Review Summary: Aimless and self-absorbed. Any powers of Kid Cudi's are well hidden on Indicud.Indicud
has left me in a perplexing situation. I feel compelled to shut it down for being, sonically and thematically, the most shallow album of the year despite consisting of eighteen tracks, one of which is nine minutes in length. Perhaps it was telling that the album cover is essentially Michael Bay's childhood sketchbook framed by a mother that's just so
proud of her boy, because the album itself is rife with immaturity and self-congratulatory pats on the back. But it’s so painfully insubstantial and of such poor quality that very little can be said about it without devolving into a rant.
For example, not much can be said on Kid Cudi’s repellent delivery. He seems tone-deaf on more than a few songs, most notably “Un***wittable” and “Mad Solar”. But when he’s actually in tune with the song, as in “Just What I Am” and “King Wizard”, he comes off as bored and robotic – as though, offended by the idea of sounding good, and determined to maintain a balance of mediocrity, he tried to barely sound invested. Cudi has cranked out some good hooks in the past, but if you gave Indicud
to someone to demonstrate his aptitude for catchiness, they would not be convinced, as the hooks here are either unpleasant or uninteresting. His rapping leaves much to be desired – his voice and flow are unique in their own smoke-addled way, but he says nothing particularly memorable. The subject matter is mostly boasts, women, haters, and drugs, not shaking up any formulas or even adding cleverness to old concepts.
The features on Indicud
, then, are saddled with the arduous task of carrying this wreck. Few of them manage. King Chip is more interesting than Cudi, but not mind-blowing; Kendrick Lamar appears on “Solo Dolo, Pt. II” with a verse that isn’t up to his usual standards, but serves to highlight Cudi’s deficiencies in the realm of lyrical dexterity; A$AP Rocky recycles an old flow for approximately half of his verse on “Brothers”; and the RZA demolishes “Beez” with what are certainly the best verses of the album, which include this gem: “I don’t write songs, grasshopper/I write sceneries”. Also appearing is pop group Haim, who provide a welcome break from Kid Cudi’s infuriatingly vocals but also happen to show up on a rather dull song, “Red Eye”, which flounders lyrically and musically. There’s a nine-minute, non-ironic Michael Bolton feature here as well, which is even more grating than an ironic Michael Bolton feature, and emphasizes the amount of self-awareness that Indicud
lacks. Self-awareness is sorely missed throughout the album, especially on “Young Lady” and “Girls”, in which Cudi comes off less as the romantic he portrayed on his previous outings, and more as a stalker/Pokémon collector of women, respectively.
Aside from weak subject matter, it's a wonder that Kid Cudi chose this album to be his big production debut. The instrumental aspect of Indicud
is amateur, not even close to fleshed out. Though they all employ different instruments, the beats still manage to blend into each other and clash horribly with the hedonistic subject matter. They're more fitting to drinking alone in a depression than getting pleasantly buzzed with friends. Many synths are shrill or aggravating; the uninspired guitar leads connote a rookie attempting to play like a veteran of the instrument; and the three instrumentals of the album, especially “New York City Rage Fest”, contribute nothing thematically or musically and instead serve as a few self-indulgent minutes of wankery. Cudi’s production consists of generic backing tracks and stock synths that any competent producer could have cranked out in a month or two. The weak production's a shame considering Cudi had access to some fine producers at G.O.O.D. Music, and certainly could have reached out of house to give rise to a halfway decent project.
is a vanity project, reportedly intent on being a celebration of life, but instead being a celebration of Kid Cudi. Braggadocio in hip-hop is nothing new, but it remains tolerable as long as you’re congratulating yourself for something that’s actually good
. This album fails in what it set out to do: be celebratory and ward off the lames and haters. Brief spurts of redeeming qualities appear in certain guests and hooks, and the beats themselves are not inherently bad – just flimsy. But no songs as a whole are good, and so Indicud
fizzles out with the last bland instrumental.