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Sunday, June 2, 2013

New Jersey White Boy's Rap of the Week: Indicud by Kid Cudi

Kid Cudi is the most tragic story in music today. Some might say Amy Winehouse is much sadder story, but trust me, Kid Cudi is worst. You start off with a young star, making a name for himself in the Chicago mixtape game. He gets signed by one of the biggest, most talented Chicago rappers of all time. He lets the fame, and drugs, go to his head, and ends up a strung out, overconfident, wasted talent. Amy Winehouse was able to find dignity in death; Scott Mescudi has none left.

If there’s a better story about why you shouldn't do drugs as a famous person, Kid Cudi is it. And Indicud is his insanity plea.

Just look at the first single, “Just What I Am”. He starts off with the bridge “I. Need. Smoke. I. Need. To smoke” and the hook “I wanna get high y’all/need it need it to get by y’all”. Then he launches into a verse where he says that he’s punching walls and “fucking up [his] hand”, he doesn't need a shrink’s advice on how to deal with his mental illness (because he can diagnose and treat himself), and that his prescription isn't working compared to his usual routine of being high every waking second of the day. This is the point where family members and friends would step in and convene an intervention to get him some help.

Then in “King Wizard” he leads off with a blunt inhalation and saying “fuck you” to all the people who aren't his family, friends, fans, or “people who care about him”. In other words, if you don’t agree with him, you’re not worth his time. Which the exact symptom cocaine. And speaking of coke, “Girls” comes off as 1970’s coked up, sex-fueled LA or Miami trip through the upper class. Cudi apparently so rich that he doesn't even see any girl less than a 9 because of the places he goes, and he knows he’ll be able to have sex with all of them. It less of “I got a bunch of bitches” brag and more of a “my life is a blur, filled with drugs and sex, which is exactly what happens right people the protagonist dies in every movie like that” song.

The amount of drugs you need to think that you look good in that would make Tony Montana blush
Afterwards” fits right into the over-confident, creepy, coke vibe of the whole thing. Michael Bolton provides some interesting vocals to the song. At first its’ a cool, fun hook he throws in – “we should go to my home/afterwards, come on/bring your friends/we should go to home/afterward, come on” he belts out in Bolton-y fashion, beckoning these hot and drunk girls to his house after the club shuts down for….  I’m assuming a nap and some prune juice, given his age. But then it repeats. And repeats. And keeps going, taking on a rapey vibe, especially considering how much older Michael Bolton than your average club girl. And then it’s just the beat, cautionary synths, and “bring your friends”. It’s creepy as hell, and makes it sound like he wants to fit a week’s worth of rape/murder into one night because he’s too busy being Michael Bolton to spread it out. It’s supposed to be Kid Cudi’s magnum opus, similar to Frank Ocean’s “Pyramids”. Except “Afterwards” has Michael Bolton, while “Pyramids” is a pretty decent song.

You can hear the cocaine seeping through every note on every track. That gaudy, over the top, flashy-but-not-substantive production. The swagging vocals with not much to back it up (“He will provide me with a nine if I need or a streetsweeper”? Really? You’ll shoot a guy Kid Cudi?). The overconfidence in the “fuck people who don’t agree with me” lyrics. The slurred, mumbled delivery. While I would say that Moon Man 2 was his most weed and depression inspired album, his last 2 albums have just become increasingly drug and psychosis inspired. It’s a tragedy to see an artist that I saw as the king of the sad and lonely turn down a path of utter self-destruction, from the relatable weed smoker to the heavy stoner to the strung out rocker to the relapsing druggy. It’s honestly one of the most poignant stories of real consequences to mental illness and heavy drug abuse on a talented individual in a long time.

Just listen to the difference between “Solo Dolo” and “Solo Dolo Part 2”. It’s insane to hear how much hear heart and honesty and realness and reality and depressing relatability he had on Part 1. Especially when you compare it to the mostly gaudy, pseudo-depressingly flashy elements of LA rich society that he had on part 2. When will he ever learn from the words in his songs that he needs honest counseling and strict rehab. He could have been a contender, and he took a dive in the 4th to make a few bucks.

I mean, if Kid Cudi’s entire career is an act, a character, a planned stunt of some kind, it’s one of the most long term, impressive stunts I've ever seen, and rivals the Ziggy Stardust saga. I mean, look at his interview with Complex for the making of WZRD – he’s trying to be Jimi Hendrix, and we know where that ended up. And this album would be the centerpiece album in the 4 album concept career. But the thing is, I’m 99% certain that this is real life for him, and it’s horrible to have to witness it.

As a Cudi fan from the first time “Day N Nite” grace my ears so many years ago, I feel obligated to say that he needs professional help, to go to rehab, and to quit all the drugs. It’s done nothing but ruin what I saw as a thoughtful, depressed, talented artist. And it’s certainly depressing.

1 comment:

  1. Side note, for those that may not know - Kid Cudi gave up weed (and I assume other drugs) for about 2 years, give or take. He went back to smoking for this album.