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‘Indicud’ is uncomfortable for the ears

Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 17:08

 

In 2008, young Cleveland native Scott Mescudi showed up to the hip-hop game. He not only made the team, but outshone other players. His creativity and metaphorical, complex language mystified listeners who, prior to his arrival, had not heard depth quite like it. Strange, yet provocatively so, Kid Cudi offered a subgenre of rap, one that was both experimental and almost alien-like, yet flowed seamlessly. For about three years, he cranked out mixtapes and two studio albums in between “Man on the Moon: The End of Day” and its sequel, “Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager.” Both were conceptual albums – ones made for a straight-through, nonstop listen. During this time, Cudi was signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music, an entirely mainstream label. Still, Cudi maintained his obscure sound and individualistic attitude, while also lending his collaboration to other artists of G.O.O.D.

Since the 2012 release of “WZRD,” Cudi has totally changed lanes musically. More specifically, it seems that he has run off the road. His once alternative, inventive hip-hop style has transformed into lazy, barely distinguishable noise, void of the high-grade Kid Cudi quality and beyond-basic lyricism fans have clung to for years. What used to be a beautifully pieced-together musical puzzle is now just a mess, as evident on his newest studio album “Indicud.” 

The intro, “The Resurrection of Scott Mescudi” is this industrial-sounding, house-gone-hardcore instrumental that just seems out of place. By no means was I expecting a soothing and mushy Drake-esque interlude, but I was at least hoping for something more compelling, more appealing. The next track, “Unf*kwittable,” is far from listenable. It is a series of menacing electronic effects paired with the strangest Cudi vocals we’ve heard yet. Listeners are left turned off. 

The album improves a little with the inclusion of “Just What I Am,” a collaboration with King Chip, (previously Chip Tha Ripper). Cudi’s drone-like vocals fit this one better, yet his lyrics don’t stray from “I need to smoke…I want to get higher.” “Girls” has a similar effect; another average song, albeit more coherent.

“Immortal” is tolerable, a little more “Man on the Moon,” but still doesn’t measure up in terms of replay value or uniqueness. The production is excellent, full of synthesizers and smoothly mixed sounds. The beat compensates for the less-harmonious vocals. 

On “Mr. Solo Dolo, PT. II” Cudi joins highly esteemed rapper Kendrick Lamar, the cacophonous track’s saving grace. The horror-movie song takes rap fans through a haunted house of trumpet sounds and bad bass that leave us wondering how this could ever succeed the original. 

Production is largely a contributor to “Indicud’s” failure. Although one could argue that Cudi isn’t to blame for at least half of the work, he does choose his beats, along with the vocals they accompany. The problem with this album lies in the fact that it’s as far from hip-hop and/or rap as a pig is to a monkey. Change is good, but there is no indication as to where Cudi is going. Listeners are left confused by the hour-plus long, sloppily strung-together EP. I’m unsure where the real Cudi went, but he is sorely missed.

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