Alternative rap, a genre comprising of a combination of contrasting urban musical elements, was long forgotten since the mid 1980′s – the influential period that saw its conception. It was born and partially raised primarily in the East-Coast of the United States, by groups such as the independently-signed Jungle Brothers and Long Island natives De La Soul, widely known for their hit collaboration Feel Good Inc with Gorillaz, whose musical style is also considered, alternative.
That was until urban-experimentalists Outkast (a group consisting of Andre 3000 and Big-Boi) revived its existence with their release of Speakerboxxx/The Love Below in 2003. This album surpassed the creative threshold established by its categorical predecessors and also become the only ever rap-orientated album to sell in excess of 11,000,000 domestic copies; a figure that many believed was to be unobtainable for the eccentric duo, breaking another significant barrier in its wake.
The Introduction Of Kid Cudi
6 Years later and its lyrical-experimenter Kid Cudi’s responsibility to stimulate its rebirth. The Cleveland-born Cudi, real name Scott Mescudi, always had an ambition to create something art-worthy, whether musically or otherwise. He sourced his inspiration from alternative hip-hop groups that were prominent during his later years as a teenager, namely The Pharcyde and A Tribe Called Quest who created a musical style parallel to that of the act as mentioned earlier, Outkast – unorthodox and undefinable.
Cudi was initially been discovered by DJ & music-producer Plain Pat, while still attending University. The song that has gained him the most credibility thus far is his elementary effort “Day & Night” which occupied the #3 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 Single’s chart in the first quarter of 2008.
Cudi’s Critical Reception
Critics assumed that this would be another one-hit-wonder, discouraging his capability to craft another well-received hit. “Was Day N Nite a fluke? …it seems the rapper is perilously close to being a one-hit wonder.” – Chris Schulz. It was Kanye West’s interest amid the release of the track which motivated him to promptly sign Cudi to his G.O.O.D music label.
Cudi possess a unique, inimitable vocal sound coated in subtle artwork, similar to that of Pharrell or Lupe Fiasco, where the ability to create a vivid visual illusion solely from what enters the ear canal, is essential. What keeps his listener’s hearts throbbing and eardrums satisfied though is the sheer unpredictability of his lyrical scope – an element of this forever-mutating genre that has been held captive since Kanye West released his last album “808′s and Heartbreaks” which, ironically, Cudi actually performed on.
Debut Musical Releases
Mescudi’s complementary mixtape “A Kid Named Cudi” gives his newly-acquired fans an honest, auditory taste of the sort of material that will comprise his subsequent, commercial album – “Man on the Moon: The End of Day.” His debut space-crafted masterpiece exceeded all expectations, critically and commercially, earning him two enviable Grammy nominations, which is wholly unprecedented for a non-conformist, alternative rap artist in his position.
Cudi takes us on an internal tour, isolated into five gut-wrenching chapters, exposing his depressed mental state, which he delivers through a fearless monotone intonation that immerses listeners in his emotional struggle; the tragic loss of his father to cancer at the tender age of 11 contributed considerably to this approach. Music is more of an outlet or a coping mechanism rather than a lucrative-skill for the Cleveland-native.
From his work, it’s evident that Cudi entered the industry with a level of undeniable optimism, but in this day and age, that’s a near futile characteristic to be affiliated with. This does illustrate though, how he doesn’t feel musically restricted in terms of what is acceptable in the marketplace and that hopefully, other artists will follow suit, a trait that was undoubtedly passed down by Kanye West himself.
Kid Cudi has also collaborated with French DJ David Guetta on the electro-pop track “Memories” which has received heavy airplay in Europe since it was released in early February.
Complex, a fashion magazine known for its inclusion of distinctive elements of street and mainstream-culture have compiled a list of what they believe are the 25 most anticipated albums of this year, placing Mescudi’s sophomore musical-novel “Cudder” (The titled has been revised since this list was published) ahead of such urban heavyweights as Common and T.I. This is utterly remarkable considering that he’s only spent the last two years as an active musician.
Two new Kid Cudi records have since leaked onto the internet, which are entitled “REVOFEV” and “Erase Me,” the latter featuring label-manager Kanye West. Both tracks have managed to generate a lot of interest across the internet, especially “Erase Me” which features a much more complex, rock-inspired beat. Now avid listeners can properly prepare themselves for the release of his sophomore LP, which is now entitled “Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager.”