Indicud is a soulless record. While it seems a bit rash to say, one listen to KiD CuDi’s latest project feels like it lacks something necessary, as if the Cleveland MC/sprechstimmer made music with a checklist in hand and his passion locked in a cage and buried underground.
Some might say that this disappointing result was inevitable, and they might be right. While CuDi started off strong with his cocksure debut mixtape A Kid named Cudi, and his subsequent Yeezy-assisted studio debut Man on the Moon: The End of Day, his enigmatic, “out-there” atmosphere and self-reflective lyrics have become the norm, and even perfected by other artists.
After all, if Drake’s kitten-friendly hip hop and Future’s absurd yet soulful warbling are not extensions of what Mescudi’s been pushing for years now, then I don’t know what is. Furthermore, his open confession to drug abuse and his following sobriety are great to hear, but unsettling reminders of where he found inspiration for his dark, moody music and what gave him the will to do so. Indicud, although featuring a clean-cut CuDi, has him trying the same ol’ thing without the drive.
That’s why songs like “Young Lady” and “Mad Solar” come off as stale demos of his previous tracks: the former has a cool Father John Misty sample, but is marred by CuDi’s lazy songwriting (“You got it going on, young lady?” What guy calls girls “young lady” as a come-on?) and the latter is an arid track, one that offers nothing beyond its poor production reminiscent of a public access science fiction show from the 50s and his increasingly annoying wide-mouthed yammer: “People think I’m MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD…” These songs sound like the squeezed-out remnants of a used toothpaste tube. It’s not an egregious excuse for rap, it just lacks so much form and content that it struggles so hard.
CuDi consistently drops the ball, only having slight triumphs here and there, especially concerning the ultra-synthy production which he mainly handled and guest features. As his own composer, he definitely gets the sort of moody and unsettling tones needed to fulfill his vibe, as “The Resurrection of Scott Mescudi,” “Young Lady” and “Brothers” are good indications of that. The most cohesive track, however, was produced by Dot Da Genius, a producer CuDi has made magic with in the past.
Also, he gets great — no, much-needed — assistance from guest features. The obvious standouts are Kendrick Lamar, who single-handedly saves “Solo Dolo Part II” by coercing CuDi into just rapping, and The RZA does likewise on “Beez,” which has the Wu-Tang sensei dropping hard bars as CuDi handles hook duties. King Chip also provides solid verses, but female trio Haim and the completely un-friggin’-believable guest feature in Michael Bolton fall flat.
Just go listen to his previous works and feel the grace, the livelihood of the music; how a young black man from Cleveland found a way to express himself in a method nearly antithetical to the big-budget loudness of rap’s yesteryears. None of that exists in the cheaply produced, drunkenly-performed song cycle that is Indicud.
CuDi, please listen to A Man Named Cudi again. Getcha groove back.
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