scott-cudiKid Cudi had a super weird 2015 I think.

Super cool from where I’m sitting, but also super weird.

I got into Kid Cudi pretty much right out of the gate, I am not the biggest hip-hop fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I do go through my phases. I was paying a little bit of attention to the “scene” when 2008’s “A Kid Named Cudi” mix-tape
was released and was pretty much sold on Cudi from the get go.

His first full length “Man on the Moon: The end of Day” sealed the deal and was probably one of the albums I listened to the most back in 2009. Then he followed it up with the also very, very good “Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager”. Cudi existed in my favorite space in hip hop, that indie rapper who incorporates less than traditional beats and whose lyrics contain more “realness” than you usually see in hip hop. Both albums contain plenty of references to coping with depression and night terrors and the like.

They were also both million sellers.

Now, when you’ve set out the create a trilogy of concept albums and the first two releases are only about a year apart and they’re both massively successful, you’ve got to think that an enormous amount of pressure builds for the artist.

Well, it’s been 5/1/2 years and there’s still no visible signs of a Man on the Moon III. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been busy, less commercially successful sure, but not less busy.

He formed a rock band (WZRD), released “Indicud” (which was way more upbeat than the MOTM series) and “Satellite Flight: The Journey to the Mother Moon” (which was cool, but again, much less of a complete experience than his MOTM discs) and then we got to 2015.

What did he do in 2015? Well, you’ve released 2 parts of your trilogy, formed a rock band, released a rock album, then dropped 2 more albums (though technically Satellite Flight is an EP). You would think the obvious answer would be “released MOTM3” right? Wrong.

“Co-star on a comedy show and release a grunge-rock album” is the actual answer.

Which I’m cool with.

I’m not entirely sure how it came about, but in the middle of Season 4 of Comedy Bang! Bang! with Reggie Watts departing to join James Corden on The Late Late Show, Cudi joined Scott Aukerman as band leader for the show. This wasn’t even a “guest star” type situation, as he had the part for a full 20 episodes.

kid-cudi-Speedin-Bullet-2-Heaven-2015-billboard-650x650Should he have been working on a new album? I mean, I guess it depends on who you ask. A lot like when Kanye defended himself getting into fashion I don’t think that it’s fair that just because a creative person does a thing that you like they should be stuck doing only that thing forever. I’m only a marginally creative person and the idea of giving up every single thing that makes me happy in favour of focusing on just the most financially viable one is kind of depressing.

I may not be a fan of Johnny Depp’s guitar skills in Hollywood Vampires or Keanu Reeves’ work in DogStar, but hey, they’re creative guys doing other stuff besides acting.

The best part is that Cudi was actually great on Comedy Bang! Bang! his comedy timing with Aukerman was fantastic and he seemed to be enjoying himself in the sketches with the guests as well. So more power too him.

Clearly, Kid Cudi is interested in following whatever path his creative energies take him on. This is also completely evident when he released his latest album “Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven” last December. The work is about the furthest thing from hip-hop that you can get. Is grunge the opposite of hip-hop? It might be.

Speedin’ Bullet is basically a love letter to the hey-day of grunge. Distorted, droning guitars and morose lyrics capture the essence of basically everything I was listening to in 1996. In order to even more fully capture the essence of the legitimate 90s experience, Cudi even enlisted Mike Judge to script and perform multiple Beavis and Butthead sketches smattered throughout the recording.

It’s awesome.

Despite the incredibly under-performing sales of the record (with only about 50,000 records sold to date) and a poor critical reception it seems that most people weren’t really on board with the whole thing. BUt I was, so forget those people. It’s definitely not MOTM3, but it still was a late entry onto my favorite albums of 2015.

So what’s the point here? I don’t know man. I guess at the end of the day it has something to do with doing whatever makes you happy and fulfills you creatively, even if there’s an expectation and a pressure to do something else.

Or something.

Keith does all sorts of things here on 9to5.cc, he works with the other founders on 9to5 (illustrated), co-hosts our two podcasts: The 9to5 Entertainment System and Go Plug Yourself and blogs here as The Perspicacious Geek.

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