Review: Kid Cudi, Indicud


Indicud

Kid Cudi ⎪ Indicud ⎪ Universal Republic ⎪⎪ US Release Date: April 16, 2013

Introduction & Background

Kid Cudi (Scott Mescudi)

Kid Cudi (Scott Mescudi) is one interesting dude, period.  ‘Left-field’ and ‘left of center’ as they come, the alt- rapper seems to be on his own undiscovered planet – both a compliment and observation. 2009’s Man On The Moon: The End of the Day was a huge success (it bowed at no. 4 on the Billboard Albums Chart), driven by the Grammy-nominated smash single “Day N Nite (Nightmare)”.  Easily one of the most bizarre hit singles (it amazingly peaked at no. 3), “Day N Nite” would end up being just one of many ‘classics’ from the MC’s debut, which also featured singles “Make Her Say” (sampling Lady Gaga and featuring Common and Kanye West) as well as “Pursuit of Happiness”. My personal favorite tune didn’t happen to be a single, “Solo Dolo”. Aside from these, other standouts included “Soundtrack 2 My Life” and  “Heart of A Lion (Kid Cudi Theme Music)”.

Cudi would follow up Man on the Moon with a second installment, Man on the Moon II: The

Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr Rager was released in November 2010.

Legend of Mr. Rager (no. 3 on the Billboard Albums Chart).  Perhaps slightly less alluring than the first, Man on the Moon II featured an assortment of standouts, including “Revofev”, “Don’t Play This Song” (featuring Mary J. Blige), “Marijuana”, “Mojo So Dope”, “Ashin Kusher”, and “Wild’n Cuz I’m Young”. Throw in the Kanye West assisted pop/rock crossover single “Erase Me” and Kid Cudi is nothing short of a creative anomaly.  Deeply based on his problems with drugs, Man on the Moon II may lack the same enthusiasm behind the first set, but still fascinates if for nothing more than the emotion the MC exhibits throughout.

His third album Indicud arrives one week earlier than expected, changing dates from April 23 to April 16, 2013. Often delayed it seemed, Indicud arrives and quality is by no means compromised.  Cudi handles the multitude of the production, incorporating samples as well as original musical contributions on guitar, keyboards, drums, and etc.  One of the stronger productions (much like Tyler, the Creator’s excellent productions on Wolf), Indicud already rises a notch due to Cudi’s musicianship.  Add in his uniqueness and the fact that he plays to those strengths and to his adversities, and you have another superb addition to Kid Cudi’s discography.  Sure, some of the later cuts of this 71 minute affair lack the same oomph as the front and the title isn’t appealing, but more often than not, Indicud is odd and brilliant.

Analysis

1. “The Resurrection of Scott Mescudi” sets the tone as an instrumental introduction. Odd, mysterious, and cerebral, this opener is exactly what one familiar with Cudi would expect. He stays true to himself.

2. “Unf**kwittable” stands out instantly, if for nothing more than its clever, bold title.  A cut where  Cudi is both inquisitive and proclamatory, the

King Chip provides Kid Cudi with a couple of assists.

MC basically states ‘you can mess with me’: “Don’t you feel it? Feel it? Feel it? / You know that I’m unf**kwittable / Don’t you feel it / You know that I’m unf**kwittable” As usual, he quasi-raps and sings with and endearing pitchy nature on the hook.  With a rockstar flare, “Unf**kwittable” is exactly that.

3. “Just What I Am” gets assistance from King Chip.  One of several previously issued singles, “Just What I Am” features superb production, solid rhymes, and is overall great. King Chip handles the first verse, alluding to pot (“Early in the morning, I’m wakin’, bakin’, drinkin’, contemplatin’ / ain’t no such thing as Satan, evil is what you make it / Thank the Lord for that Burning Bush…” Kid Cudi confirms his affinity for marijuana, despite previously trying to quit it: “I need smoke / I need to smoke / who gon’ hold me down / I wanna get high y’all / I wanna get high y’all…I’m just what you made God, just what you made God…” Epic, honest, and notable, “Just What I Am” compels.

Father John Misty (aka J. Tillman)

4. “Young Lady” embodies portions of “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” as performed by folk singer Father John Misty.  A random ‘collaboration’ you might say, the results are as oddly satisfying as everything else. Here, Kid Cudi talks about a girl turning him on… a topic most can relate to.  Father John Misty definitely propels the cut: “Jesus Christ, girl! You got it goin’ on young lady…” Overall, a sound blend of indie- and alt-rap; a nice marriage.

5. “King Wizard” is another single from Indicud. Basically, Kid Cudi never fronts, as he asserts on yet another compelling hook in which he crowns himself: “I can’t decide / what if life’s a lie? / I push the lames aside / they’ll learn / I can never front, know why? / It’s not my style, no lie / f–k all the talk / in time, they’ll burn… They’ll never take me alive / King Wizard!” Throw in electric piano, and yeah a talk box (in one instance), and you have another bizarre masterpiece.  Face it, Kid Cudi knows

MGMT: Even ‘trippy’ to look at…

what production stylings fit his idiosyncratic style.

6. “Immortal” samples MGMT’s “Congratulations” from the alternative acts 2010 album of the same title.  Additionally, like a couple of previous cuts, Kid Cudi samples audio from film, this time Billy Madison and The Good Son.  A solid cut like the majority of the effort, “Immortal’s” biggest misstep is its exhaustive length at five minutes in duration.  Most of the excess duration is dominated by instrumental space which is nice, if too relaxed.  Regardless, Kid Cudi alludes to himself (“I’m too damn cool, my

Kendrick Lamar

Mojo too dope…”) while confirming the theme/title of this cut on the hook (“I’m living my life as if I got powers / and tonight, I feel immortal…”) OK… Alrighty then.

http://rd.io/x/QUKSLiJ2oQY/

7. “Solo Dolo Part II” brings in a lift from everyone’s favorite new MC Kendrick Lamar.  Sampling Daptone records group Menahan Street (“Going The Distance”), the follow-up to the original is even more crazy! Kid Cudi’s lyrics are memorable from the first verse: “I just tell em I’m an oxymoron when I open my mouth…” Yep.  But Kendrick Lamar slays one of the most

Too $hort

unique hooks I’ve heard in sometime: “Come, come now, last call, who want some? It’s just me, two b!tches and dirty drums / two lips to kiss, 22 mother nuns / God blessed my tongue, I need it for life / Awkward like Cartwright, twiddling my thumbs / Pondering my next accomplishments / It’s condescending to say I won / Two lips, you kiss my a$$ tonight, huh?” Top that!

8. “Girls” brings in Too $hort for the assist.  Cudi’s attempt at chilvary, the hook is simple, yet effective: “I see pretty girls everywhere I go / every, everywhere I go / every, everywhere I go / So many colors and sizes, so many surprises” Yeah, maybe it isn’t the most extraordinary poetry or a truly romantic come-on, but it is what it is. Cudi’s not worried about something as superficial as physical beautiful – at least not necessarily.

9. “New York Rage Fest” is an instrumental interlude basically. That’s about it.

10. “Red Eye” is produced by Kid Cudi, but he gets some additional help from one of hip-hop’s hottest producers, Hit-Boy.  Even though this cut is on this, Cudi’s solo album, his guest Haim takes the reins.  Believe me, it’s enjoyable, but there’s very little vocal Cudi happening here.  Haim sounds great though, “…floating through the night on a red eye, red eye…”

11. “Mad Solar” smartly ensures Kid Cudi truly is the ‘King Wizard’. After being upstaged by Haim on “Red Eye”, Cudi asserts he’s crazy… finally

RZA

whether it be the verse (“I guess I’m loony, I guess I’m on one / guess I’m just the star of my movie…”) or the hook (“and people think I’m mad / won’t you tell them I’m mad solar…”).  You didn’t have to tell us you were crazy Cudi… we already knew! “Mad Solar” is another solid showing.

12. “Beez” could have been another “Red Eye” given guest RZA’s prominence as he raps both verses.  Cudi rocks out on the hook, which is vital to this stand out’s sucess: “In God I trust, now I don’t give no f–k’s (Dropping them them them, mother f–king beez) / beez on ‘em / stings b!tch / bzzz bzzz”.  Yep, that hook is

A$AP Rocky, Harlem’s hottest.

enough to solidify Cudi’s importance.  RZA is on autopilot, with a number of capable lines such as “Ankle strap above the boot, it conceals my 380…” or “The race is always won by the turtle, mental machinery”.

13. “Brothers” is the superstar collaboration, once more bringing in King Chip as well as Harlem’s darling A$AP Rocky.  “Brothers” is good, don’t get me wrong, but it just misses the ‘top tier’ of cuts on this stuffed effort.  My favorite line comes care of A$AP: “Started from the pavement, basement Satan / couldn’t match my claims so they compare me to a mason / free like slaves but they based and crazy…”)

14. “Burn Baby Burn” is the obligatory hookless cut to show off Cudi’s agility.  He easily proves himself, but he didn’t have to.  Good, it still pales in comparison to the best.  But you can’t knock the dude’s honesty: “Who bad? I am, my dad raised one hell of a man / at eleven I had to thrown on the pants…” Deep.

Michael Bolton: “That’s What Love’s All About”

15. “Lord of the Sad and Lonely” just sounds foreboding – it’s title that is. “Yep, yep, yep / Lord of the sad and lonely… and the ones that feel like sit on the daily / I got you” confirms the tone.  Aggressive complemented with spacey production work, Kid Cudi is more energized here than the previous cut.  After all, “All of the things I’ve seen and survived / make a n—a feel way more than just alive… all hail King Wizard…”

16. “Cold Blooded” just further proves that Kid Cudi isn’t a human; humans are ‘warm blooded’ .  He confirms this: “Cold! B!tch you know I’m cold yeah / I’m one cold blooded n—a…”

17. “Afterwards (Bring Yo Friends)” is epic in length at over nine minutes.  Featuring the vocals of a resurgent Michael Bolton and his buddy King Chip, Cudi really wants you to come to his place. Why it took over nine minutes to portray this – that is still/yet to be determined.  But hey, he got to feature Michael freaking Bolton.

18. “The Flight of The Moon Man” is where instrumentally Kid Cudi returns to planet Cudder.

Final Evaluation

Like his previous albums, Indicud is very well done.  It is completely different from every other rap album out there and combines many different influences.  The main rub with Indicud is its length… the 70 minute album is more a rarity these days, which makes this effort overstuffed.  At least being overstuffed, Cudi never truly misses the mark.  More cuts standout than don’t, which is always a pro. If you like Cudi, you’ll love Indicud.  If you like your rap a bit more traditional, hardcore, and for the clubs – and if “Make Her Say” is your favorite Kid Cudi cut, you’ll probably dislike the experimental nature of this effort.  As for my opinion? This effort receives my seal of approval, particularly after so-so efforts from Lil Wayne (I Am Not A Human Being II) and Tyga (Hotel California).

Verdict: ✰✰✰✰

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