I’ve had this album for about a week now, but I’ve been putting off reviewing it. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I have so much to say about Kid Cudi’s debut album that I don’t even know where to start. I have a tendency to ramble, and I don’t want this post to be too long. But I’m going to give it a try because this album is absolutely fantastic, and everyone needs to hear about it.
Kid Cudi is not your typical rapper. He’s a 25 year old film school dropout from Cleveland, Ohio. Normally, this would affect his street cred as a hip hop artist, but in this case, it works to his advantage. This is because Cudi doesn’t rap about the typical subject matter we’ve come to expect from the big names in the hip hop industry, rather the opposite. Instead of talking about how much money he has, what kind of cars he pushes or how many girls he lays, he talks about how he is a sensitive loner type who wants to be somebody. And this is one of the best qualities of the album. You can actually relate to him.
The other fascinating concept that adds to the appeal of the album is the way it is laid out. Cudi’s used 15 tracks to literally tell a story about himself, his life, and his aspirations. And when I mean literally, I mean the album has an introduction, a body and a conclusion. It’s structured so that the lyrics and the music of each song is representative of 15 different chapters of a story. Sounds kind of hard to wrap your head around, so this is why this is the first time I’m telling you that you have to listen to this album (I will be repeating this several times). The first song, “In my dreams”, is a bit of a prologue, and its dreamy, hypnotic beat is supposed to represent Cudi dreaming. The album really starts with song two, aptly titled “S0undtrack 2 my life”, where he wakes up from his dream and starts the introduction to his story. And coincidentally, this is one of the best, if not the best tracks on the album. He gives insight into his background, where he comes from, and what you can expect from the rest of the story, and he lays it down with easy-on-the-ears verses and a sick chorus. The next track, “Simple as…” is an upbeat song with a catchy hook that Cudi put in to contrast the deeper, darker music on the rest of the album. He said that he wanted to throw in a “fun” track before he got to the more emotional music. Cue the next song…”Mr. Solo Dolo”. Cudi calls this song a nightmare (like the first track was a dream..this is his first nightmare on the album), and the beat is downright eery. He has done incredibly well giving you insight into the dark corners of his mind, and his alter ego, Mr. Solo Dolo refers to “feeling alone and just making all the wrong decisions…and feeling worthless”. He is referring to a certain chapter in his life. Incredible song.
The next couple of songs are the body of the story. “Heart of a Lion” and “My World” are good tracks, but are not standout singles (you have to listen to the cd to understand). “Day and Night” is the second nightmare, and I’m sure you’ve all heard it by now, being the first single on the album. Crazy song, but the Crookers remix is better. Cudi describes it as a song that has something for everyone, and any person that listens to it should be able to relate. “The Sky Might Fall”, produced by Kanye, is another upbeat track, and the uplifting lyrics are meant to reach out to you in “your darkest hour when you’re just looking for hope, you’re looking for answers”. Another unbelievable song. Immediately following this is the worst song on the cd. “Enter Galactic” is out of place and random, and really doesn’t fit with the rest of the album. But Cudi redeems himself immediately after with “Alive”, in which he describes himself “turning into a beast” in the third nightmare on the album. The beat in this song is addictive…like, black tar heroin addictive. There is a distinct sound of someone swinging a nunchuk in the backbeat of the song, and you just can’t get enough of it. The lyrics and the hook is equally addictive, and this is also a rival for the best song on the cd. But this is where the album dwindles down. “Make her Say” (also known as Poke her Face), is a collab with Kanye and Common that is a great listen, but gets old quickly. The next two chapters are kinda boring. The final song, the conclusion, is called “Up, up and Away (The wake & bake song)” , and is exactly that. It’s Cudi waking up from his dream-and-nightmare-addled sleep, smoking dope and starting his day. Really upbeat, and a great way to end the story.
In MY conclusion, I should note that every song is good. In its own way, every song on the album is good. (except for Enter Galactic). So if I made it seem as though any of the songs were forgettable, I apologize. They might not be songs that you will listen to over and over again, but they tie the album together well. The nightmares absolutely stand out as the shining stars on the album. Cudi’s dark side also happens to be his most intriguing. Lyrically, he is by no means the best rapper you’ve ever heard, or even the second best. But he understands music as an entity. He understands that words and music put together is what makes an album…not just words, and not just music. You REALLY need to listen to the album to understand what I mean. As a first effort, Kid Cudi deserves a huge amount of credit for coming out of nowhere, and instead of being another “me too” rapper, creating something that people might hate, but is totally unique. I will tell you, when I first started listening to the album, I had no expectations whatsoever. Day n Night was a fantastic single, but alot of the stuff I’d heard from Cudi on the mixtape circuit was sub-par. This album blew me away, and now I cant stop listening to it. My honest opinion is to bypass Itunes on this one and go to the store and buy the album. The cover artwork is amazing, and I’m all about supporting up and coming rappers who do something unique. I’ll end off with a quote from Cudi that will either make or break your decision to listen/buy the album. “i dont consider myself a genius, but i aint a dummy either…if u like my music its not gonna b bcuz of some witty line i said or me bein political, its gonna b bcuz u connect with me as a person n u relate 2 my story at the same puttin yaself n my SB Dunks u feel me?…dats it.”