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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

November 25, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Review: Cudi’s style shift scores

"Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven"

Kid Cudi

“Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven” is not a hip-hop record, and that is a very good thing for artist Kid Cudi. This major departure from his usual style is a fusion between rock, grunge, punk and more. The shift in genre has inspired Cudi to create an intelligent and different record, but it unfortunately struggles with clarity.

Cudi does a great job of twisting genre, and it keeps the album from becoming repetitive. No two tracks sound alike. Some are abrasive, while others are softer and more introspective. The title track, “Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven,” closes with acoustic guitar, while the rest of the record uses blaring electric guitar. Unfortunately, the seething electric guitar tends to drown out Cudi’s verses, and it makes him a bit hard to understand. This may be done intentionally to show how Cudi is struggling to get his message across, but it is still jarring to listen to.

What feels especially out of place is Mike Judge’s guest work as Beavis and Butt-Head. His comedy bits are radically different from what Cudi is doing and are very distracting. While they may cause a chuckle, Judge’s segments break the pace and take away from the album’s theme of depression.

Cudi largely confronts challenges and stigmas related to mental illness with this record. The vocals center on suicide, depression and identity. “I got my daddy’s gun,” he says while closing out “Fuchsia Butterflies.” “I really don’t want to leave” is repeated in the closing track, “Embers.” Cudi designed the album as an ode to those struggling with mental illness, and the struggle comes through with each track.

The harrowing lyrics and constantly changing production make “Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven” an album worth listening to. The album lacks some consistency, but it’s refreshing to hear an artist create what he wants to create.