November 11, 2010

Test Spins: KiD CuDi

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“You are now in the world I’m ruling,” announces Scott Mescudi (Kid Cudi) on “Scott Mescudi vs. the World (feat. Cee-Lo Green),” the opening track of his sophomore album Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager. The braggadocios claims of the album ring true — with a recent mobbed show at Barton Hall as proof, Kid Cudi is ruling hip-hop right now.

After releasing his single “Erase Me” a few months ago, many hip-hop fans have been scratching their heads over how exactly to label the new Cudder. Is he still a rapper? Rocker? Lonely stoner?

Although Cudi makes no attempts to define his genre, the music still speaks for itself. His dower tone and soulful raspy voice loom over his second album, lamenting the loneliness and darkness of the drug-infused high-life, all while maintaining the stylish swagger that has defined his music in the past. Kid Cudi’s second album is far darker than anything we’ve heard from him, but showcases a different side of the artist’s unique talent.

What stands out most about Cudder’s second attempt is the simplicity. Previously contemplating an album with features from a diverse array of superstars, Cudi trimmed down the guest appearances, deciding to focus more on honing his individual style. Tracks like “REVOFEV” and “Mr. Rager” showcase his remarkable ability to carry a melody through the depth of his voice. The guest appearances that remain add tremendously to the album, including two songs graced by the presence of Mary J. Blige. The combination of the two on “These Worries” is absolutely intoxicating.

If anything is lacking on Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager, it’s hip-hop. On songs like “The End,” in which Cudi decides to burst into full-out rhyme, he sticks to laid-back minimalist lyrics, befitting of his reclusive stoner persona. Fans of Cudi’s prior hype tracks will have to look elsewhere; the hip-hop phenom we once knew may have thrown away his up-tempo beats and quick-witted lyricism, but what has replaced it has its own appeal all the same.


Original Author: Adam Lerner