Tomorrow (September 30), Kid Cudi will release his sixth solo studio album, Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin'. (Update: Kid Cudi's album has been delayed due to sample clearance.)
On the heels of letting loose the album's track list, which includes two guest appearances from both André 3000 and Pharrell Williams, and his recent public spat with Kanye and Drake, fans and critics alike aren't sure what to expect from the veteran artist and his 18-track, 90-minute affair. While hopes are high, the taste of "Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven" still lingers.
In honor of the highly-anticipated release, we decided to run 3-on-3, a brand new series in which we ask three industry tastemakers three questions about an artist, his or her new album or a newly-released single or video. For our second go-round, our panel consists of DJBooth's own Brendan Varan, Anthony Fantano, creator and host of the supremely popular vlog The Needle Drop, and Meka Udoh, a veteran DJ, blogger and one-half of the team at 2DopeBoyz.
Cudi's last album, Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven, encountered an overwhelmingly negative reception. Was the project really that awful or did it get a bad rap?
Brendan Varan, DJBooth: I didn’t listen to Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven when it was first released. The combination of my growing apathy towards Cudi over the years and the hailstorm of negative reviews caused it to sit on my to-do list for months as a near-assured 92-minute waste of time. After enjoying his "FSMH, Pt. 1” contribution so much, I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt, clear my mind of bias, and press play. I made it through 2/3 of the album before I couldn’t take it anymore, and I’m getting PTSD just thinking about it.
Anthony Fantano, The Needle Drop: Oh, it was really that awful. Even the most hardcore Cudi fans had a hard time defending it, and I think it had a lot to do with Cudi working so extensively outside of his comfort zone. He already proved with WZRD that he couldn't write a rock record, so why he'd return to fail again I don't know. You can't deny his ambition with the album's recording process and lengthy track list, though.
Meka, 2DopeBoyz: To be perfectly honest, I haven't really followed or listened to Cudi's music "like that" for a few years now. SB2H never made it onto my "Listen to This" list. *Shrugs*
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When you heard the title of Cudi's new album was Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin', your immediate thoughts were...?
Brendan Varan, DJBooth: I pray that the demons Cudi is slayin’ are whichever ones that have been creatively guiding his music for the last few years.
Anthony Fantano, The Needle Drop: Cudi lost his mind on SB2H, and I guess he's yet to find it again.
What does this album mean for the future of Kid Cudi's career?
Brendan Varan, DJBooth: For Cudi to bounce back to being the mainstream superstar he once was, and especially for former fans like myself who have grown increasingly bored with his lackluster experimentation, the album marks a critical moment. Cudi has a chance to build off the hype from quality guest appearances on The Life of Pablo and BITTSM, and sway opinion back in his favor. In fact, he could strike big, as the melodic rap/sing style that he helped pioneer is huge right now. If he drops another bomb, though, it will likely be his last chance to reclaim those fans who continue to give him the benefit of the doubt hoping for a return of his past glory. That said, he’ll always have a sizable fanbase that will continue to sing his praises, even if this album sucks.
Anthony Fantano, The Needle Drop: I really have no idea. The man has dropped some of the most awful music of his career recently, but he seems no less popular than he was prior to the release of Indicud. I guess this LP could be another opportunity to gawk at his delusional attempts to make experimental music, but there's got to be a point where enough is enough, right? Right!? I really have no idea.
Meka, 2DopeBoyz: I don't think this album is a make-or-break, career-defining project for Scott. He's achieved a lot of success throughout his musical career and I believe that he will always have that core legion of fans supporting him no matter what he does. That, in itself, is a win.