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Friday, September 29, 2023

Kid Cudi returns to Madison with new sound

Scott Mescudi, also known as Kid Cudi, is returning to Madison at the Orpheum Jan. 31 after postponing his Dec. 2 show. The Cleveland-based rapper rose to fame after his 2009 album Man on the Moon: The End of Day and its 2010 sequel, Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager, netted him a plethora of music nominations and two Grammys.

Kid Cudi’s career has had a series of missteps, as his most recent albums have failed to achieve the same heights as the Man on the Moon duo. Cudi has shifted away from the synth-heavy rap of songs like "Mr. Rager" and the soft love lyrics of "Erase Me." In its place is an acoustic punk rock sound on his fifth studio album that he hasn’t created since his 2012 album WZRD. Released Dec. 4 under Cudi’s own Wicked Awesome Records, Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven is an interesting departure that will leave many fans questioning what this could mean for the highly anticipated, yet inevitable, Man on the Moon III.

The album features a starkly different Cudi from the one fans experienced with Indicud and Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon. Fans searching for a fun, high-octane sound like “Pursuit of Happiness” or a narrative-driven, electric sound like “SATELLITE FLIGHT” will be greeted by an unfamiliar heavy guitar riff and much darker Cudi, with lyrics such as “Some days I hurt myself to distract me from distraction” on the track "CONFUSED!"

Fans of Scott have heard about his depression and involvement in drugs since his debut. However, no previous album has been as bleak or up front about the negative impacts his depression has had on his psyche. Gone are the double personas and marijuana-induced dream states that took fans to the moon on previous albums. The new sound presents a straightforward Kid Cudi, addressing the value of self-worth with a mushroom-induced trip bleeding from one track to the next. The album has received mixed reviews from critics, currently ranking at 36 on the U.S. Billboard 200, Cudi’s lowest-charting album to date.

The unfortunate truth of Cudi’s career is that his success has been challenged by critics who believe Cudi is a one-note performer with production-heavy sound that doesn’t carry over well in his live performances. The other glaring issue of Cudi’s live shows is his inability to entertain a crowd when performing independently. His solo performance at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena was critiqued for lacking a hype man or live drummer. Without additional performers, the slowly paced style of Cudi’s music produces an alienating relationship with the crowd. In contrast, Cudi’s 2015 Lollapalooza performance was much better-received due to a live drummer and keyboardist.

Doors will open at 7:00 p.m. at the Orpheum and are currently ticketed at $35.00. Patrons must present a valid 18+ ID in order to enter. Those who purchased tickets for the Dec. 2 show will be honored at the door.

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