Around the release of Ohio rapper Kid Cudi’s sophomore effort Man on the Moon II, a friend asked me, “What does Kid Cudi have left to rap about?” Although I was (and still am) a fan of Cudi at that time, the question was seriously racking my brain. Even though both of Cudi’s first two albums were commercial successes (and critical, to a lesser extent), I wondered whether or not Cudi would be able to venture onto a third follow-up that would be just as lucrative and crowd-pleasing. Unfortunately, that’s when Cudi took a huge left turn. His third record, Indicud, is a lazy, inept, and disorienting album, weighed down by his lackluster rapping and monotonus rhythms. It’s more disappointing that the title of Cudi’s third record isn’t Man on the Moon III, marking a cutoff from what seemed like the end of a trilogy. Though his music is intentionally isolated and emotionally distant, this seems like a pretty deceptive and angsty move to do. Even with the huge successes of psychedelic rap songs like “Day ‘n’ Nite” and “Pursuit of Happiness,” as well as electro-rock jams, “Erase Me” and “Revofev,” Cudi’s lack of drive to continue developing new ideas has unfortunately led to the result of Indicud.
Unlike his first two albums, Indicud is solely produced by Cudi, though with some help from WZRD collaborator Dot da Genius on drums. Fellow producer Hit-Boy, who supplied the enticing beats of prior Cudi songs, only co-produced one song off Indicud. Despite the lack of collaborative production, this album is filled with great artists, but some not seeming like they belong on a hip hop album. Although the list of recognizable rappers, such as ASAP Rocky, King Chip, Too $hort, Kendrick Lamar, and RZA, are credible, their appearances don’t create a lasting impression. The artists that don’t fit in on the album are unfortunately featured on the worst songs: “Red Eye” features Haim, an indie-pop trio with great composition but zero chemistry with Cudi whatsoever; “Young Lady” features the alt-rock newcomer Father John Misty, whose sampled “Hollywood Cemetery Forever Sings” would be better left in its original version; the preposterously 9-minute “Afterwards (Bring Yo Friends)” features singer Michael Bolton. Michael. Bolton. Let that sink in. No matter the amount of effort that was put into this album, Cudi fails on almost every level on Indicud.
Understanding that Cudi is considered a self-described “lonely stoner,” it makes sense that he tends to explore and philosophize the concepts of life, loneliness, bitterness, and dreams in his music. However outside his own little world, he’s gained a popular cult following of high school and college kids, several collaborations with Kanye West and other Roc-A-Fella artists, and a charming role in the recently-cancelled HBO show How to Make it In America. Unfortunately, barely any of these aspects are seen in Indicud. Grittier, gloomier, and overly nonchalant, Cudi instead fluffs Indicud with 70 minutes of basic crap. Even from listening to snippets of the album on iTunes is disappointing. The only song that, thankfully, is worth hearing on Indicud is its first lead single “Just What I Am.” Given its decent vocals from Cudi and rapper King Chip and its airy electronic sound, “Just What I Am” is Indicud‘s sole standout. Basically everything else though is a faceplant. Going back to the aforementioned question, I once again asked myself, “What does Kid Cudi have left to rap about?” After listening to Indicud, I’d have to say that he has stuff to rap about, but the question is whether or not he’s willing to share it with the world or if he’s just tired of rapping.
Suggested Tracks: “Just What I Am”