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Still Paving His OWN Way into Hip-Hop
on November 9, 2010
Kid Cudi has been somewhat of an "alternative" hip-hop star since his breakthrough debut album and lead single "Day & Night" debuted in 2008. He brought the "emo" emotions from Rock and the Alternative genres to hip-hop. His style might not be traditional and might even turn off some fans of the art of hip-hop, yet his success proves that there are many who were able to relate to the man and his emotions. Cudi once again brings his dark tone, long bridges and intriguing yet, hollow beats to yet another successful album.
Track by Track
1.) Scott Mescudi VS. The World (feat. Cee-Lo) - 4/5 - Cudi assigns one of the "alternative" kings Cee-Lo (from Gnarles Barkley) on the chorus and it goes over well. It is a great song to open up the album. It gives the listener a good idea as to what is to come. The beat doesn't sound like something that would be on a #1 hip-hop album, yet it is to be expected from Kid Cudi. It reminded me of something that might have been on Kanye West's "808 & Heartbreaks" as far as the beat is concerned. Cudi delivers a nice traditional flow which makes the song have more single appeal than it would have if he were to have experimented more. He played it safe, but it paid off
2.) REVOFEV - 5/5 - The beat comes into the speakers and one knows exactly who will be speaking over it. This is a typical Cudi song, but once again it comes through very well. His flow is more of a "talking" flow, yet accompanied with the beat it is a well produced song which will most likely be one of the best tracks on the album. Instead of being completely dark, it surprisingly has a little bit of a head nodding nature to it that will differentiate it a little from previous efforts. "I am your big brother," Cudi proclaims and entices you to follow him for the new revolution (of hip-hop). Another single worthy track
3.) Don't Play This Song (feat. Mary J. Blige) - 2/5 - Cudi brings more traditional hip-hop into this track, but something holds it back from being more than just a good song. Mary J. Blige might be that affliction, but it is difficult to tell. It's a slower track yet with Mary it seems to be bogged down more than it should. The lyrics and subject matter seem deep and dark, but with Mary's voice it just seems to distract the listener from the atmosphere Cudi was trying to create. "You want to know what I sound like without drugs?/Please don't play this song"
4.) We Aite (Wake Your Mind Up) INTERLUDE - a very short interlude. It doesn't take anything away from the album's flow. It's very short and seems like it could have been added to the end of any track rather than giving it it's own numbered track
5.) Marijuana - 4/5 - Kid Cudi has never shied away from admitting his love for the green plant and this song take sit one step further. This is his dedicated song to his favorite drug. And though, as a hip-hop fan, it seems that maybe we've heard one too many songs dedicated to marijuana, Cudi executes a track that is very infectious and fits well with his dark theme.
6.) Mojo So Dope - 5/5 - One again Cudi brings is own style of flow to this track. His vocals are instantly recognizable. One either hates or loves what this man brings to the song and most will love this track. Lyrically Cudi gets personal and reflects on what is reality and what is fantasy when it comes to his image. The darkness drips from the track and will continue the listener down the road of where Cudi wants to take them. An excellent track
7.) Ashin' Kusher - 2/5 - Something is missing from this track that keeps it from being anything more than just an average song. It seems like it could be somewhat of a filler. The chorus is somewhat of a thrown together mess that shows his effort. The beat is average at best. It doesn't seem to flow with the songs leading up to it. Theres just nothing special about the song.
8.) Erase Me (feat. Kanye West) - 4/5 - When it comes to executing singles, Cudi is hit or miss. His "Day & Nite" single from his debut was a smash because it was different than what everyone was used to in the hip-hop world. However, with "Erase Me" he seems to have crafted a track which drips with mainstream, yet it works extremely well. The sure fire hit isn't much for rap flow, except for Kanye, who rips a memorable verse toward the end the track. Yet Cudi seems to have his rockstar aura on because he "sings" most of the track. Expect this one to be overplayed on radio (if it hasn't already)
9.) Wild'n Cuz I'm Young (feat. Kanye West) - 5/5 - Cudi's 100% rap song here. It drips with swagger and bravado. It will remind some of the golden era of hip-hop where the head nods and the lyrics are memorable. This is a very good hip-hop record. Cudi's flow is a little slow, yet is impactful with it's execution. Kanye, once again, adds a great verse. It might not be along the lines of what Cudi has been accustomed to, but he delivers an outstanding track
10.) The Mood - 3/5 - The beat sticks out to me on this track. And Cudi's flow delivers short verses that end with accentuating the beat. He brings the darkness once again - the subject matter is more about "getting lost in the mood." The listener can't help but to comply
11.) Maniac (feat. Cage) - 4/5 - Cudi once again brings the darkness. The harrowing beat is memorable on this track once again, but also the lyrics surprisingly are also something that one will take away from it. It's not all "atmosphere." Cage brings a very good verse to a disjointed song. But it works. If you like Cudi, you will like this track
12.) Mr. Rager - 5/5 - Another one that is single worthy. This space influenced track has Cudi at his most comfortable state. Instead of being his traditional "darkness" he brings his creativeness to space age. The beat is infectious on this track. The entire song is very well put together. The lyrics talk about where Cudi is headed as an artist. The chorus is one of the best on this album
13.) These Worries - 4/5 - This track brings wordplay to it and will comply with any hip-hop fan. Cudi brings, short stabs of lyricism into the track. Mary J. Blige once gain graces the album, but this time she fits in better than her previous showing. The beat slows down and music merely stops, but then you heard Cudi sniff and the music starts once again. His subject matter touches on his drug use (Cocaine) and how he is tired of "people telling me they are worried about me." It's a great track.
14.) The End - 3/5 - Another 100% hip-hop track. The chorus is repetitive and the rappers who are featured all take their turns on telling stories of "the game." Most are stories about "blowing up" and "getting paid." Death is also something that is touched on. The song itself works out well, but isn't anything special. It doesn't fit with the rest of the album and sticks out too much from the other tracks
15.) All Along - 4/5 - Another personal track from Cudi. That is what he does, but here he does it very well. The lyrics are probably his most dark within the album. "All along/All alone/I know I'm made to be alone." The beat fits well and isn't merely a depressing organ - it's got all the characteristics of a well produced beat. Musically, it is a gem. One of Cudi's best on the album
16.) Ghost - 3/5 - Cudi brings his rock star out once again in the beginning of this track. He rambles through the lyrics in an almost mumbling state. It seems lazy. The beat is average and his effort doesn't show much promise. The chorus saves it from being a horrible song, but doesn't save it from being anything more than an average Cudi song
17.) Trapped In My Mind - 5/5 - What a way to finish the album. Autotune (a "calmed down" version of it) was used for this one, but Cudi's creativity brings it to another level. The tone of the track brings more darkness. His "singing" works more here than it has in the past. He tells that he is trapped in his mind and his darkness. "He isn't that bad, but he knows he's crazy." Something we can all relate to
Kid Cudi spoils us with 17 (16 minus the interlude) tracks. Most albums seem to be around the 10-12 mark, but he gives us much more while still being consistent. This album is better, more polished, put together and creative than his debut album. I would have liked to see him bring back MGMT for at least one song (something I loved about the first album), but it's worth the purchase. But if you were not a fan of Cudi himself, he hasn't changed. He fits himself even more into his image. Like it or not, hip-hop is changing and he is one of the revolutionaries.