he brings it back to where it all started for him, on the streets of Gary, Indiana. Album Note: For the first six songs on the album, Gibbs embraces the trap sound. Hard-hitting beats are accompanied by hard-hitting lyrics, and Gibbs is relentless in attacking beats while accentuating his gangster persona. 7.  I Seen a Man Die Featuring Lil Sodi “Fore I seen a nigga cry, I seen a young nigga die. Over a Georgetown starter jacket and some new Jordan 5s.” One of the stronger tracks on the album, with Gangsta Gibbs slowing down to recall witnessing a person murdered in cold blood.  It is an emotional ode to the victims of the street, and truly reflects the harsh realities Gibbs is faced with daily. Gibbs is at his best when telling stories, and this track is a perfect example of that. 8.  Have you Seen Her featuring Hit Screwface Had to expect a track like this on Freddie’s album. Gibbs switches it up on this track, settling for rhythmic chants referencing the cocaine he makes a living off of. MCH off BFK is a similar style of song. The hook is mesmerizing and addictive. Gibbs has a banger on his hands. 9.  One Eighty Seven featuring Problem Gibbs was quoted in an interview stating this track was meant for the clubs. He didn’t lie. The beat is an absolute monster and Gibbs flips a nice spin on the street term one eighty-seven, implying that women have the pussy to die for.  Problem has one of the stronger guest features on the album. 10.  Eastside Moonwalker One of the best songs on the album. The synthy, electronic beat works wonders with Freddie’s incredible machine gun flow. This is Freddie at his best, holding nothing back. Lyrics are Freddie’s recipe, and he cooked up a hot one for sure. 11.  F.A.M.E featuring Daz Dillinger and Spice 1 Around this point, Freddie is really kicking the album into full gear. This song has west coast and 2pac all over it. Pairing up with west coast legends Daz Dillinger and Spice 1 really produces a well-rounded song. 12.  Paper featuring YB This song is a mesmerizing anthem. Gibbs really goes in over a fast paced trap beat. The hook is addicting and keeps the listener engaged in the song. Big Time Watt’s incoherent rant at the end of the song is hilarious. 13.  The Color Purple You knew this was coming. Freddie had to dedicate a song to his true love, lean. Freddie sometimes dabbles in singing, and this track predominately consists of Gibbs professing his love for promethazine through melodic verses. The track is refreshing, as Gibbs has now contributed numerous styles of songs thus far to ESGN. 14.  Certified Live featuring Jay Rock and G-Wiz Gibbs pairs with another highly underrated artist, Black Hippy’s Jay Rock for one of my favorite cuts on the album. Both artists flex lyrical street bars over a dope organ beat. One of the best collaborations of the album. As usual, Gibbs kills it. 15.  Ten Packs of Backwoods featuring D-Edge This marijuana-induced record is an ode to Gibb’s past, present, and future favorite hobby. Gibbs really knows how to make catchy choruses that are simple yet effective. 16.  Dope in My Styrofoam featuring G-Wiz and G.I. Fleezy This is the track you cruise to in your car on a nice summer day. This track has a menace to society (CDIH), upbeat feel that contrasts with the hard vibe of the album. One of the catchier beats on ESGN. 17.  9mm featuring G.I. Fleezy and G-Wiz One of the better cuts off ESGN. Gibb’s rhythmic spin on the famous lines of KRS ONE gives a creative glimpse into the mind state of a criminal. Gibb’s calmly sings about the devastation he can cause with his hammer. You can feel the impact that murder and the cold streets of Gary have had on Gibbs. 18.  Lose Control featuring BJ the Chicago Kid Gibbs continues to build chemistry with BJ, as the underrated singer has contributed to numerous songs including the popular Shame Ep. Freddie is honest about the positive impact a woman’s love can have on his life, which blends well into Bj’s hook. Gibbs opens up in this track, pushing aside materialism for the warm embrace of a woman. 19.  Freddie Soprano “We yelling fuck the world until it’s over I’m only halfway through my movie, ready to war with Sosa Where my toaster? I got the breakfast for these niggas Bitches, Strudel their noodles Snatch their hearts out like a Pop Tart You’re losing, we’re moving through you” Best track on the album. This is the lyrical Gibbs hardcore fans have come to adore. Weaving in and out of numerous flows and cadences, Gibbs provides the first true hip-hop, boombap type record on the album. Two long, intricate verses make this song something truly special for Gibb’s catalog. 20.  Murda Dem featuring G.I. Fleezy and Big Kill This bonus cut comes over a tropical, reggae beat. Hard-hitting as usual. Big Kill once again entertains us on the last verse of the album. Freddie Gibbs continues to keep gangster rap music alive today. With ESGN, Gibbs stays true to the street music he came up making. There is nothing sugarcoated or watered down about this record. Those disputing the lack of substance on this album need to recognize the type of rapper Gibbs is and the type of music he makes. This is not to question if Gibbs can make meaningful records (One mo time, Rock Bottom, etc.). It is simply an understanding that this is a street record with a direct lane. Freddie’s collaboration with icon producer Madlib Cocaine Piñata will offer the more lyrical, substance based material as previously offered on his EPs. The only knock on Freddie’s debut album is a completely understandable criticism, the features. This is not even a knock on the verses contributed to the albums, as each ESGN affiliate and guest rapper contributed well to their role and played a vital part. It is simply the fact that we want more Gibbs, all the time. His savage flows always take over songs and are always the shining light, even when featured with bigger named artists. More solo cuts would have been beneficial, but it is respectable that Gibbs helped put on his boys from Gary, Indiana with ESGN. Rap has evolved. New artists come out every day trying to push the envelope in a new way and create a new trending buzz that captivates fans. Lost in the mix of this was the intense and brutal honesty rap provided. Materialism and flossing have become the new norms of the culture. Freddie Gibbs provides an outlet for that, resorting back to lyrical ability and the realness that the 90s gave us a long time ago. There is nothing filtered or candy coated about what Freddie makes. It is certified gangster rap. Call that a washed up genre, but I will call it a refreshing return to the integrity of music. How real was this album?          9.4/10

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