Given Kid Cudi’s erratic cult of personality, it’d be easy to dismiss the grandiose promises for his completely self-produced album, Indicud. At times, this knee-jerk reaction seems unwarranted; there are some great moments in the album, daring and exciting sounds playing off one another in a way that only a mind like Kid Cudi can inspire. And then there are the face-palming tracks, heavy enough to dilute a project that otherwise could have been very, very good.
One of the album’s best moments comes within the first three songs. After a few spins, lead single “Just What I Am” takes its place next to various throwbacks from Man On The Moon: The End of Day and A Kid Named Cudi among the best in Cudi’s highlight reel of quirky stoner jams. King Chip (as he does on “Brothers” and ‘”Afterwards (Bring Yo Friends)”) delivers a solid sixteen, and a hazy-eyed party beat helps mask Cudder’s obvious deficiencies on the mic, as the best Cudi tracks tend to.
Juxtapose “What I Am” with what precedes it, “Unfuckwitable,” and listeners can understand why this album is such a bumpy experience. A grimy beat wrestles with bars that redefine the term “struggle” and a teeth-grinding hook. It’s hard to understand what was supposed to happen when a metal guitar chord gets in a head-on collision with deliberately un-melodic singing, but whew, listeners can’t get out fast enough.
And so it goes. “Young Lady” is cut from the same cloth as “Erase Me,” but pulls off the ‘Cudi-does-rock’ thing better than its predecessor, thus making it a solid track to the open-minded audience. To the close-minded who can’t stand Cudi’s wailing, it will infuriate. The album seems to follow this distribution rather evenly: “Red Eye” is a melodic gem, “Solo Dolo Pt. 2” is a love-or-hate affair and the hook on “Girls” should have never happened. Those last two songs have a common thread, though: great features by Kendrick Lamar and Too $hort, respectively. The two of them, A$AP Rocky, the RZA and King Chip make for a solid guest list that oftentimes masks Scott Mescudi’s deficiencies.
But we have to reward Cudder for this boldness because there are some great moments on his latest release. There’s also an abundance of filler and failed experiments which won’t merit much attention on repeated listens. The good is present in Indicud, but there is enough bad to make the final product an experience only a bit above average.
Label: G.O.O.D., Republic | Producers: Kid Cudi