By Greer Smith
The last time Kid Cudi released an album, there were mixed reviews. Cudi became known for his trippy, stoner style presented on his first two albums, Man on the Moon: The Guardians (2009) and Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager (2010). After he reportedly stopped using marijuana, he released his 2012 album WZRD with Dot da Genius, which was for many, an unwelcome break from the norm due to its punk rock sound.
Now he is back, independent of his former label G.O.O.D Music, with his latest album, Indicud. The title could be a reference to a blend of his name and the Indie music style that Cudi emulates on a few of the tracks. However, it is more likely a play on his name and the word Indica, a type of marijuana, suggesting that he is back to his old habits. Whatever the reason for the name, Indicud is a strong blend of the hip hop sound Cudi fans once knew and the rock sound he seems to enjoy.
Unlike his last solo album, Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager, which had a dark sound and theme, Indicud is very upbeat. It starts with the song, “The Resurrection of Scott Mescudi,” which Cudi produced without words, just a powerful beat. The title, which uses Cudi’s birth name, suggests that this album is a rebirth of some sort for Cudi.
One of the most uplifting songs on the album is “Brothers,” featuring rappers A$AP Rocky and King Chip. The song is about Cudi’s love for the people who have come into his life and are now like family. He says in one line, “The brothers that I never had made my life a lot less sad.”
In addition to his new outlook and sound, Cudi is also taking the reigns as producer of the entire album for the first time. Instead of rapping or singing on some tracks, he has no, little to no lyrics, or features another lead singer.
One of the most notable songs of this kind is “Red Eye” which features the Los Angeles band Haim on the lead vocals. It is a catchy song about being lost and just “floating through the night on the Red Eye.”
Some songs, such as “Young Lady” featuring John Misty, present a combination of hip hop and punk rock. The song has a strong electric guitar and punk vibe while Cudi raps and sings along.
Two other songs, “Solo Dolo Pt. II” featuring Rapper Kendrick Lamar, and “Cold Blooded” show off the hip hop aspect of the album. The beats are both strong and make for two of the best tracks on the album.
Though there is still the hip hop presence in the album, it lacks a lot of Cudi rapping himself. He is still a rapper, and it would be nice to hear a track where he shows off his signature flow. Instead of leaving “The Resurrection of Scott Mescudi” void of lyrics, maybe he could have dropped a few bars to remind the hip hop fans he is still with them.
Despite giving up some of the rap we know and love, it is still a great album. It is definitely versatile, crossing genres as well as featuring various artists, from Kendrick Lamar to Michael Bolton. Some fans may not appreciate it as much as they did Cudi’s earlier albums because his sound has changed over time, but any real fan will recognize it for the musical gift it is.