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 Kid Cudi
Author: steevee 
Date:   11-14-17 14:31

I remember buying Kid Cudi's first album MAN ON THE MOON while I was in Toronto for the film festival and repeatedly reading the CD's lyric sheet as I waited for a screening to start after a projector breakdown. Once I finally heard it, I thought that it was very uneven and only really cared for two of its singles, "Day'N'Nite" and "Pursuit of Happiness." I stopped paying attention to him for the most part till I started working on the black psychedelia primer I did for Dennis Cooper's blog and kept reading LSD and mushroom users say that his album INDICUD was great to trip to. I've gone over his back catalogue in the past few weeks, and INDICUD is indeed an excellent album. I'm also fond of the album he released last December, PASSION, PAIN AND DEMON SLAYIN'. He has worked across genres, with dubious results; his 2 rock-oriented albums are much less successful than his incorporation of rock influences on INDICUD. He has produced or co-produced most of his music and played guitar, synthesizer and drums on it. The production on INDICUD is full of harsh, distorted synthesizers that sound like Trent Reznor (or El-P's production on his solo albums and Run the Jewels), and songs like "Pursuit of Happiness" and "Marijuana" feature his own lead guitar work. His lyrics are not oriented towards bragging about what an alpha male or how street he is ; instead, he has frequently rapped about his issues with mental health problems and substance abuse, long before mainstream hip-hop about depression was trendy the way it is now. When he tries to write optimistic anthems, like "King Wizard" on INDICUD and "Rose Golden" on PASSION.., he's quite good at it, but even the latter song is a tale of triumph over a world that didn't take him seriously. Even when he wrote lyrics about drugs that were superficially celebratory, it is clear in retrospect that he was describing self-medication. He's done a lot of what Drake and Kanye West (for whom he's co-written songs and done backing vocals) have tried to, with better results, I think. Unfortunately, his personal life seems to have been extremely difficult; he's been to rehab twice, once for addiction and once for suicidal thoughts and depression last fall, shortly before his last album came out. His Twitter feed hasn't been updated since February 2017, but the portions from last fall make him sound like a really nice guy who responds to every single fan; however, there's a really sad tweet along the lines of "thanks for your support, now I have to go back to rehab."

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