Big K.R.I.T. drives a singing Cadillac de Ville named Lucille. In addition to promising “We gonna turn up” when his Pay Attention Tour rides into town, the 28-year-old rapper-producer also assures the Straight that this magnificent whip, though currently bisected, will appear on-stage. While it’s unlikely the two will perform a love ballad together, they do on “Do You Love Me”, an intriguingly weird offering from his forthcoming Def Jam release.
“On Cadillactica, anything that you hold sentimental value to can talk to you. In this particular case, my car is jealous of my subs. It wants to know if I love it just as much. You know what I’m sayin’?” the presumed Herbie enthusiast explains via Skype before a show in Cleveland.
You say you are a perfectly sane individual who is actually quite puzzled by what he’s sayin’? Let’s elaborate.
Cadillactica is the name of K.R.I.T.’s sophomore full-length as well as the planet where the album takes place. On it, in addition to jealous, anthropomorphic automobiles, “everything is beautiful and candy-coated. There’s candy-painted grass, purple trees, things of that nature. People literally make a living trying to figure out the purpose of life, too. They wanna go further than their surroundings,” he elucidates.
The Cadillacticites’ desire mirrors the southern rapper’s own. Born Justin Scott in a small Mississippi town you’ve never heard of, he had greater ambitions than a simple country life. So he began making beats on a PlayStation with a copy of MTV Music Generator, which his brother gave him for Christmas in 1999.
“It wasn’t the craziest quality in the world, but it showed me how to be creative with just a little bit. I think that’s what helps so much with what I can work with now,” the poster child for skipping school to play Guitar Hero recalls.
K.R.I.T. has since relocated to southern-rap epicentre Atlanta, released a slew of acclaimed mix tapes, and upgraded his gear to include a team of shit-hot producers who’ve helped him craft one of the year’s more eagerly anticipated hip-hop albums.
“I don’t think people are going to listen to this album and be like, ‘Oh, he’s from Mississippi.’ I think they’re gonna listen to this album and be like, ‘Oh, this is an amazing album. Where did he say he was from?’ ” K.R.I.T. says, practically beaming over the phone. “My rap name is King Remembered in Time, but I feel like that time is now.”
The road to the coronation ceremony hasn’t always been serene, though. Earlier on his current tour he played the Highline Ballroom in New York. The show was sold-out and wild. That was in contrast to four years ago, when the rapper received an absolutely savage booing at the venue.
“Everybody’s been booed at least once in their life. You talk about legends, I found out that OutKast got booed before. Lauryn Hill had been booed at the Apollo,” he points out. “It’s all about what you do with that experience and how you react on-stage. All of that plays into what kind of performer you’ll be in the long run.”
Besides, that initial Highline gig could’ve gone much worse. “I’ve been in front of tougher, which is no response. You get in front of people and they literally don’t do or say anything.”
Fortunately, a touring act would never be greeted with folded arms at a show in Vancouver, so he really has nothing to worry about. Oh, God. I bet this sort of shit never happens on Cadillactica. K.R.I.T., is there room for one more in Lucille for the return trip to the home world?
Big K.R.I.T. plays Venue on Sunday (October 26).