What can I say about Kid Cudi?
Perhaps I should start with his three underdog Grammy nominations, including Best Rap Song for his chart topping stoner anthem “Day ‘n’ Nite.” Maybe I should mention that his fashion sense, impeccably thought out but endearingly casual, earned him a spot on a list of the most stylish New Yorkers. Or I could talk about his other Grammy nominated song “Make Her Say” (also Grammy nominated), an addictive track that samples Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” and has delightful guest verses by Kanye West and Common. The music video for “Make Her Say” is probably the most chill thing I’ve ever seen: a split screen masterpiece set in a beautiful pastel utopia of balloons, worn couches, empty swimming pools, and hotel lobbies. And then there is his role in the cast of the new Mark Walhberg produced, Entourage-style HBO dramedy How To Make It In America, about a design school dropout and his criminally connected friend trying to hustle their way to success in New York’s high end fashion scene. Cudi, along with DJ Green Lantern and Broke Mogul, compiled some of the show’s music into a wonderful soundtrack mixtape. Or maybe I should just say that more than any other artist (well, any other artist not named Lupe Fiasco), Kid Cudi makes me feel really good about where hip-hop is going these days.
So Scott “Kid” Mescudi, originally hailing from Cleveland but starting his career in NYC, has a new mixtape out this month, Cudderisback, and you should definitely check it out, especially if you haven’t listened to much Kid Cudi. The tape is a mix of great of new and old material (a few of the tracks were on his first studio album, Man On The Moon: The End Of Day), of poppy dance remixes and pure, low-key lyricism. Cudi has great flow and a voice that is really nice to listen to, both when he is rapping and when he is singing. You never want to skip the chorus to get to the verse.
Kid Cudi is cool, but he never tries to be gangster. That’s part of his next generation appeal. He talks a lot about smoking pot, but he doesn’t pretend, like so many rappers do, that doing so is somehow badass (and how could it be?). He doesn’t brag very much. Instead, he talks very plainly and personally about doubts and dreams, struggles, hopes and frustrations. The first track on the album, “Highs N Lows” is a hypnotic list of often very mundane triumphs and tragedies — events that don’t belong to any rich rapper fantasy world or gangster ghetto, but are instead the building blocks of a real human life. This first song is wonderful, and it alone makes the album worth downloading.
I do have one complaint: the guys that mixed the album marred the tracks with reverby DJs occasionally shouting “Scranton’s kid, baby!” and “Di-di-digital product!” When it happens it totally takes you out of the song and an otherwise seamless mixtape. This doesn’t reflect poorly on Kid Cudi at all, but I couldn’t find a copy of the mixtape without these interjections. So I thought it best to warn you, and assure you from the beginning that the album is good enough to be worth putting up with this crude watermark.
Kid Cudi is a pleasure to listen to every time I hear him. You can download Cudderisback for free at http://www.toflo.com/category/all/music/download-kid-cudi-cudderisback-mixtape/.