Like a football coach who makes adjustments after a shaky first half, Big K.R.I.T. went back to the drawing board after his Def Jam debut Live From The Underground. Two years removed from his first major label LP, the 2011 XXL Freshman saw his music didn’t push the needle in hip-hop like he hoped. While K.R.I.T. has been clearly innovative in his mixtape efforts, Live From The Underground was more of what we heard before in both rhyme and production. Krizzle fell into a creative space where he was boxed into his comfort zone, bringing his influences of the South’s elder statesmen to the masses but limiting his own progress. In other words, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

But K.R.I.T. felt he could have done better. During an exclusive preview of his long awaited sophomore release, Cadillactica, at Def Jam, he spoke candidly about focusing on how to tell his story differently. Although K.R.I.T. has satisfied his fans with mixtapes like 2013’s King Remembered In Time and 2014’s See Me On Top Vol. 4, as well as his Week Of K.R.I.T. singles series, he’s challenging himself to break new ground. He’s already coming out swinging with “Mt. Olympus,” throwing swagger bars with ferocity. His next single, “Pay Attention” featuring Rico Love, is for the ladies, where the concept of being fixated on one woman comes off as endearing. Two potent efforts that stray away from his usual style.

K.R.I.T. didn’t play the entire album yesterday. Instead, he chose selected tracks for full listens and snippets of ones he wanted to save until the LP comes out on Nov. 11. Those tracks, though, captured the concept of creating the planet Cadillactica perfectly. From creation to destruction, K.R.I.T.’s world is filled with speaker knockers, headphone comfort food, and thought-provoking messages. He’s following his word, too, allowing other producers to help develop him more. “For me it’s about really making the best music possible and not just for the sake of producing,” he said an interview with XXL last year. “Live From The Underground, I had the opportunity to produce the whole album, so that was a milestone in itself. I feel like it’s important that I get out of my comfort zone for the sake of growth and my creativity and work with other people.”

While being treated to four different flavors of wings and mixed drinks, XXL jotted down some meticulous notes on K.R.I.T.’s Cadillactica. Here’s what you need to know.—Eric Diep

1. The intro is creating a planet from God’s perspective.
K.R.I.T. is speaking with a certain female about “creating.” The track quickly transitions into a spacey and bass-heavy track that captures a similar feel of throwback OutKast songs. “Let’s just take our time / Pretend we started this, pretend this is our creation,” he sings on the chorus.

2. There’s a “My Sub Pt. 3.”
Never forgetting his hardcore fans, K.R.I.T.’s bass-heavy “My Sub” tracks have become part of his identity. Part 3, or "Big Bang" (as K.R.I.T. nicknamed it), is no different, with the same energy that’ll definitely blow out a few speakers. “Two 15s, big bang hoe!” he hollers at one point. “Cranking up the knob, until I break the lever,” he declares elsewhere. Get ready for this one.

3. Pay attention to the title track, “Cadillactica.”
In a previous interview with XXL, K.R.I.T. expressed his excitement of picking up where Live From The Underground left off. “It’s just one of those things that I was thinking about, 'cause in my first [album] cover Live From The Underground, it’s a Cadillac that has crash landed on planet Earth,” he said. “Just the whole storyline of being able to take you in reverse of where the Cadillac comes from. It’s creating this planet called Cadillactica where the soul and the funk comes from and being able to transcend my music with that idea." On the title track, Krizzle is explaining the history behind the planet, using his stellar rhymes and aggression to tell it all. With the video expected to come soon, this track will turn a lot of heads.

4. He declares himself the King Of The South.
Looks like someone is coming for Tip’s throne. K.R.I.T. isn’t holding back as he defiantly claims that he’s at the top of the food chain. As he put it, nobody is capable of out-rapping him.


5. “Do You Love Me For Real” is about his car being jealous of his sub.
This is quite the love affair. Featuring vocals from Mara Hruby, K.R.I.T. takes a step back from rapping to do a duet with the singer. From the snippet, it sounds like the car/sub relationship alludes to an actual connection between two people. K.R.I.T. says he hits some high notes with his falsetto, so expect this different side of him to shine. He even believes this will be his record for folks to get married to. Let the wedding bells ring.

6. He’s got a good amount of collaborators.
While Live From The Underground was mostly Southern artists, Cadillactica has a nice mix of features. Raphael Saadiq appears on “Soul Food,” which he also produced as well. “Mind Control,” a thumping banger produced by K.R.I.T., features Wiz Khalifa and E-40. Rising jazz star Kenneth Whalum, III, appears on the short interlude “Standby,” and Jamie N Commons contributes to the anthemic track “Saturday’s A Celebration.”

7. The ending track is the death of Cadillactica.
Every great story must come to an end. Big K.R.I.T. explains that he didn’t want to leave any unanswered questions surrounding Cadillactica, so he decided to thematically destroy the planet. “Lost Generations” is based around that idea, and it features a hungry Lupe Fiasco. It makes for an epic mini-narrative that deserves further exploration.

Previously: Train Of Thought: Big K.R.I.T. Breaks Down His Single “Mt. Olympus”
Big K.R.I.T. Plans To Work With Erykah Badu
Big K.R.I.T. Is Going On Tour

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