When Kid Cudi first popped onto the rap scene in 2008, I was instantly drawn into his hard hitting psychedelic inspired instrumentation and the brutally honest rap lyrics. After releasing two solid, thought provoking solo rap albums Man on the Moon: The End of Day (2009) and Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager (2010), Cudi then released the joint rock album, WZRD (2012), with long time collaborator Dot Da Genius. Although WZRD was a solid alternative rock album, people unfortunately, could not wrap their heads around the experiment and yearned for the Kid Cudi who released the Man On The Moon series.
In the summer of 2012 Cudi announced the title of his third studio album when he tweeted: “My new album is entitled indicud, it will be my version of The Chronic 2001, some songs i’ll produce, others i’ll feat &/or play songwriter”. Excitement was high people assumed that Cudi would be returning too the sound that first captivated us.
Kid Cudi professed that on his last two albums he was in a very dark place as a person, in an interview with complex Cudi states “I can’t listen to [my old] songs now. It was so real and open and raw that if I listen to them I start feeling bad for myself because that was such a sad, sad life I was living. I was a really sad kid. It kind of bums me out. I don’t ever want to look back and listen to those records. At my shows is the only time I get into that space and think about those songs”. Close to the announcement of Indicud, Cudi gave insight into the direction he was taken by tweeting: “The overall tone of indicud is positive and confident.” Indicud does just that, it showcases his evolution from the lonely stoner – making relaxed, chilled out smoke music to becoming a well rounded individual, by taking the energy up a notch with up-tempos and positive lyrics.
The decision to act as the project’s sole producer didn’t do Cudi or the album complete justice. Indicud showcases that Cudi is not yet; and as great of a producer he thinks he is. While the production is not terrible, he definitely needed more time refining his production skills. It is very clear that Cudi is new to producing beats, tiny blemish’s are present throughout the album. From this the songwriting appears to have been affected presumably because Cudi has taking on too much.
The album features 18 tracks, and unfortunately the vast majority are mediocre at best. Tracks like “New York City Rage Fest” and “Afterwards (Bring Your Friends)“, came across as forced and not as epic, as it was intended to be. I can only see myself listening to about 5 tracks; this short list includes: “Just What I Am“, “Cold Blooded“, “Young Lady“, featuring Father John Misty, “Brothers“, featuring A$AP Rocky and King Chip, “Girls” which featured aging west coast rapper Too $hort, and “Beez” featuring Wu-tangs, RZA on the vocals.
Indicud might not appeal to everyone (especially if you were expecting something stylistically similar to the Man On The Moon series). This entire album is about Cudi’s progression from the darkness into the light, so as Kid Cudi grows, as fans it is now our turn, to let Cudi’s new inclines as a musician grow on us. Kid Cudi is still able to be open, completely honest and vulnerable while changing his sound to a more fun upbeat vibe.