Kid Cudi's sparse, almost paranoid rap "Day and Night" was one of the biggest earworms of recent years, an atmospheric Kanye-esque track about being a lonely stoner. (Listen) His recent work hasn't hit anywhere close to that level, but we're willing to give him another shot. His live appearance at Lux Lounge is a good place to start. DJ SNS opens. Tickets are $30 in advance from tazevents.com.
Alex Baldinger reviewed Kid Cudi's album "Dat Kid From Cleveland" in July 2009:
If Kanye West's 2008 album, "808s and Heartbreak," was hip-hop's first emo record, then Kid Cudi's 2008 mix tape "A Kid Named Cudi" was the first emo mix tape. Playing the role of interplanetary outsider, Cudi explored the disillusionment and loneliness, both personal and professional, that can't be overcome, despite being one of the most lauded voices in hip-hop's freshman class.
It's disappointing, then, that Cudi's latest mix tape, "Dat Kid From Cleveland," regresses to the hip-hop mean. Instead of a coherent musical narrative, the mix tape is a catchall for the one-offs Cudi released this year, and he does more posturing than pondering. The results are not nearly as charming.
The first two-thirds of the mix tape plays like an iPod Shuffle loaded with regrettable Top 40 songs. On "I Poke Her Face," Cudi is joined by his idol, West, and Common; the trio lazily trades sophomoric one-liners about bedroom behavior over a sped-up sample of Lady Gaga's "Poker Face."
It is not until the mix tape's final third that Cudi finds his groove: "Switchin Lanes" and the LCD Soundsystem-sampling "Can I Be" provide moments both unexpected and exciting. With his highly anticipated debut album, "Man on the Moon: The End of the Day," due this fall, Cudi's strong finish should remind listeners there's still plenty to look forward to from this 25-year-old Clevelander.
-- Alex Baldinger