Over the past few years, Kid Cudi has been distancing himself from mainstream hip-hop and expressing his deep dissatisfaction with the foremost voices in the genre. Even recently, just days after the release of What a Time to Be Alive, the recent lovechild of rappers Drake and Future, Cudi tweeted: “Some of you are so easily impressed by mediocrity.”
Since breaking into the hip-hop scene in the early 2000s, Cudi has certainly experienced his fair share of this mainstream hype, but for most fans his music has taken a turn out of the limelight. With claims that many aspects of hip-hop are holding us back as a culture, Cudi has intentionally dissociated himself from the mainstream in an effort to cultivate a distinctive musical vision.
In early April of this year, Cudi announced an upcoming album, Speedin’ Bullet to Heaven. As his 5th official studio album, it is intended to act as a standalone to hold fans over until the final installment of his popular Man on the Moon trilogy.
On August 1, we witnessed the release of the first single from the new album, “Confused” – a track with distinct ‘90s alt-rock roots in which Cudi reflects on his struggle to find inner peace once again. Most recently, on October 3, he released an additional two singles, “Wedding Tux” and “Judgmental C-nt” on SoundCloud.
“Wedding Tux” is an exclusively acoustic guitar and vocal track whose macabre lyrics seem to stray far from the mood the title suggests: “Now the maggots and vultures feast/I can’t wait to be rotten meat…”
“Judgemental C-nt” is a loud, punk-inspired track in which Cudi channels the views of his critics: “You ain’t never going to be shit, someone told you lies…” The feel is lo-fi with an overall driving groove that is pierced by the screeching vocals.
For some readers who aren’t true “Cudfam,” this album is a strange divergence from the upbeat vibes that marked his first hit studio album, Man on the Moon: The End of Day, which brought popular party tracks like “Pursuit of Happiness” and “Day ‘n’ Nite” to the top of the Billboards. His new sound is remarkably experimental to the extent where some might fail to recognize the consistency of the artist.
Part of being a Kid Cudi fan entails accepting his efforts. He is a progressive artist, who continuously experiments and pushes boundaries between genres. Over the course of his career, listeners have received a range of genres, going from chill, laid-back vibes to dark and moody, and forward to spacey futuristic tracks. On Speedin’ Bullet to Heaven, his experimentation with rock is most evident through the raw guitar and drum instrumentals of his recent singles. Although the album still lacks a release date, it certainly does mark an interesting transition in Cudi’s career as an artist, and for us as fans.