Artist: Kid Cudi
Label: Universal Republic
Release Date: 4/16/2013
Kid Cudi’s career has been one in the shadows to a certain degree. He’s always been the guy in the background. The introspective and less mainstream wing of the G.O.O.D. Music team. Now that he’s left G.O.O.D. Music, it seems like he’s really free to spread his wings, but interestingly enough even on Indicud he appears happy to allow others to shine.
The features on this album are by far the highlights. On “Solo Dolo Pt. II,” Kendrick Lamar, to the surprise of no one paying attention, steals the track the same way he did on A$AP Rocky’s “F*cking Problem.” That’s just part of the game at this point. If you want Kendrick on a track prepare to be schooled, but the great thing about Cudi is that he doesn’t seem to mind. He wrote and produced this entire album, but unlike Kanye or Hit-Boy who take every opportunity they can to let everyone know that they’re a great MC, Cudi appears to lay back, pop some Xanies, and just let people enjoy what he’s done.
One track that’s sure to be a fan favorit is “‘Beez” featuring RZA. This is the best that RZA has been in years, much better than anything in the much anticipated, but unfortunately not great, Man With The Iron Fists Soundtrack. The drums are dirty and the instrumental is grimy. It sounds like an updated Wu-Tang track and again on this one, Cudi doesn’t even grab a verse for himself. You hear him only slightly in a back-up capacity during the chorus. It takes a selfless genius to understand when to take a back seat and let the greats be great.
Cudi isn’t always relegated to the background however. There are moments on the album when his ability to ride a beat with his lyrics are in full display. “Young Lady” starts off like a late ’90s Sheryl Crow song, but once Cudi comes in, his ability is on full display. “Burn Baby Burn” is a back to basics track. It’s only Cudi and features production that is as much trap as it is Nintendo, but Cudi is a master at blending his flow with the beat and the song is an understated joyride even without the cheat codes.
The two themes within the album from a lyrical standpoint are haters and drugs. He loves one and is less than enthusiastic about the other, but while other MC’s would fight the haters with braggadocio, Cudi seems happier to dust off his shoulder with the nonsense and allow the other theme of the album to sooth whatever pain they bring. “Mad Solar” is perhaps the best example of this. The song reads like a stream of conscious open letter to people trying to tear him down, but the line, “and people think I’m mad, then won’t you tell ‘em mad” appears to highlight that he’s fine with whatever perception people have of him because he’ll just move on. On “Lord of the Sad and Lonely” he brings the two themes together again. “The sky is fallin’, but I’m not worried at all/ got me some Xanies and a couple Adderall” is a line that really let’s you know Cudi’s outlook and coping mechanism.
This is by far Kid Cudi’s best album and most likely G.O.O.D. Music will be sad to have let him go so easily. The beats are accessible yet creative with enough of the commercial (“Just What I Am” and “King Wizard”) and the experimental tracks (the 9 minute long “Afterwards (Bring Yo Friends)” featuring Michael Bolton of all people, and the misleadingly titled “New York City Rage Fest” which features no lyrics and sounds in no way angry) to keep everyone happy. With Indicud, Cudi has solidified himself as an important voice in hip-hop, even if that voice is muffled by a cloud of smoke and heard in the back of a club while partying.