After a 2-year hiatus from rap, following a significantly intensive lifestyle change, Kid Cudi returns with his third studio album, Indicud. Despite his love and respect towards Kanye West as both elder brother as well as mentor, the 29 year-old has bid farewell to West’s label, GOOD Music, and fills the role of being his own producer for the very first time, ensuring he himself has full control over the creative process.
Kid Cudi’s signature brooding, melancholic lyrics and vividly constructed ambient sounds are evident throughout Indicud, giving the listener an immersive tour through the dark abysses of his mind.
Collaborations are recurrent throughout the album, boasting impressive names such as Wu-Tang’s RZA, A$AP Rocky, and more surprisingly, 60-year-old pop rock singer, Michael Bolton.
Revered rap legend RZA proves why he’s held as one of the best rap artistes alive, channelling his witty lyricism “I don’t write songs, grasshopper/ I write sceneries” with spectacular delivery, easily making “Beez” a contender for the best track on Indicud.
Unfortunately, for all the excellent talent he’s roped in, there are equally disappointing ones. King Chip, long-time friend of Cudi simply couldn’t gel with the synergy Cudi and Rocky revel in on “Brothers”, causing the track to sound choppy and jarring at times.
“Solo Dolo, Part II”, featuring American hip hop recording artiste, Kendrick Lamar, also fails to deliver with Lamar’s painfully monotonous lyrics “You wish me well, I wish you hell”. The track’s flaws are highlighted further when you realise that there are none of the all-encompassing and gloomy atmospheric vibes from when he was working with acclaimed producers Dot Da Genius and Emillie Haynie on the prequel, “Solo Dolo”, present on this track.
Championing his “Mr. Solo Dolo” moniker, the Cleveland native delivers a sonical gem in “King Wizard”, which features a catchy hook layered over spacey percussions, clapping and light-hearted keys chiming in the distant background.
On “Immortal”, another solo effort, Cudi sings about shedding the overwhelming weight of negativity and despair, aligning this track with the general feel of the entire album, indicating that the “lonely stoner” might just be enjoying a turnaround in his personal life. Stout drumbeats laid over a reversed MGMT sample accompany his droning voice, resulting in an uplifting anthemic track – certainly a welcome change from Cudi’s lyrics that generally paint sombre images of hellish nightmares, loneliness and shattered confidence.
While it’s an undeniably impressive move for Cudi to embark on the journey to becoming an entirely self-sufficient artiste, one can’t help but mourn the loss of wasted potential that is Indicud.
Cudi’s inexperience behind the board is laid bare for the listener’s ears, as there are no fast drum fillers or intense guitar solos for his lack of technical ability to hide behind, highlighting how this challenging task that will require long periods of meticulous practice.
While long time fans may find themselves searching more conscientiously for the same aural magic on his earlier releases, Cudi’s unprecedented move to leading his production could possibly excite them, as he can now translate his creative vision in its most unadultered form. The album’s saving grace lies deeply in Cudi’s perpetually relatable lyrics and his ability to translate experimental noises, such as white noise and groovy samples of other unique songs, into his raps, creating an unconventional sound for a hip-hop artist to adopt.
Tracks to look out for:
1. Young Lady
2. King Wizard
Artiste: Kid Cudi
Genre: Psychedelic Hip Hop, Alternative Hip Hop
Record Label: Wicked Awesome Records
Release Date: 16th April 2013
1. The Resurrection Of Scott Mescudi
3. Just What I Am feat. King Chip
4. Young Lady feat. Father John Misty
5. King Wizard
7. Solo Dolo Part II feat. Kendrick Lamar
8. Girls feat. Too Short
9. New York City Rage Fest
10. Red Eye feat. Haim
11. Mad Solar
12. Beez feat. RZA
13. Brothers feat. King Chip & A$AP Rocky
14. Burn Baby Burn
15. Lord Of The Sad And Lonely
16. Cold Blooded
17. Afterwards (Bring Yo Friends) feat. Michael Bolton & King Chip
18. The Flight Of The Moon Man