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Album review: Kid Cudi, 'Indicud'

 *** (out of four)

 At a U of I concert last month, Kid Cudi called his new album "Indicud," ""what my first album should have sounded like." For me, it's the opposite.

While "Indicud" holds me throughout, there are no songs like "T.G.I.F." from "Man On The Moon: The End of Day" that had me frozen in my tracks, not wanting to miss a single beat. That's not to say Cudi's not still head and shoulders over most acts out there, but I find myself longing for something to really sink my teeth into.

Cudi's commercial and critical success have probably been a pretty solid ego boost--at least enough that he's rhyming about the ladies. "Girls," featuring Too Short, is all about appreciating the finer sex--but lines like "I like to [bleep] em, then I say [bleep] 'em" aren't the kind of artistic subtleties I've come to expect. And did they really have to go and drop a big fat "BITCH" at the end?

I mean, Kid Cudi is the self-proclaimed “Man on the Moon,” and normally I want more rappers to get on his level.  Recently I listened to Lil Wayne's "I Am Not a Human Being II" for the first time, expecting to be blown away, but instead was met with a muddle of expletives and bodily fluids. Gross. Fortunately, braggadocio and crassness have never been Cudi's problem. He's introspective, self-deprecating and just silly enough to keep you from getting too worried about him. Lines like, "Neighbors knockin' on the door, asking can we turn it down. I say, 'Ain't no music on' she said, 'Naw, that weed is loud' " on "Just What I Am" have me laughing out loud.

"Indicud" does offer an intriguing twist, containing a dance break, "New York City Rage Fest," in the middle. From there, tracks get stronger and stronger, especially the standout "Red Eye."

If he can keep throwing down head-turning beats that stand out from the pack, Cudi is sure to hold on to his lofty post. Let's just hope success hasn't gone to his head.

damoran@tribune.com  |  @redeyedana

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