I Think I’m in the Future, Too

February 13, 2009

At BBH, this dude Shane had the poor fortune of being sat next to me.  Then when we all moved desks, somehow the whole office turned inside out and he had the even poorer fortune of me sticking around, this time we sat behind one another.  It’s a good thing we did, because he had a habit of dropping music into my transfer folder that I’d really like.  I had a bad habit of slacking on the art (or media?) that Shane would share with me.  He lent me Half Nelson, a film starring Ryan Gosling about a crack-addicted high school history teacher in Gowanus, Brooklyn.  It sat on my desk for a month until I finally caught up to it and it is a beautiful film, highly recommended.  Extra credit for featuring Broken Social Scene on the soundtrack.

But sometime during late 2008 he put a mixtape on my desk, telling me he saw this rapper, Kid Cudi, and his release party was lame but his music was pretty good.  Much like the Half Nelson DVD, that CD gathered dust on my computer at work and he’d keep mocking me for not listening to it.  At some point, I ripped it, loaded it onto my iPod and got to listening, and I swore to never pause on Shane’s recommendations again.

A Kid Named Cudi (free download, get it now) isn’t really a mixtape.  No DJ shout-outs, full tracks.  He raps over sampled and recycled beats, but that’s a skill, not a cop-out.  For instance, one of the strongest tracks on the mixtape is “The Prayer,” where he raps over a beat driven by a sample of “Funeral” by Band of Horses.  This song segues into “Day N Nite” which you’ve heard if you’ve been on a dancefloor in New York City in the last six months.  Also, there are only two featured guests — he puts Wale and Chip the Ripper each on a track.  In his long-form debut, Kid Cudi carries 50 minutes of music, which is impressive in his own right, and he does it over OutKast, Ratatat, Paul Simon, Dilla.

He claims to have invented a new form of music.  This is a stretch; it’s still hip-hop, but it is unlike the large majority of albums that we hear.  He’s melodic, wacky but not immature, and a clever lyricist.

Cudi is going to be a star.  He’s fresh, clean, handsome, clever, and wickedly talented.  If I can, I’m going to put this mixtape away for a few months.  I can succumb to the pressures of overindulgence, ceaselessly repeating an album until it nauseates the brain.  I think this is going to make a good summer record if I can keep it fresh.

Then again, his first “official” album is supposed to come out this summer.

For fun, this might be my favorite track.  Not on the mixtape.


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