Kid Cudi-Going to the Ceremony

kid cudi
Usually, as far as releasing new material goes, Cudi’s pretty quiet in between albums. Yet, here he is throwing out a new freebie for the fans, just a couple of months removed from the release of his Indicud album. A pleasant surprise for sure.

With WZRD (Cudi and Dot Da Genius) listed as producers, you can rightly expect a heavy alternative influence- whilst many weren’t into their alt-heavy WZRD album, I felt it certainly had its moments, and this would have stood up rather well on that album. The razor sharp guitar chords command attention from the very beginning, with a chunky nature that drives the track forwards, and a slow-paced delivery that assists the airy synths in creating a nice sense of nighttime atmosphere, particularly on the hook. It’s rare to hear such spiky guitars used in that sort of dreamscape-esque context, and it most definitely works a treat with Cudi’s naturally melodic vocals, as his mellow delivery crawls through the track with a stop-start delivery that allows the production plenty of room to breathe. It’s an expansive sound that may be a taste of what a possible follow-up to the WZRD album may sound like, and one with lots of promise.

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Kid Cudi-Fine China (Freestyle...sort of)

A few years ago, when he was starting to emerge on the scene, myself and a few others found this video to be a fantastic introduction to how funny Kid Cudi can be. To be honest, it’s bloody funny even if you don’t like him.

Since then, Cudi’s genuinely comedic moments (outside of How To Make It In America) have been few and far between. With his new album on the horizon, he headed to Power 106 and took a quick stab over Chris Brown’s terrible new single, delivering some hilarious lyrics in a sleazy delivery that just escalates from relatively normality down to penis references. If only they had let him carry on. “You can suck on the NNYEAAH“.

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Kid Cudi-Girls ft. Too $hort

The newest release from Indicud, which recently had its tracklisting revealed, and Cudi’s made this one exclusively available for those who pre-order the LP on iTunes ahead of the album’s 22nd April release date.

It’s going to require a few listens to fully appreciate. There’s a rather offbeat quality to this, with Cudi’s singing/rapping hybrid being delivered at a deliberately inconsistent pace over a repetitive production, and whilst it’s initially disorienting, a couple of listens irons out the creases and makes this likeable fare. The production’s combination of gloomy synths and minimal helpings of percussion makes for dark, moody verses, enhanced by Cudi’s relatively monotonous delivery, before a slight upturn for the verses adds more emotion to Cudi’s vocals and positivity to the production. It’s not single material by any means, but feels as though it’ll be one that works well to maintain a bleak mood, and given Cudi’s penchant for proper album sequencing, that’s likely intentional. Doesn’t seem to have hit iTunes UK yet (tomorrow, I’d guess), but head here to pre-order from iTunes US.

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Kid Cudi-Indicud Artwork and Tracklist

Those who have watched his recent videos will be familiar with Cudi’s glamorous framing, a visual style he’s applied to his artwork here. The centrepiece of the artwork is certainly unique, with the explosiveness potentially representing Cudi pressing the reset button on his work, to some extent, or is quite simply just a massive fireball thrown in for a striking visual impact. It’s probably both, though the title of the opening track would probably suggest a lean to the former.

In any case, it’s definitely original enough to turn some heads on shop shelves (excuse me HMV, people still buy CDs right?). Whilst the artwork might be somewhat ambiguous, the tracklist is not: the features are incredibly diverse, with a collection of well-known and unexpected acts representing a multitude of genres, whilst there are several tracks many expected to be included (such as the three solo efforts he’s released most recently), along with some nice continuations of his Man on the Moon theme. Check it out below, and look out for the LP’s release on 23rd April (probably the 22nd over here).

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Kid Cudi-Immortal

The hype train for the upcoming Indicud album seemed to have slowed in recent weeks, but Cudi picks things up once again with the latest audio release, the first new produce from the album in over 2 months.

Those somewhat unconvinced with his recent work (for whatever reason) may be a little more into this. Whilst the influences of his enjoyable work with WZRD remains, the slow pacing and slightly dark soundscape feels more reminiscent of the work on his first album; the beat is in fact a reversed and edited version of MGMT’s Congratulations (who, of course, featured on that LP), with Cudi adding production touches on top. It’s a strong self-produced effort, with a nice blend of distorted guitars and a Ratatat-esque synth layer, whilst his vocal output veers more toward the singing/harmonising side of his work, vocals which allow the production’s natural momentum to remain unspoiled by over-engineered lyricism and singing. It’s a good advert for self-producing, as Cudi’s able to properly tailor his delivery to the beat he’s semi-created, and hence this is a good listen. Not classic Cudi, but still wouldn’t sound out of place on his revered debut album. Indicud coming 23rd April.

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Kid Cudi-King Wizard (Video)

One of the two singles Cudi’s let loose from the Indicud album, set for a release next year, and Cudi keeps the album’s buzz going with its second video in six weeks.

Admittedly, I haven’t given the track a great deal of play time since its release. Whilst the Ratatat-inspired production is a nice touch, first impressions were a little misleading as the track seemed to be a little schizophrenic: the positive verses don’t quite work with the slightly dark production, though independently they’re good elements.

With that said, the video’s likeable as it not only plays on that dichotomy, but serves to improve the effectiveness of the audio. The eerie, grim backdrop the video’s set on amplifies the darker side of the production, whilst Cudi’s bright outfit and natural charisma contrast that, and offer a visualisation of the motivational and uplifting lyricism. The video doesn’t have much of a theme otherwise, with the clip being solely a performance of the track, but its visual style certainly helps the audio and makes the audio’s duality a much more likeable concept. Indicud coming soon.

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WZRD-Teleport 2 Me, Jamie (Video)

I forgot just how good this song was. I’ve not returned to it for quite some time, and hence this makes for a lovely refresh of an excellent track.

On to business. The clip’s a rather unusual yet interesting one. It’s difficult to tell whether the effects, mannerisms and general layout are deliberately old-school and slightly corny, or whether that’s an unfortunate situation-given that the video leaked rather than being released, and Cudi seemingly had no problem with that, it muddies the waters somewhat in terms of its intentions. Nonetheless, it’s a fun clip that’s basically an enormous tripping out session, as Cudi and Dot play instruments in front of a space projection, whilst the former displays some decent emotion for the hook performances. The lighting style of the video is very likeable, as a mostly dark backdrop is frequently illuminated by bright flashes of colour, the aforementioned projection and much more, reflecting the bittersweet nature of the audio rather well. Enjoyable watch, even if it is slightly confusing as to its intented seriousness.

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Kid Cudi-Just What I Am ft. King Chip (Video)

I sense that the newer Cudi fans remain divided about this one, but myself and several longtime fans enjoyed the lead cut from his upcoming Indicud album.

This accompanying visual makes for Cudi’s directorial debut, and whilst it’s not as intricate as some of his previous video works, it’s rightfully not so and instead hones in on the positivity of the audio. Most of the focus is around Cudi and Chip having a relatively good time, whether it’s rolling around in a nice vehicle or partying with what appears to be a crowd that’s 98% ladies, and that’s a decent enough reflection of the feelgood audio. The often-dim, vintage movie-esque filters applied over the top of the scenes temper the party vibe somewhat, preventing it from becoming too cliche, whilst the gold frame around the edges combines with the filters to give the video an archaic, artsy twist. The driving scenes have a nice throwback reference to ‘Man on the Moon’ Cudi with the backdrop, and whilst this is a clip without too much going on, there’s enough charm about it to both supplement the audio and keep those original Cudi fans interested.

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Kid Cudi-King Wizard

That didn’t take long. Just a few days after streaming a preview of this track, a generous Kid Cudi previews the upcoming Indicud album by letting the full version go.

Cudi recently mentioned he’s been working heavily with Ratatat on this LP, and their influence shows on this self-produced track, with the production incorporating the ethereal samples and synths they’re so fond of, along with a bassy yet sharp percussion. Cudi’s working at his hybrid best here, melodic with alternative styling on the hook and slick with his flows on the rapped verses, the two combining for a commendably holistic performance that maximises the effectiveness of the experimental production. It’s a positive, more celebratory track in keeping with sections of the work he put in with WZRD, and hence it makes for a welcome departure from the downtrodden sounds of his second album. A track that should satisfy all reaches of his fanbase.

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Kid Cudi Previews 'King Wizard'

Cudi took to YouTube to let loose a preview of something new from his upcoming Indicud album, and with more and more of his new material coming to light with each passing day, this is another to keep his fans satiated before that album drops.

Naturally, the quality is pretty sketchy given it’s him essentially playing it from his laptop and then streaming it to the world, meaning its difficult to get a real grasp on the song’s qualities. However, there’s enough there to latch on to, with that alternative WZRD influence pretty heavy throughout via the Ratatat-esque production and anthemic hook work, whilst he also comes through with some strong flows on the verses. It’s not the full song unfortunately, but it’s clear there’s much more positivity in this track than on almost any track from the last solo album, and that’s never a bad thing. Indicud coming soon…hopefully.

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Kreayshawn-Like It Or Love It ft. Kid Cudi

Add Kreayshawn to the list of artists who’ve dropped their albums after every trace of their buzz has disappeared. Her debut, Something About Kreay, is finally set to drop on 18th September and this makes for the latest release from that project.

Getting a Cudi feature out is undoubtedly a smart move with the G.O.O.D. Music hype at an all-time high, but the audio seems to be missing something. The production has a nice pace to it via a pacey percussion, but seems to be lacking almost everything else, with no real outstanding melodies or samples forthcoming. The shared hook between the two is solid enough, and Cudi’s flow for his verse is the distinct high point of the track, but otherwise it’s missing any real engaging qualities.

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Hit-Boy-Old School Caddy ft. Kid Cudi (Video)

Topshelf Junior are developing quite the reputation as far as music videos go, and here they come together with Hit-Boy to direct his newest release from the recent HITstory mixtape.

The track has been a recent favourite of mine, and whilst the video won’t necessarily add anything new to the experience, it’s a decent watch that works well with the track. Mostly featuring shots of Hit-Boy rapping, the surrounding summer scenery fits nicely with the upbeat nature of the audio, whilst it’s also great to see Cudi back on the music video scene, performing his verse with the trademark charisma and magnetism that’s been sorely missed. You can grab this likeable track on the aforementioned mixtape for free.

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Kid Cudi-Just What I Am ft. King Chip

Kid Cudi’s had a good year so far. He surprised everyone with the quality of the WZRD album, and has released a handful of solid solo tracks. Now, he’s setting up for Indicud, his third solo album, expected to drop later this year.

Featuring a newly-rebranded Chip Tha Ripper, this enjoyable single is expected to make that album. It’s a considerably more positive track than most of his work since and including the last album, with an uplifting, Ratatat-esque synth working as the primary production element, giving the track a real ‘early morning’ feel reminiscent of the debut album. Chip opens with a strong verse, setting the track up nicely for the hook, which throws in deeper accompaniment to add real gravitas, helped by Cudi’s inescapably addictive melodies showing of that WZRD influence. Cudi’s on form for his verse too, bringing a flow that rides the production well, whilst his enthusiasm suggests he’s rediscovered that early hunger and passion, and that alone makes for exciting times.

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G.O.O.D. Music-Cruel Summer Artwork

G.O.O.D.’s captain Kanye West has just tweeted a few pictures of what’s assumed to be the artwork for the upcoming Cruel Summer album, set for a 4th September release.

It seems as though Tisci’s involved again with this one, with the borders bearing a heavy similarity to the Watch the Throne cover art, though the addition of a clearer centre point in the almost angelic figure marks an improvement over the WTT artwork.The aforementioned figure evokes a strange mix of emotions, with it suggesting innocence and purity when combined with the white/silver colouring, though there’s still something a little odd and almost ominous about it. I assume the latter would have come into Tisci’s thinking when designing this, due to both the name of the album and the slightly harder, more aggressive nature of the audio releases from the LP thus far. With little over a month to go, expect this to be the start of a ramp up in promotion, and hopefully that includes some new audio or video heading our way soon.

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Hit-Boy-Old School Caddy ft. Kid Cudi

After the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the N***** In Paris producer’s debut rap single, Jay-Z Interview, Hit-Boy comes through with the follow-up and grabs the recently-reclusive Kid Cudi for an assist.

The aforementioned single drew plenty of comparisons with an early Kanye West, both for the transition from rapper to producer to rapper/producer, and for the Hit’s rapping style throughout. This should set him apart a little more however, as Hit’s flow is much more compact and pacey, displaying a surprising level of skill throughout. The raps themselves are decent enough throughout, working well with the speedy yet contemplative production, though they’d benefit from a little more emotion. Cudi does a great job with his cameo, bringing a high-paced verse of his own that’s got a couple of nice repeatables and rides along well with the production. Another good track from Hit-Boy, and let’s hope he keeps this form up.

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Kid Cudi-Dennis, Hook Me Up With Some More Of This Whiskey!

Not a particularly snappy title eh?

Kid Cudi’s back on in his solo (dolo) lane, dropping off what could be material from Man on the Moon III, or possibly just some new material for the fun of it. After the successful WZRD experiment, he’s back to rapping on this one, coming through with a stop-start, stuttered flow that packs in some decent lyrical work, combining a little introspection with some eccentricity for a nice blend of content. Cudi’s also helmed the production on this one, serving up a beat with a slightly dark yet lively nature, as dramatic synth work accompanies bouncy bass work for a production that doesn’t nail itself to any particular genre. The raps match the alternative stylings of this difficult production well, and most Cudi fans will enjoy this one.

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Kid Cudi-The Ruler and The Killer

If you enjoyed Cudi’s recent work as a part of WZRD, you’ll definitely appreciate this brand new effort from the upcoming Hunger Games soundtrack.

Dark, grungy and packed with an eerie, ominous quality that makes for a very addictive listen throughout, this is certainly an effort that deserves to soundtrack the film its set to. The track opens with a thudding percussion and sharp guitar work, creating an edgy and almost industrial feel, whilst Cudi’s hook furthers that by virtue of capturing the film’s dystopian vibe with some controlling lyrics. The verse work is melodic and delivered in a menacing manner that wraps around the instrumental nicely, and essentially serves its purpose of building to the hypnotising hook. A creepy, disturbed effort that definitely captures the essence of the film its made for.

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WZRD-Teleport 2 Me, Jamie (Live on Conan)

As Indi’s excellent Tweet review recently suggested, this is truly one of the standout tracks from Kid Cudi and Dot Da Genius’ recent collaboration album, and probably one of the better tracks from any artist in recent months.

It’s been a short while since I’ve seen Cudi do a TV performance (or a live piece in general), and what’s immediately noticeable is the significant improvement in his singing. His vocal work is solid from start to finish, and on the very rare occasions that he’s under threat of missing a note, he improvises far better than he was once capable of by throwing together some good harmonies.

His stage presence is great as per usual too, and whilst the performance lacks that infectious Kid Cudi energy, that’s primarily down to the style of song rather than any deterioration in his performing skills. It’s a good watch and a very good rendition of what is an excellent song. Grab the song and album on iTunes now.

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Sh*t You Forgot About: Episode 1

We’ve seen many weekly series come and go here at OTU, but it’s been a while since we’ve launched a new one, which frankly isn’t in keeping with our ‘we do things differently’ mantra.

That would be the marketing spin on this. The truth is, the thought occurred to me that as modern-day music listeners, we consume so much music on a daily and weekly basis that there have become two clear pools of choice when picking something to listen to: either a classic, old-school track or something relatively new. “What’s wrong with that?”, I hear you cry. “The vast middle in between those two”, I reply.

There are countless songs that lie in that grey area of being a little old, but nowhere near aged enough to be considered ‘classic’, and often they get overlooked. Several tracks may have been ‘ahead of their time’, and you’ll find them an almost brand new listen in today’s climate, or it may simply be revisiting an excellent track to recrete that ‘first time’ feel once again. Welcome to your friendly reminder of tracks we may have once loved (or even completely ignored), and enjoy the fresh yet familiar feeling that accompanies each one.

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Album Review: Kid Cudi and Dot Da Genius - WZRD

OTU’s live Twitter album reviews makes a return here in 2012, and what better way to kick it back off again than with Kid Cudi’s and Dot Da Genius’ ambitious WZRD album?

Never one to conform to the perceptions people have on him, Kid Cudi continues to create the music he wants to make, which at the end of the day is what artistry is all about.

Click on below to read what has already been written on the OTU live Twitter feed, each track reviewed within the 140 character limit!

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Kid Cudi-Dose of Dopeness

We’ve heard snippets, previews and so forth of this track for years now, and with the WZRD album on the horizon (28th February), Dot Da Genius lets one of his comrade’s most sought-after tracks go.

This is pretty much the old school Kid Cudi sound that charmed everyone back in 2008, and that’s never a bad thing. The production is soft, somewhat ethereal and generally boasting a laidback quality that gives it a real affable quality, whilst its blend with Cudi’s freeform hybrid of singing and rapping strongly harks back to the A Kid Named Cudi mixtape. A very easy listen, and one Cudi’s fans will be clamouring for.

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Kid Cudi - Maniac [Short Film]

From the enigma himself:

“MANIAC is a short film inspired by the song. It is not a music video and it has no reference to the song content. It will be scored by Dot and I as a film with all new music. Directed By Shia LaBeouf for Grassy Slope and Ragin4Dayz Productions.”

As someone who shies away from senseless acts of violence, murder and gore, this short film is one of the most disturbing videos I’ve seen in a while. Cudi and his friend go about committing random murders whilst having a camera crew document their ‘adventures’. There’s no reasoning for each or any murder, just many squeamishly aggressive and unapologetic killings.

I’m not sure what the point of all this is, but as a massive fan of How To Make It in America, I’m really digging Cudi on his acting tip.

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Kid Cudi-Bigger Than You

Excavated from those proverbial vaults that throw up gems from time-to-time, we’re treated to a track from 2007 that would have slotted in comfortably on Cudi’s phenomenal A Kid Named Cudi. No mean feat, given the mixtapes status as arguably one of the finest mixtapes in recent years.

Produced by frequent collaborator Emile (who I believe Cudi has since seperated from), the track boasts that slow, atmospheric production that was a trademark of his earlier material, throwing spacey synths and electronic melodies/samples together for an effective beat. Cudi’s leftfield lyricism comes packed in the trademark singing/rapping hybrid, and that output allies with the beat for an introspective yet accessible track that ranks as one of his better ‘unreleased’ efforts to have surfaced. A welcome reminder of the quality Cudi can produce.

Kid Cudi-Bigger Than You

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Wale and Kid Cudi-Focused

It’s been 3 years in the making, but finally Cudi and Wale come together for a brand new collaboration. Their last work was on Cudi’s breakout A Kid Named Cudi mixtape, and they’ve since had their personal issues with one another, but it’s good to see two guys who rose up almost simultaneously rekindle their relationship here.

The track itself is a solid, if unspectacular one. Cudi’s contribution is confined to a distorted set of vocals on the hook, and though it’s an enjoyable, uplifting hook, you can’t help but wish for a little more. Wale’s verses are decent throughout, and alongside a midtempo, motivational production make for a good listen, though something with a little more verve and energy would have done justice to this reunion.

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Kid Cudi-Mr. Rager Video

He’s been significantly more active in recent weeks, and though this video comes almost a year after the single’s release, it’s Kid Cudi’s finest to date.

The video opens with Cudi forcing his way into a building, only to find loneliness and isolation, a representation of his battle for fame and the resulting issues he faced on getting that access. He’s soon met by a fire that forces him to run, only to find himself surrounded by countless folk ready to attack him: Cudi’s past battle with addictions and the resulting mass media ridicule springs to mind here. That message continues as the video moves into an action scene, with the frenetic pace and Cudi’s desperate attempts to push back against the hordes of attackers being executed very smoothly and aptly to maintain the underlying message.

A very brief cameo you might miss is Kanye West at around 4:20, as Cudi swings for him and misses-could this be indicative of a previous strife? Shortly afterwards, the first female of the video throws dirt in Cudi’s eyes, a potential representation of a relationship gone awry, before the video reaches a predicatable conclusion as the character seen circling throughout is Cudi himself, who ends the days of ‘Mr. Rager’. Whilst it’s disappointing that the video ends with it ‘being a dream’, it’s an otherwise captivating video that adds real depth to an already-enjoyable song.

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The Knux and Kid Cudi-Run Video

I owe you all an apology. When I got my hands on this track back in July, it seems I enjoyed it so much that I quite simply forgot to share it with you.

A fantastic blend of pop, alternative and hip-hop, the track feels like one of the better collaborations released this year, largely thanks to the effortless synergy on show here, with Cudi and The Knux are almost stylistically indistinguishable from one another. Their respective crossover styles blend seamlessly throughout, as a soundscape of addictive guitars, crashing percussion, solid verses and a frighteningly-addictive hook deliver an upbeat, genre-defying track.

The energetic video works well for the track, enhancing that synergy by presenting the collaboration as an entire band, amidst scenes of the leading lady going about her day of doing drugs, not paying for taxis and raving with The Knux. Worth a watch, and definitely worth a listen.

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Kid Cudi-No One Believes Me Video

It’s been a little while since we had some substantial material from Cudi, and with the disappointment that was his second album, it’s fair to say that he’s lost an awful lot of the momentum he had almost exactly 2 years ago.

However, Cudi shows a real return to form here with the lead single from the upcoming Fright Night film soundtrack. The track opens up with a dark blend of violins and spiky guitars, and is soon met by a slow percussion that adds an ominous vibe, with the overall combination giving the track a nightmarish style that would have slotted in perfectly on his superb debut album. Cudi brings moany, isolated harmonies to the track, keeping things relatively simple and intertwining brilliantly with the production to enhance that eerie yet edgy atmosphere.

The video itself tells a great story, as Cudi progressively expresses his unease alongside the escalating horror in the video, followed by the ‘revelation’ that he himself is to be feared, concluding with the regret of his actions. A superb video that utilises the aura of the audio very well. More like this please!

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Consequence and Kid Cudi-On My Own

“On My Own” was recorded over a year ago and was initially slated to appear on Consequence’s “Cons TV” project. A snippet of the track was released awhile ago and it generated quite the buzz, so as a thank you to his fans for their continued support; Consequence offers up “On My Own.”

Very solid jam from the former G.O.O.D. Music labelmates. Cons brings some decent verses to the table, bringing forth somewhat isolating, defiant raps that have a definite bitterness about them, with the target of the raps likely to be his former label boss, one Kanye West. Cudi does a good job on hook duty here, dropping off a nice melodic chorus to complement the easygoing, positive production. Worth a listen.

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Kid Cudi-Marijuana Video

The timing of this video is certainly interesting, given the recent release of his marking a ‘move forward’ in his career, and hence offering the first piece of material since Cudi’s renouncement of drugs. As a result, it’s wouldn’t be entirely unfounded to view this video as the last relic of what once was.

That’s not to say I’m not pleased with this being released of course, given that it was one of (if not the primary) standout tracks on his second album. However, the video is a little disappointing as it plays upon the aspect of the song that captivated me the least: the shenanigans and craziness that takes place when high. Given the dark, moody nature of the beat, it would undoubtedly have been better to see something that at least partially reflected that key aspect of the song, and hence this feels a little unfulfilling from someone of his artistic ability.

Aside from that thematic issue, it is a relatively entertaining video with lots of behind-the-scenes footage, all delivered through a hazy filter to enhance that marijuana ‘influence’. Solid, but could and should have been a lot more.

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