Scott Mescudi, better recognized in the music world as Kid Cudi, has had himself quite an interesting career thus far. While not only delivering two wildly moody, yet refreshing albums as part of his Man on the Moon series, Cudi has dealt with custody battles for his daughter, Twitter beef in the media compliments of ex-girlfriend Amanda Bynes, and hacks from fans for being musically open-minded and experimental. Now, it’s a new year which means a fresh start for Mr. Solo Dolo, and he’s starting it out right with the drop of Indicud, his third studio album that came out this past Tuesday, April 16, following an early release due to an early leak.
There’s no question that Cudi’s a different kind of rapper. He’s much more of an emotional, moody, unorthodox person than we’re used to in and out of his music. That’s why it’s not really surprising he pushed up the release of the album to counter the leak.
This day in age, there’s no debating that most (not all) music is found and downloaded for free thanks to the Internet. Many artists have realized that the majority of their income will be generated by tours and merchandise and have come to terms with it. Those who haven’t do what they can to prevent the possibility of a leak, but that’s really all that can be done. Either way, there is a religious and dedicated following for the Kid’s products, so those that could wait for their hero to make the official drop, did so to show their support.
Getting back to the music itself, the last year has seen a monumental leap in what Kid Cudi was doing in 2012 around this time and what he’s doing now. Last year he established a duo with producer Dot da Genius and created the “band” WZRD (pronounced individually as W-Z-R-D) to step away and get a breath of fresh air from the rap realm. In February, the two released their first group self-titled rock album, WZRD, which was completely different than anything we’ve heard from Cudder before, exactly what he wanted. Critics gave the album harsh reviews despite the album peaking at the No. 1 position on both the U.S. Billboard Top Rock Albums, and Top Alternative Albums. Regardless of the negative words, dedicated fans of his rap music understood and accepted the diversity Cudi thirsts for and thrives on, realizing that you’d either love or hate the new direction.
Three years after the second installment in his planned Man on the Moon trilogy, Kid takes a break from the story to express more himself in Indicud. Being his third personal studio album, people have to understand something about Cudi albums: expect the unexpected and keep an open mind. If you can let yourself enter his world and be comfortable in it, you won’t be disappointed.
Glancing over the tracklist, there are two flags that should grab your attention: the production and the features. Every single joint on this project is 100 percent created and produced by Kid Cudi himself, which can be seen as both a testament and downer. In typical Cudi fashion that’s an element you’ll either love, hate or feel indifferent about. Personally, I thought that aspect was an incredible statement about both his confidence in his style, and that he wanted to put as much of his personality into the music as possible.
In regards to the features, Cudi has never really been one to include tons of them on his albums. Both Man on the Moon albums had around a handful on each, and Indicud only has a few more, but the names ooze talent and popularity. Some of the best tracks in the collection see hard verses from Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, Too $hort, Wu-Tang Clan legend RZA, and even King Chip, formerly known as Chip tha Ripper, who has had the tendency to string together mediocre performances on past Cudi collaborations.
The first third of Indicud is a combination of eerily mesmerizing instrumentals and hit singles. Opening with “The Resurrection of Scott Mescudi” and “Unf**kwittable”, Cudder keeps the theme of story-telling in his albums with a full length instrumental followed by another that includes one of the greatest beats of them all paired with the signature tone of Cudi’s voice. The pre-release singles “King Wizard” and “Immortal” (which contains a vintage Cudi-chosen MGMT sample) aren’t mind-blowing, but give the early set some strength, as well as the first feature with King Chip, “Just What I am.” Like I mentioned before, Chip has had middle-of-the-road verses on other Cudi albums, but has really stepped his game up. His verse here is one of his best and the two solidify it as one of the few possible party songs.
The torso of the album is built with electric instrumentals and strong features. “Solo Dolo, Part II,” “Girls,” and “Beez” make up the meat of the most memorable songs on Indicud, and see features from Kendrick, Too $hort and RZA respectively. The sequel to the ever-popular original “Solo Dolo” is as close as you’re going to get to another party track with the whimsical and constantly changing flows of both Cudi and K-Dot. On the collaboration with RZA, Cudi actually steps away from the verses completely, generating just the beat and chorus for the Wu-Tang heavy hitter go off. RZA singlehandedly demands the spotlight on one of my personal favorites that has a great, deep sounding beat to go with RZA’s voice, as well as a Geto Boys sample in the chorus that does its part in resurrecting a killer bee.
The final stretch sees the bulk of Kid Cudi’s feature-less tracks, some unlikely collaborations, and getting back to his roots. “Brothers” was a dark horse song for me simply because I didn’t know how the chemistry of King Chip, A$AP Rocky, and Kid Cudi was going to work out based on their personality and style differences. However, the light synth and tropical drum combination makes for a perfect beat where all three rappers dish out above par verses between catchy, melodic Cudi-sung hooks. “Lord of the Sad and Lonely” and “Flight of the Moon Man” are directly reminiscent of work done on past albums, and the final instrumental will definitely leave you wanting another chapter from the Moon Man’s space diaries.
There are few people more interesting than Kid Cudi. Everything about him is so different, and that’s what I love most about his music. He refuses to hand us the same product in a different wrapper, and whether you like it or not, constantly changes the sound to give us the same person in a different light. Indicud might not be the Man on the Moon III that people were dying for, but that’ll just have to wait for next year.