"Once you realize you can do anything, you're free ... You could fly."
The first words of an album are often an indicator of the overall feel and direction of the album, and the new album "Indicud" is no exception. While producing or co-producing, writing and singing/rapping on every track, Scott Mescudi, who goes by the stage name Kid Cudi, genuinely believes he can do anything. "Indicud" attempts to reinvent Kid Cudi, once again, with an indie/rap fusion album that he likens to Dr. Dre's "2001."
Dr. Dre's "2001" is a beloved rap album because it is one of the first albums where a rap artist produced or co-produced every song and even left some songs devoid of his vocals entirely. However, there is a stark difference between Dr. Dre and Kid Cudi. Dr. Dre had always been primarily a producer while Cudi has always been the more of the writer/rapper.
Cudi's role switch to producer generally pays off within the album. Although songs like "New York City Rage Fest" sound like something any kid with GarageBand or a beat-pad could produce, some songs have very simple and repetitive beats that allow for a much rawer sound and emphasize the vocals and lyrics far more than most mainstream rap beats.
"Just What I Am," featuring King Chip, is a perfect example of this. The instrumental has only two or three layers, which is unheard of for most rap songs. Because of this, Cudi and King Chip's lyrics about their favorite "herb" resonate astoundingly well. The chorus, which is fabulously layered with vocals from Cudi, reverberates in your ears and stays stuck in your head for days. The lyrical content of this song is much more than typical marijuana anthems. It's an ode to being a free-spirit. "Just What I am" also gives fans a look into Cudi's mind by illustrating his reaction to pills prescribed by his psychiatrist.
"Indicud" does, however, have a few disappointing songs, but none more unsatisfying then "Solo Dolo, Part II," featuring Kendrick Lamar. The disappointment stems from two things. First, "Solo Dolo" is a fan favorite song for not only its lyrical content but also its superb production; second, Lamar is currently one of the biggest names in the rap game. Because of these two reasons, fans of either artist could reasonably expect an epic song. Sadly, the collaborative effort falls short. The beat is no match to its predecessor and even with a solid verse from Lamar, the lyrics lack the content that is so easily identifiable from the original "Solo Dolo."
Although "Indicud" has quite a few rap songs, the album is ultimately an indie record, hence the name of the project. Songs like "Immortal" and "Red Eye," featuring Haim, really drive this point home. Other than harmonizing on the chorus, "Red Eye" is almost entirely absent of Cudi's vocals and is sung by the entirely female indie band featured on the track. "Immortal" is an ode to living life without fear on top of powerful strings and bass and is entirely devoid of rapping, the perfect platform for Cudi to showcase his improving vocals.
The album is wrapped up with one of the most surprising collaborations one will ever hear. "Afterwards," featuring Michael Bolton and King Chip, is a groovy after-party tune. Bolton, one of the most famous pop-artists of the '70s and '80s, provides one of the most original sounding juxtapositions ever heard on a song with a rapper. King Chip, whose presence may be a little too prevalent on "Indicud," vibes surprisingly well with Bolton's groovy chorus. "Afterwards" is over 9 minutes long and the second half of it is the beginning of the outro. This song is the perfect closing song to a very original album.
Although "Indicud" may have a bit too many features from King Chip and probably needs some instrumentals from past producers like Kanye West, Emile and Plain Pat, "Indicud" is a solid start to a promising production career and a continuation of Kid Cudi's constant attempts to reinvent himself.
"Indicud" is available for purchase on Amazon and iTunes and can be listened to for free on Spotify.