Some of you really don’t realize how difficult it is to name these. I really like to keep it clever and slightly witty, and that’s not always easy. But Kid Cudi is back guys, and with impeccable timing if I must add. Over the past week he dropped his highly anticipated seventh project (I included WZRD) entitled Passion, Pain, and Demon Slayin’. And as desired, it contains a lot of vintage Cudi on it. Cudi brought along Pharrell, Mike Will Made It, Mike Dean, Plain Pat, and Dot da Genius for this project to orchestrate the music as he coasts over their work. This marks a return for Plain Pat and Cudi on an actual album, seeing as the two hadn’t had a record together since Man on the Moon II. Still no Emile in sight on this album though the two have settled their differences.
The album is minimal on features with some additional vocals from Pharrell and Willow Smith, and a couple verses from Travis Scott and Andre 3000. But, that’s nothing new for a Cudi album though. He opens the album with “Act 1: Tuned” lead by single Frequency which welcomes you into the presence of the project. Swim in the Light sounds like something fit for Man on the Moon II and immediately takes you to that place we love so much with Cudi’s music. It’s definitely one of my favorite records on the album, but is followed by what is the best song on the album in my opinion. Releaser is dark and ominous, with a slowed breakbeat on it. Scott owns this track in true Cudi fashion taking a softer approach with the vocals as he feels out the music and places his harmonies in perfect pairing. By Design is the first song with a feature on the album, and we immediately get Andre 3000. A 180 from Releaser, with a light upbeat relaxing aura. It’s one of the album’s feel-good records. Mike Will makes his debut on the project with All In which plays off the tone of By Design but brings more of a message of being at peace with things. “Act 2: Prophecy” is opened by ILLusions another standout for me with a sense of a familiar place. Cudi definitely applied some of his fan loved techniques with the writing, post production, and adlibs on ILLusions. It’s for sure one for his following. Rose Golden features Willow Smith and combines synths with what appears to be a flawless string sample. As you can imagine this is a playground for him in which he delivers effortlessly. Baptized in Fire takes full form of a Rager record. The song features Travis Scott fresh off their feature on his album, and the two show well as a pairing again. Pharrell strikes on Flight at First Sight/Advanced that eases into the record in the beginning but the choice flow on Advanced with its insane percussion make it one that will be etched in your mental for sure. Does It has a powerful presence as Scott seems to let out some of his frustrations with those that may have written him off. “Act 3: Niveaux de l’Amour” starts with Dance 4 Eternity which is a subtle record dedicated to a muse that Cudi croons on with a natural chill vibe. Distant Fantasies sees Cudi taking target to at a woman of his past. The orchestration starts off dark, but is immediately coupled with a bounce that makes it so enjoyable as a record. Wounds is arguably the most epic song on the album. Cudi speaks to the people as he always does, aligning with the common struggles of his listeners, which is going to make this one you should truly enjoy. Mature Nature is built upon a solid bassline, perfect two stepping drums and strings from a film score. It’s probably the most relaxing record on the album and another record he excels on. Kitchen gives me the feel of Enter Galactic. There is no other better way to put it, a little more somber, but similar feel for sure. We now enter possibly my favorite Act. “Act 4: It’s Bright and Heaven Is Warm” is the final Act on the album and takes us out in the best way. Cosmic Warrior sets the tone immediately that is followed by nothing but heat. Has anyone ever noticed how during live shows artist change around the track list to set a feel for the show? Cosmic Warrior is clearly the song he will open his next tour with, the feel on the song is crazy. The Guide features a verse from 3000 and he does exactly what you expect of a feature from 3000. But the crazy part is Cudi’s track presence on his second verse actually keeps pace with Andre’s verse. The Commander follows and it’s another nostalgic Cudi record. It’s his best vocal performance on the album and caps off the project. The final record on the album is the second single Surfin’, the unparalleled feel good hit produced by Pharrell is one of the better songs to come out this year, and I think we all know that to be true.
So it seems Mr. Mescudi is back to is prominent prowess. It’s been a pretty good year for Cleveland, first the Cavs, then the Indians, now Cudder. Declared “The most influential artist of the last ten years” by Kanye West in September after their small quarrel, Kid Cudi has added another quality album to his catalogue. I am giving it a four out of five at minimum and this is without allowing the album to grow on me. Get Passion, Pain, and Demon Slayin’ and let us know what you think.