Mr. Rager, Mr. Rager
Tell me where you’re going, tell us where you’re headed
I’m off on the adventure, Mr. Rager
Tell me some of your stories, tell us of your travels
It’s been a minute, Mr. Rager, where’ve you been? Making music and whatnot, I presume, but when it comes to CuDi, it’s hard to tell just exactly what he’s going to bring to the table. When he came out with WZRD, I probably won’t be the first to tell you, but I didn’t like it at all. Maybe 2 or 3 songs, but it was vastly different from the MoTM albums, and I wanted nothing to do with it. Mind you, he’s an experimental artist, and as his music has demonstrated in the past, it changes up from time to time. People (including myself) have had their swayed preferences because all of his projects have sounded different, which is good because I’d think that an artist would want to progress more than regress. CuDi is an artist that draws polarizing critique from all over, and has since day one because of the content of his music being (as many would call) overly depressing and sad – but I think a lot of people have looked at CuDi and not understood just who he is, even though he’s pretty much explained that he was a lonely kid and drugs had a major influence on his life. He showed us that we’re ‘in his dreams’, so this is in the image that we’re going to get out of it. The painting that serves as the album cover depicts burning fire (burning passions & desire, perhaps?) was simply nothing astounding to me, but listening to the album, it brings out a vivid perspective of his hell that he opens up to. Also, a few lines from his first album (‘Heart of a Lion’, to be exact) served as a type of foreshadowing the theme of this album.
They have no clue of what I’m capable
Til I show a side of me no one had thought could be within
I told you no I’m not a loser
I’ll see you in hell
Independent CuDi (I don’t know the meaning of the title, I just guessed) seems to be on a different life path, but as we dive into the album, like a piece of art, everyone is going to have their own interpretations of it – this is just mine.
The 2nd time I listened to this album, it was during a thunderstorm and The Resurrection of Scott Mescudi served as the perfect cinematic music over the crashes of thunder and flashes of lightning. No words were needed, as it was just an eerie mood setter that was alien-esque in a way. You remember the first time you watched The Terminator and heard the creepy yet powerful theme music? I got this feeling in a sort of way – it was really cool. Resurrection is another word to rise up, or in other words, get high. I liked how the transition was seamless going into Unfuckwittable because of the audio blip that was provided. CuDi has mentioned a lot of times that he’s amazing and that no one could stop him. If you’re familiar with the term ‘being unfuckwittable’, it simply means that no one can fuck with you, because it’s just not going to happen. On ‘Heart of a Lion’ the advice from his mother made this quite clear
At the end of the day, day
My momma told me don’t let no one break me
Let no one break me
At the end of the day, day, nobody, nobody
Ever could stop me, ever could stop me
The lyrics portray more emptiness within his life, but the attitude that he brings with the track is that, truly it doesn’t matter what anyone says because he has his mindset on the fact that he’s who he is and you can’t taint that perspective of him. Opening your eyes to a world that is full of more than just the negative is a good thing to understand in life because (hopefully) you’ll think about yourself more as an unshakable force, or in CuDi’s perspective – an unfuckwittable force. The psychedelic sound that was carried on from WZRD is very evident on this album, because there are a lot of songs that serve as filler, like scenes in a movie, just more drawn out.
He continues emphasizing the fact that he is who he is (my name is my name?) and Just What I Am is yet another example of him saying “look, this is what it is, this is who I am, and nothing’s going to change that.” If you’ve listened to CuDi’s previous work (specifically Man on the Moon 1 & 2), then you’re able to grasp an understanding as to where he comes from (I don’t mean geographically, but if that helps, then sure). Sad & lonely upbringing, he took to drugs as being the space filled in the empty void in his life. King Chip’s (formally Chip the Ripper) verse definitely gave you a sense that the theme of this album was related to Hell.
Ain’t no such thing as Satan, evil is what you make it
Thank the Lord for that burning bush, that big body Benz I was born to push
The line ‘I’m just what you made, God’ is a play on Genesis 1:27 and a line that is commonly used throughout Hip Hop
“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
They’re just humans, what God intended them to be, and their life behaviors are reflections of the lives that they live in order to ensure that they continue living life to the fullest. I may not smoke or do drugs, but the thing that’s evident on this song is that they just want to enjoy their life being who they are – nothing more nothing less. They just are who they are. Again, life lessons to carry forward with. Being who you are is all that you can intend to be. Live life with a purposeful meaning; you’ll go through a lot of hell, but the thing that should remain consistent is that you move forward. I see this track getting spins in the club heavily, sort of like how ‘Alive’ or ‘Day & Night’ did.
Let me tell you something about Young Lady that doesn’t include the lyrics, just for a second. This beat is crazy, because it really sounded similar to the style of The Roots’ song ‘The Seed 2.0.’ I don’t listen to a lot of rock music, but that was the first thing that came to mind. The song itself, it’s something that a lot of guys can relate to. You see a woman, and she looks good, you compliment her, her face often appears in your dreams, and you want to pursue this woman, but she’s intimidating because of the way she carries herself – it happens, it’s natural. It’s simple, but the beat & chorus of this song is everything that I really cared about because it was just mind-blowing. The guitar along with everything that encompasses it – replay value for days. I actually had trouble taking it off repeat in order to continue with the rest of the album. It’s definitely in my top 5 of best songs on the album, hands down.
King Wizard is a reintroduction as to who CuDi is – a mysterious artist in Hip Hop that no one will truly understand. In the chorus, it’s pretty evident that he’s adamant in explaining that he’s an artist that is an unfuckwittable force – seems redundant, but he pushes out the topic in different ways
I can’t decide
What if life’s a lie?
I push the lames aside
I can never front, know why?
It’s not my style, no lie
Fuck all the talk
In time, they’ll burn
He has a lot of confidence as an artist, and he’s not one that’ll stray away from doing his own thing. If you don’t understand what he’s about, then I guess you’ll learn.
I’ll be up, up, and away
Up, up, and away
Cause they gonna judge me anyway, so whatever
On Immortal, he puts himself in a perspective as a superhero with superpowers (Superman, perhaps) and that he encountered a drastic change. There’s a lot of things in life that will bring you down (and in Cudi’s case, there’s many), but having the ability (or super strength) to overcome them makes you feel immortal. It’s like when you see men or women being able to juggle so many things in life – we call them Superman or Superwoman (Alicia Keys & Stevie Wonder both had songs called Superwoman). If you’re someone who’s really down in the dumps at all times, or your life seems to be crashing down on you, CuDi’s music will really speak to you in more ways than one. It’s just like how people have to be in a particular mood to listen to certain artists, CuDi is definitely one of them (much like Drake for many people as well). The extended music at the end of each song (depending on who you are) allows the song to fully resonate with you – I honestly think it was pretty neat how CuDi’s concept was laid out on the album. It’s not an album that’s like your standard looped beat with 2 verses and a hook; he’s making this like a piece of art, much like Kanye’s MBDTF (but I’m not here to fully compare the two).
Solo Dolo II was the one song on the album that I was actually waiting to hear, not only because Kendrick Lamar was featured, but because Solo Dolo part 1 was one of my favourite songs from End of Day. It’s crazy that he CuDi made us wait through 2 albums to get it, but finally it came about. The beat wasn’t all that to me, I won’t lie. CuDi actually rapped straight through his verse without singing, which was a change that many would have preferred (again, it’s like Drake with the rap-sing combo thing). Kendrick Lamar feature verses have been his strength since the ‘The City’, and people still haven’t learned that he rips them all (almost all – R.I.P Remix, Fuckin Problems, and 1 Train were alright, but not great). Kendrick provided a great verse, CuDi’s was alright (shrug worthy), and the beat itself wasn’t what I had anticipated, so all together, for me, it was a big bowl of ‘meh.’ I can still listen to it without skipping it, but it’s not one of those songs that stand alone as being one of the top personal choices for me. The transition into Girls was sick, however. This is definitely a song that I’d definitely here in the club, because of that ‘Turn Up’ style that has taken over. It’s like the continuation of ‘Young Lady,’ but just more pimpish. I don’t know where CuDi was able to find Too $hort, but it was random to hear him on this. It’s something you can flex to, so I’m not mad about that.
Usually in cinema, there used to be intermissions, and they still happen in plays. Interludes are very common on albums, but I’d rather call New York City Rage Fest an intermission of sorts, even a scene change (because in a way, it was just that). There’s definitely a more artsy feel to the album (I sense Kanyeism here – not to take away from CuDi’s individual talent, as he did produce the whole project) and it does combine what he’s done with WZRD and the MOTM albums. This served as filler, and it wouldn’t be the last time that it would be heard before the album was done.
Hit-Boy has been on everyone’s album it seems, but you’d think that of course he’d be on a fellow (former) G.O.O.D Music labelmate’s project. Red Eye was where his appearance would come in. The voice in the beginning, belonging to Haim, was one that I was unfamiliar with, but it sounded nice. A ‘Red Eye’ (for those unfamiliar *cough* Nathaniel *cough*) refers to a late night or very early morning flight, because when you land, you’re tired as hell, and your eyes are (wait for it) RED! So with that being said, with this song, there’s a lot going on in the minds of CuDi & Haim, so the best escape is to hop on a plane and find a personal getaway of sorts. Either that, or they’re restless and the lack of sleep is what’s causing the red eyes, but let’s (for the album’s theme purpose) stick with the plane – getting elevated to drown out the irrational mind behaviour that’s going on. I love the beat & hook to this, and that’s pretty much what takes up 80% of the song anyways, because CuDi doesn’t have a verse of his own. It didn’t matter much, since the point of the song was conveyed already.
Mad Solar brings back his astronomical relevance that we were introduced to in the first MOTM albums, but this song touched on the fact that people think he’s crazy because of his transitional phase, although they didn’t know the real story behind him (which is basically what he said for a good chunk of the tracks in the beginning). Leaving G.O.O.D, a break-up with his girlfriend, having personal demons to exercise – it’s a battle that he has to overcome, and the music is how he gets his release, but he’s looking at life in a brighter perspective – bright like the sun (if you will). There are a lot of themes that touch on his previous albums that you’d have to listen out for, and I haven’t listened to WZRD in a while (obvious reasons), but at the same time, the style & sound that is emulated on this album – it’s easy to discover where it comes from. The moon only gets its light because it’s reflected from the Sun, and CuDi has always been that ‘refection’, so it’s about time that he graces his own light (moving on from G.O.O.D would serve as a good metaphor for that).
Beez. RZA. Wu Tang. Not hard to comprehend; what I found hard to comprehend as to why this was a RZA song featuring CuDi rather than CuDi featuring RZA. The first verse was cool, but after that, it was like “Dude, RZA. What are you doing, man?” I understand that RZA is an important figure in Hip Hop – you can’t diss Bobby Digital, but everyone knows that as a rapper, he wasn’t the strongest. He had a very different flow (not one that many cared for), but his strength came with producing or even one-liners on other rap songs (So Appalled – “FUCKIN RIDICULOUS”, or Ronald Regan Era – “CALIFORNIA DUNGEONS”). One verse was good enough, but this is a song I would have skipped for sure.
Brothers, on the other hand, is one of my favourites on the album because everything pretty much came together. 3 good verses (Chip, CuDi, and Rocky) and a solid beat were all that were needed to get through it. The bond of Brotherhood runs deep in every facet of society, and has so for centuries. In the hood, you have your boys, niggas, homies, whatever you call your band of brothers. This is a song that is for the boys – you’re my brother, we ride together, we die together (along those lines). I like the fact that CuDi incorporated his fellow Cleveland native (and artist), Chip, on the album so much to give him some shine, because he’s just been known for mixtapes over the years, but has grown more as a rapper, and possibly bigger things are coming. Asap Rocky has also broken out in a way (although many people forgot about his album by now), and he’s provided quality guest appearances for himself. I really dig this song, because we all have our bond of brothers, whether they’re related by blood or by circumstance. It hits home.
Burn Baby Burn gets back into his personal tale that he’s been telling throughout the album. Haters can burn in hell (clearly the emphasis of this album), and he doesn’t mind telling you about it either. He knows that he’s not exactly the most conservative artist that’s in the game at the moment, but surprising people with a different sound every time is what he lives for. At this point, a lot of things have become repetitive in nature because he’s still referencing to the demons that he’s had to battle (drugs, loneliness, music industry issues), but he’s here to tell people that there’s a new Cudder in town and like him or not, he’s going to be around for a while – that’s just what it is. Not only is he unfuckwittable, he’s also dubbed himself the Lord of the Sad and Lonely (that doesn’t seem like a cool title), because of the past experiences and the reflection of his music that tells the story for him. Also, being the Lord of something means that you represent a community of people under your legion. He’s the standout for others who are sad, lonely, and “feel like shit on the daily.” This is how he’s been able to connect with his fans, and yet again, it’s just another middle finger to the people who oppose him as a person and/or his music in general.
Cold Blooded is CuDi’s best lyrical track because he actually called out his G.O.O.D feelings as he was on his way out from the label
I got a vendetta with showing niggas that I’m way better
Feeling way worthless, the lost black sheep of G.O.O.D. Music
Only good for a hook, huh? Let me show you flows
Intuitive when it comes to many things I know
Also, he wasn’t playing no more Mr. Nice Guy, he really unleashed, and along with the bouncy beat behind him, he really rode the beat well (and you can’t help but yell-sing the hook at the top of your lungs – it’s too funny not too). Cudi’s turned not only a cold shoulder to G.O.O.D, but also his attitude has changed (if you haven’t noticed on the album by now) to become a colder person, so he brings a thuggish, ruggish style to his music in a sense when he can. Another Top 5 worthy song.
You know when you’re just listening to a song and you don’t realize just how long it is until you look at the time length on iTunes (or whatever music player program you have)? That’s the reaction I got when I was listening to Afterwards. Very random that Michael Bolton was on this track, but the song itself gave off a (futuristic) House vibe because often times from old House, you have a consistent beat that goes on for 8-12 minutes at a time with the same 2-3 lines that repeat for the whole duration. There’s not a lot to get from this, aside from the fact that he’s inviting a girl to his house and tells her to bring some friends and have a sexy time. There’s. Really. Not. Much. More. To it. This served as serious filler as it transitioned from not just the invite, but then the actual sexual portion of it (Bounce with no hands – I really don’t need to explain this). I didn’t care for the beat really, but if I was really under the influence, I can see why this would be really dope. Surprisingly, I’d skip this and go straight to the ending; I just found it boring.
And so, we’ve reached our conclusion of this album with Flight of the Moon Man (foreshadowing MOTM3 for sure), and with this album; I can understand why a lot of people didn’t like it, because of possibly the sound or even the fact that the subject matter in his lyrics was pretty repetitive, but here’s what you need to understand. When someone is going through a transitional period, much like CuDi is, you’re going to have a lot to speak on and emphasize. This was the album that he did his talking, and I think it was pretty well done, considering the fact that it was entirely self-produced, and it combined elements from his previous albums. It’s not the traditional CuDi that you fell in love with – he’s dead. This album symbolized a resurrection in his career on a better note. No more G.O.O.D music, not as much drugs, and there’s a clearer perspective of his life that he has to go forward with. I liked the album because it was alternative, and something different that people can wrap their heads around. Obviously if you only listen to it once, you won’t get the total feel for it, and I’m glad that I got to listen to this repetitively, because there is artwork at play. Living in a personal Hell, but portraying it in a piece of art – there’s your album cover. He found a way to glamourize the shit that he’s been going through and I think it’s fitting that it sounds the way it does – his own style, the way that he intends it to be. Rising from darkness, but still carrying weight on his shoulders is what may propel CuDi to do better things. I’m probably going to buy this album – definitely listen to it and immerse yourself in some art. This is just my opinion; this is my review, but for now
That’s My Word & It STiXX