I was already on the cusp of saying how much I’ve enjoyed the musical maturation of Scotty. Yeah, we’ve seen these freshman for what seems like forever. Yet, what we sometimes lose track of the fact that Man On The Moon is his debut and he and his classmates are all still fresh in the game. But after catching his BET Rising Icon’s performance late the other night, I’m sold. Nothing about CuDi’s sound is perfect. His lyrics & delivery are still weak in spots, subpar in others. But the melodies & his ability to immerse himself into the album’s production & instrumentation make the listening experience ethereal.
While I’ve seen his music beleaguered as being “emo rap,” it’s actually driven more by a sound & feel that isn’t rap @ all to me. The formula for what rap was/is has been blurred by all the genre-bleeding that’s taken place over the years. A rapper doesn’t have to sell dope or struggle economically as a prerequisite. MOTM reflects that change, implementing elements of the musical aspects that Kanye employed on 808’s…, added in doses of Wayne’s seemingly nonsensical rhymes & lyrics covered in experiences: death of male mentors, a loner mentality, drug hazes, freaky ladies and all of the aspirations of a kid from Cleveland.
Growing up, life for me was about discovering Blackness. If you’re 28+ your parents were a part of the Civil Rights generation & the whole idea of racial identity was still very important. A lot of youth now, that’s not them. Things changed before Obama took office. Many of the ties that bind today’s culture stem from the immersion in pop culture. Where we were once different, we’re much more alike in our influences. A younger listener today is search within themselves more than they’re looking outward for answer. CuDi’s line in “Soundtrack To My Life” – “I try thinkin’ bout myself as a sacrifice, just to show the kids they ain’t the only ones that’s up at night” – reflects how he sees himself as a martyr for the cause. Luckily, fans & listeners see it the same way.
Sure, it reflects a youthful mentality to perceive yourself as the world’s sworn enemy. Yet, Hip-Hop revolves around youth. And when you watch the video clip above, nobody’s analyzing his lyrics. They’re immersed in the music and experience alongside CuDi. For a moment, they’ve found peace in their minds, an ultimate high in music that we all long to achieve.
Hopefully, the artist & the fan make their way together on a successful journey. He’s off to a good start looks like.