Beauty and the Best

Kid Cudi

Tabria Reviews Kid Cudi's "Incudi"


Kid Cudi's third studio album takes listeners on a dark, psychedelic journey through the artist's psyche. Cudi is known for pushing the envelope with his music and aims to reinvent himself after each release. He took complete control of this album by essentially writing and producing the entire project, which is a feat unbeknownst to most rap/hip-hop artists. 

While Indicud hasn't won Cudi any new fans amongst critics, it certainly has warranted him respect. The focal point of this album is whether Cudi can create an entire musical project by himself. Hence, you have extended instrumentals and tracks where he may take the backseat in lyrics and focus on production. This is most apparent when he collaborates with rhymeslayer Kendrick Lamar on "Solo Dolo Part II". While Lamar brings consistent lyrical fire ("Eternity, no such thing as time will tell / Infirmary, burn like magnetic combustion / Bad credit with me, and paramedics are hustling"), Cudi produces rather uninspiring lyrics ("Searching all day in the streets for DMT / Don't sip it, though -- it couldn't answer / Drip, drip all day -- bumping' MGMT, homie"). Granted, it is difficult to hang with the likes of a superior wordsmith, such as Lamar, but Cudi could have given us a bit more substance.

One of the albums best moments comes from the lead single, "Just What I Am", which is reminiscent of various Cudi throwbacks of quirky stoner jams. King Chip delivers a solid sixteen, and the hazed party beat helps masks Cudi's deficiencies on the mic. Juxtapose this against "Unfuckwitable," and listeners can understand why the album is such a bumpy experience. A grimy beat with amateur guitar playing collides with the deliberately un-melodic singing. Cudi's got passion, but when he's calling out "Woahhhhhh!", he's terribly tone deaf, and I can't push play fast enough.

"Young Lady" is cut from the same cloth as "Erase Me," but achieves the "rock 'n' rap" feel Cudi is known for. To those who cannot stand the wailing (me), it will infuriate. This distribution is followed fairly evenly throughout the rest of the record: "Red Eye" is a melodic gem, "Solo Dolo Part II" is a love/hate affair, and the hook on "Girls" should have never happened--actually the entire song could have been cut. Too $hort is damn near 50--definitely too old for all that; however, there are solid features from Lamar, A$AP Rocky, the RZA, and King Chip which makes for a strong guest list that oftentimes masks Cudi's deficiencies. 

Though Indicud isn't the best we've received from Kid Cudi, it definitely shows that he's trying to cultivate and hone is sound. We have to reward him for his boldness because there are since great moments on the album. Though this wasn't a personal favorite, I can appreciate the fact that Cudi was trying to create an original, fresh, and unique album without the creative constraints of a label.

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