The build up to the release of this album (which is due out April 23rd) has been quite interesting to say the least. Only a matter of days ago, Cudi revealed he had parted ways with Kanye West's label G.O.O.D. Music to focus on starting his own label, a bold move for someone with an album in the pipeline. He also has been showing off his production talents, with pretty much every song being released from him self-produced, as well as revealing a number of interesting collaborations, such as HAIM and Michael Boulton. One thing was sure; after his affair with rock, Cudi was back on his own brand of depressed, sing-songy hip-hop. What's unclear is whether his new methods and allegiances can pay off. Interesting.
After giving Indicud several listens, it stands out to me as an album of two parts. One part has stellar chorus’, extremely impressive guest vocals and the standard drug-addled rap we come to expect from Cudi. The other part unfortunately represents an album filled with very poor and repetitive production.
The best songs come from when Cudi is pushing the boundaries of his genre; “Red Eye”, his duet with girl indie rock band HAIM has both artists pushing themselves creatively, with HAIM providing almost R&B sounding vocals over the track. An even stronger moment comes from the epic 9-minute long “Afterwards (Bring Yo Friends)”, which features vocals from 60-year old (seriously) soft rock singer Michael Boulton and frequent collaborator King Chip. It begins with an almost house-sounding beat, with bouncy drums and Boulton sounding perfectly at home and perfectly in touch with today’s music, asking us to “bring our friends” and “go to his home” (someone should probably alert the authorities). It then turns into a dark, woozy backdrop more reminiscent of previous Cudi efforts.
“Brothers” is a posse cut featuring King Chip (who makes 3 appearances on the album) and man of the moment A$AP Rocky, who provides a top notch verse over the chill beat, with Cudi crooning a sleepy chorus full of “ooh ahhs” and reminding us “this is how it’s ‘sposed to be”. Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA shines over the hard hitting “Beez”, with the sinister beat complimenting his slurred delivery. Kendrick Lamar is another note-worthy guest, who joins Cudder on “Solo Dolo Part II” (guess that makes them not so solo), which is a polar opposite of the original song, with a quick time and futuristic sounding instrumental.
Perhaps one of the strongest moments is “Immortal”, which has Cudi singing an empowering chorus over a backwards MGMT sample. This song truly is top-of-the world music; I dare you to listen and not belt out “TONIGHT I FEEL IMMORTAL” at the top of your lungs. Class song writing! “Just What I Am”, which has been out for a while now, is another strong point with it’s stoner-perfect synthy backdrop and distorted chorus; It’s Cudi back in his element and has him on top form.
However, the poorly produced tracks really do bog down the album. Songs like “Burn Baby Burn” and “Lord Of The Sad and Lonely” have the most uninspired beats, which are repetitive and are genuinely difficult to listen to. “Unfuckwittable” has a messy and guitar-laden instrumental which makes it basically impossible to hear what Cudi is saying over the top. Other songs production are just boring and forgettable, like “King Wizard” and “Mad Solar”. I’d say more about them, but I literally can’t remember, that’s how dull they were.
Indicud has Cudi aspiring for greatness and for that he should be applauded. Unfortunately, several songs stop the album dead and I can’t help but feel disappointed. Perhaps Cudder should of gone elsewhere for beats to switch up the album a little; it’s admirable that it’s self produced but he could of gone to Kanye for a couple last favors to avoid this mundanity. However, Cudi fans will be happy as it has a number of strong cuts of his own brand of alternative hip-hop, but I still feel it’s weaker than his last two studio albums. OK it’s probably better than Man Of The Moon 2. Cudi has pushed himself again and has provided several more anthems to add to his catalogue; if you can forget about and sift through the shit songs this is actually a pretty decent album.