As soon as the needle drops on Scott Mescudi’s, better known as Kid Cudi, sophomore release, the listener is privy of what to expect: “What up?/How is everyone doing?/You are now in the world I’m ruining,” Cudi says. It is this honesty that one has come to expect from a Cudi track, and the rapper/singer has provided plenty of it on his follow up to the acclaimed “Man on the Moon: The End of the Day.”
If your only exposure to this new album is the lead single “Erase Me,” featuring Kanye West, prepare to be surprised. This track is the anomaly amidst a fairly uniform album, showcasing the Lonely Stoner’s newfound love of singing (Cudi recently announced his desire to quit rapping, instead forming a rock band, Wizards, with Dot da Genius, who produced the hit “Day n Nite,” where Cudi will be the lead singer) over heavy electric guitar. In line with the rest of the album, however, the guest on the track, namely West, stands out.
The features on this album—Cee-Lo Green on the opening track “Scott Mescudi vs. The World,” Mary J Blige on “Don’t Play This Song” and “These Worries,” and other songs starring GLC, Cage and Nicole Wray and Cudder mainstay Chip Tha Ripper—greatly accentuate the songs on which they appear. Blige, Cee-Lo and Wray provide the choruses on their respective tracks to great effect, particularly Cee-Lo on the standout opener.
This album fails to live up to the range of styles showcased on his debut in songs like “Pursuit of Happiness” and “Make Her Say.” Rarely straying far from the drug-fueled depression and anger in his lyrics, the album runs the risk of sounding monotonous to non-lovers of Kid Cudi. Similarly, the production throughout is fairly subdued and atmospheric in an attempt to give Cudder the space he needs to pack his word-heavy flows into the songs. His flow, though, is unlike anyone else’s in mainstream rap—his words creep along steadily, almost mono-tonally, and he cleverly plays off the rhythm provided by his beats. If I had to compare, I might say he’s the lovechild of Wale’s flow and MF Doom’s monotone, but barely.
Who am I kidding, though? I love (ok, maybe “like like”) this album, and fans of Cudi’s work are sure to feel the same. This is an album our generation (at least, the sect of our generation with which I am most familiar—that is, the emotionally unstable kids that cover up their feelings with drugs) can relate to, with the rapper confessing about moments where you don’t want to leave your room (“I’m in the shadows in the corner of my room/this is my hideaway/this is my tomb”) and about late weekend nights where you probably should have stayed in your room (“4 in the morning getting cozy/so much Goose, let the fry soak it up some”).
Expect the weed songs, expect the depression songs, expect some anger, but above all, expect a tightly constructed album that will take you on a journey, one that Kid Cudi hopes will put an end to this chapter in his life.