20. Big K.R.I.T., 'Cadillactica'
Big K.R.I.T.'s second Def Jam album offers country-rap metaphysics for a post-OutKast era. On "Do You Love Me for Real," his ride represents a beautiful woman (memorably voiced by the jazz singer Mara Hruby) that he caresses with erotic abandon over bluesy Southern soul. "Cadillactica" is both muse and metaphor. It's a life force that propels him to rise above the humble origins of "Mo Better Cool" without forgetting the value of family, community and "Soul Food"; and mourn the world's troubles on the quiet storm melancholy of "Angels." K.R.I.T. has long embraced his role as a post-millennial student of Nineties Dirty South vintage, but here he's got a new confidence in his own abilities, no homage required. He raps alongside Devin the Dude and Bun B as an equal, not a student, and when he asserts himself as a "King of the South," it's hard to argue. M.R.