KiD CuDi – “Entergalactic” review

This is the 8th full-length album from Cleveland rapper, singer, songwriter, producer & actor KiD CuDi. Blowing up in 2008 off his debut mixtape A KiD Named CuDi as well as his songwriting credits on his former mentor Kanye West’s 4th album 808s & Heartbreak, his profile from there would increasingly grow off his groundbreaking debut & sophomore albums Man on the Moon: The End of the Day & Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager. But following the self-produced & overlooked Indicud, CuDi would leave G.O.O.D. Music amicably to form his own Republic Records imprint Wicked Awesome Records. Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon though was mediocre at best & who could forget when CuDi attempted to go alt-rock on the critically panned Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven? Luckily he would redeem himself on his next effort Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’ in 2016 along with the self-titled album from him & Ye as the duo KIDS SEE GHOSTS couple summers later & even Man on the Moon III: The Chosen the day after my 24th birthday despite it’s blatantly heavy Travis Scott influence. At the beginning of 2022 though, Kanye announced that CuDi wouldn’t be on the unfinished DONDA 2 due to the latter’s friendship with Skete because he was dating Ye’s hobbit ex-wife at the time & ultimately resulted in a falling out between the mentor/protege duo that always brought the best out of one another. Even this past summer when he stormed off stage at Rolling Loud because ignorant hecklers were throwing shit at him while performing & now Mike Dean announcing on Twitter that CuDi booted him off the inaugural Moon Man’s Landing festival that just went down earlier this month due to his longstanding ties as Kanye’s engineer. But with the success of Moon Man’s Landing & now Entergalactic premiering on Netflix today, CuDi’s also giving us a soundtrack to coincide with it.

After the “Entergalactic Theme” intro, the first song “New Mode” kicks off the album with a wavy instrumental from WZRD telling the world that he’s at the next level in his life whereas “Do What I Want” was a great choice for a lead single with it’s poppy trap instrumental from Take a Daytrip & CuDi talking about doing his fucking thing. “Angelic” takes a more melodic approach with it’s dreamy production & heavy auto-tuned vocals asking where this woman in his life came from, but then “Ignite the Love” goes full blown acoustic with the help of Skrillex to sing about thanking God for finding her.

Meanwhile on “In Love”, we have CuDi pulling from electropop á la 808s & Heartbreak expanding on the themes of love just before Ty$ tags along for the neo-psychedelic alternative R&B duet “Willing to Trust” featuring co-production from E*vax singing about how this is the day that he’s been waiting for. 2 Chainz comes into the picture for the boastful trap banger “Can’t Believe It” that Plain Pat whipped up with WZRD talking about how they be coastin’, but then “Livin’ My Truth” is a groovy hip hop banger admitting that it’s all he knows.

“Maybe So” has a theatrically downtrodden tone to it from the beat to CuDi’s dejecting confessions of missing his significant other while “Can’t Shake Her” is a Man on the Moon: The End of Day throwback sonically detailing the dreams he’s having about her. “She’s Looking for Me” somberly asks if she can save the night in time while the song “My Drug” melodically tells her to take his heart over some atmospheric yet symphonic instrumentation.

The penultimate track “Somewhere to Fly” with Don Toliver finds the 2 telling their lovers to follow them if they ever want to go overseas by their sides from their catchy performances to the aquatic vibes of the beat from WondaGurl until the bonus cut “Burrow” ends the album with CuDi & Don reuniting over Steve Aoki’s signature electro house style of production talking about how getting stronger & faster feels like. If the last 2 joints here are teasers towards a potential collab effort from both these guys, then I wouldn’t be opposed to it.

As wrong as I think Ye is for making the announcement that CuDi wasn’t gonna be on DONDA 2 considering that he talked to Ye about it weeks prior & making a joke out it the Rolling Loud incident, I’d also say CuDi acted incredibly childish by kicking Mike Dean off the Moon Man’s Landing lineup over his ties as his former mentor’s longtime engineer resulting in the album leaking a little bit ago with fart sounds & people speculating Mike was involved with it. That being said, I’m still a fan of all 3 of them at the end of the day & this is a solid soundtrack to his Netflix special. As far as sound goes, he throws it back to the early days of his career & the cohesive concept of it is pretty well told.

Score: 3.5/5

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Kanye West – “DONDA 2” review

Kanye West is a 44 year old rapper, singer, songwriter, producer, businessman, fashion designer & supposed politician from Chicago, Illinois who everyone should be familiar with by now. You absolutely CAN’T deny the impact that Ye has had on hip hop within the past 18 years with albums like The College Dropout or My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, regardless of how one may feel about his polarizing public image. The last we heard from him was over the summer when he dropped DONDA which was much more consistent than it’s predecessor Jesus is King, but the 2 hour runtime was unnecessary. 6 months later, we’re now being treated to his 11th full-length outing executive produced by Future & exclusive to his Stem Player platform.

“True Love” kicks off the album with an instrumental kin to “Runaway” talking about how genuine romance shouldn’t be complicated with a surprisingly great hook from the late XXXTENTACION whereas “Broken Road” pondering what it means to find your soul on top of a doleful beat & Don Toliver’s hook on here is so goddamn catchy. “Get Lost” goes a cappella looking back on all the good & bad memories of his life so far with an excessive amount of auto-tune slathering his vocals just before “Too Easy” has this glitchy quality to the production discussing his current trials & tribulations.

Meanwhile on “Flowers”, we have Kanye throwing it back to the Graduation days in terms of sound encouraging to send him $100k rather than the titular object leading into “Security” asserting that nothing can get in the way of him being with his family & Digital Nas’ production here almost reminds me of Yeezus in a way. “We Did It Kid” hardly has any Ye presence at all & it sticks out like a sore thumb even though I genuinely enjoy it’s horn-heavy groove alongside Baby Keem & the Migos’ verses, but then the Future-assisted “Pablo” follows it up with a trap cut that encourages the listener to try to have fun except it falls flat on it’s face.

“Louie Bags” starts off great with it’s hypnotic beat & talking about boycotting LV after Virgil Abloh’s passing, then Jack Harlow’s verse comes in & ruins the whole vibe. Future returns for “Happy” & it’s WAY better than “Pablo” from Wheezy peppy production to the subject matter asking the world if they look like they’re doing fine to them. “Sci-Fi” then works in some string sections as Sean Leon joins Ye in addressing his divorce from The Hobbit, but that line where he said “When you lay down & I gave you the semen. I swear I heard God, the voice of Morgan Freeman” had me ROLLIN’ in laughter.

Following that, “Selfish” goes into a minimal yet cloudier direction talking about how selfishness & materialism can damage a relationship while the symphonic “Lord Lift Me Up” is a decent Vory solo cut asking for God to lift up his spirits. The song “Keep It Burning” with Future finds the 2 basically flipping the Talking Heads joint “Burning Down the House” & making a hard hitting trap banger out of it while the penultimate track “City of Gods” with Fivio Foreign goes into drill turf telling NY to go easy on them. “First Time in a Long Time” ends the album on a triumphant yet electronic note with Ye opening up about his faith in God & feelings stemming from his divorce but on the other hand, fucking Soulja Boy comes through flexing his success & kills it.

I really don’t know what else to say beyond that, it’s just so painfully average even by Kanye’s standards. There are some interesting song topics & production ideas without a doubt, but it’s all blatantly unfinished. If Ye does plan on updating the album once it’s actually done like Stem Player co-inventor Alex Klein was saying on Twitter, then I feel like it’ll be A LOT better than what we got here.

Score: 2.5/5

Kanye West – “DONDA” review

This is the 10th full-length album from Chicago rapper, singer, songwriter, producer, businessman, fashion designer & supposed politician Kanye West. What can be said now about this man that hasn’t been said already? Regardless of how you feel about his public image, you can’t deny his creativity nor the impact his discography has had on hip hop over the last 17 years. More specifically The College Dropout & My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The last time we heard him in secular form was back in 2018 with ye, which in my opinion doesn’t get enough appreciation for detailing his struggles with bipolar disorder even to this day. Kanye later became a born-again Christian & went into gospel rap territory for his previous album Jesus is King in which the music was fine, but the mix was absolutely horrendous. But now after a embarrassing attempt at becoming president of the United States last fall & divorcing his Hobbit ex-wife, one can only go into DONDA expecting Ye to get a lot off his chest.

After the tedious “Donda Chant” intro, the first song “Jail” is a rock-tinged kickstarter with The Throne returning saying God’s gonna post their bail with co-production from Mike Dean alongside Dem Jointz & 88-Keys whereas “God Breathed” has assisted by E*Vax some choir vocals hanging in the back encouraging the listener to put their faith in the higher power. Playboi Carti & Fivio Foreign tag along for the trap-tinged “Off the Grid” co-produced by with 30 Roc proclaiming they did everything for the crib just before the Lil Baby-assisted “Hurricane” brings in some organs & snares with co-production from DJ Khalil & Ronny J to tell God to hold them close.

Meanwhile on “Praise God”, we have Baby Keem & Travis Scott joining forces to say they’re gonna praise their way out the grave helping work in an organ & choir vocals leading into “Jonah” with Lil Durk & Vory having some hypnotizing production as well as lyrics about loneliness. “Ok Ok” is an atmospheric cut co-produced with Boi-1da linking up with Lil Yachty & Rooga to call out those who’ve betrayed them, but then Ye & Carti pay homage to Junya Watanabe on the organ-bass infused “Junya” assisted by Digital Nas.

“Believe What I Say” does a fine job at sampling the iconic Lauryn Hill joint “Doo-Wop (That Thing)” telling the listener not to let the lifestyle drag you down whereas “24” brings back in some organs to say God’s not finished. “Remote Control” with Young Thug satirizes society these days with an ambient backdrop & snares whereas “Moon” is the greatest interlude of the year hands down, with Don Toliver & KiD CuDi hitting every note perfectly as the guitars that’re wailing behind them.

The way “Heaven & Hell” samples Drum Broker’s “Arena” is really cool with Ye standing up to to the system & after the titular interlude co-produced by BoogzDaBeast, “Keep My Spirit Alive” with Hall ‘N Nash finds the trio saying “you can take it all with the Lord on my side” over a cloudy instrumental. Jay Electronica & The LOX come in for the gorgeous “Jesus Lord” co-produced by Swizz Beatz & Gesaffelstein wanting to know someone who needs God, but then “New Again” sounds like a throwback to the Graduation days production-wise talking about being born again.

Tell the Vision” from the latest posthumous Pop Smoke album Faith feels out of place given that Ye has no presence on this version, but “Lord I Need You” makes up for it with it’s pillowy beat co-produced by Wheezy as Ye asks God to wrap his arms around him whereas the Roddy Ricch-assisted “Pure Souls” fuses organs with bass & handclaps to say “The truth is only what you get away with”.

The penultimate track “Come to Life” is an luxurious ballad pondering if you’ve ever wished you had another life & finally, “No Child Left Behind” ends the album with a straight up gospel ballad saying God has done miracles on him. We are then treated to alternate versions of “Jail”, “Ok Ok”, “Junya” & “Jesus Lord” as bonus cuts.

It should really go without saying that DONDA is what Jesus is King should’ve been & it’s a respectable tribute to Ye’s mom. There are a tad bit of filler cuts running at 27 joints & nearly 2 hours, but the mix sounds so much better in comparison to the last album.

Score: 4/5

KiD CuDi – “Man on the Moon III: The Chosen” review

KiD CuDi is a 36 year old rapper, singer, songwriter, producer & actor from Cleveland, Ohio who blew up in 2008 off his debut mixtape A KiD Named CuDi as well as his songwriting credits on his mentor Kanye West’s 4th album 808s & Heartbreak. This was followed up with his groundbreaking debut & sophomore albums Man on the Moon: The End of the Day & Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager the next year & the year after that respectively but then 3 years later, CuDi would leave G.O.O.D. Music amicably to form his own Republic Records imprint Wicked Awesome Records after releasing the self-produced & overlooked Indicud. However, I found Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon to be mediocre at best & who could forget when CuDi attempted to go alt-rock on the critically panned Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven? Luckily he would redeem himself on his previous effort Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’ in 2016 along with the eponymous debut album from him & Kanye as the duo Kids See Ghosts a couple summers back. But after a couple of loose singles throughout this year, KiD CuDi is ready to finally close out the Man on the Moon trilogy on his 7th full-length album.

After the “Beautiful Trip” intro, the first song “Tequila Shots” talks about internal conflict over a psychedelic trap instrumental from Dot da Genius & Take a Daytrip whereas the following track “Another Day” talks about how ain’t much changed in him over a spacious beat. The song “She Knows This” gets sexual over a voluptuous instrumental while the track “Dive” talks about a sadness in him over a cavernous beat from none other than Kevin Parker.

The song “Damaged” talks about being a broken man over a befuddled instrumental while the track “Heaven on Earth” talks about living alright over a nocturnal, bass-heavy beat. The song “Show Out” with Skepta sees the 2 flexin’ over a rubbery instrumental while the track “Mr. Solo Dolo, Pt. III” talks about somethin’ twisting him over a cloudy beat from Plain Pat & WZRD.

The song “Sad People” pays tribute to everyone out there who’s depressed over a glitzy instrumental while the track “Elsie’s Baby Boy (Flashback)” looks back on his childhood over a rock-flavored beat. The song “Sept. 16th” talks about searching for love over an instrumental with some wavy synths while “The Void” talks about falling in an abyss over a downcast beat from Mike Dean & WZRD.

The track “Lovin’ Me” is a gorgeous duet with Phoebe Bridgers about self love down the euphoric instrumental while “The Pale Moonlight” talks about people who think they know him over a vibrant beat. The song “Rockstar Knights” with Trippie Redd finds the 2 talking about the luxurious lifestyles they live over a ghostly trap instrumental while the penultimate track “4 da Kidz” is a dedication to the chosen few over a fiery beat. The album ends with “Lord I Know”, where CuDi talks about being a warrior over an atmospheric instrumental.

I didn’t think this day would actually come, but I’m sure as Hell glad that it did because it’s a great finisher to the trilogy that got KiD CuDi where he is currently. You can definitely hear the Travis Scott influence but simultaneously, he does a phenomenal job at recapturing the vibes of his first 2 albums from the sounds provided by the original producers of those records to the concepts throughout.

Score: 4/5

Kanye West – “Jesus is King” review

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Kanye West is a Chicago icon that really needs no introduction at this point. From his polarizing public image to his damn near flawless discography, the man has really made a continuous & undeniable impact on hip hop within the past 15 years. However throughout 2019, Kanye has been going around the world with his newly formed gospel-rap outfit Sunday Service performing gospel songs & covers of his discography for an hour. But after teasing fans with listening parties for his 9th full-length album for the past month, he’s actually dropping it worldwide.

The album begins with “Every Hour”, where the Sunday Service choir sing about how we always need God over a bare piano instrumental. The next song the track “Selah” talks about looking back & reflecting upon over an organ while the track Follow God” finds Ye encouraging the listener to find a higher power over a College Dropout-esque instrumental. The song “Closed on Sunday” makes painfully corny references to Chick-fil-A over a Timbaland instrumental starting off with an acoustic guitar & later switching up into something more minimalist & ominous while the track “On God” uses the titular expression to address his current well-being along with his past comments on the 13th amendment over a Graduation-inspired instrumental from Pi’erre Bourne.

The song “Everything We Need” with Ty$ & Ant Clemons sees the 3 talking about switching their attitudes over an trap beat co-produced by Ronny J & Mike Dean with an organ in the background while the track “Water” with Ant finds the 2 talking about purity over a somewhat funky instrumental co-produced by Timbaland. The song “God Is” sings about how the Lord is victorious & gives him power over a soulful instrumental while the track “Hands On” talks about religion being more prominent in Ye’s life over an intoxicating instrumental. The song “Use This Gospel” is pretty much a full blown Clipse reunion as Kanye only does the hook, but I’ll take it. Pusha T & No Malice both talk about seeking forgiveness like they never left over some plinky keys, but the sax solo from Kenny G was unexpectedly good. The album then finishes off with “Jesus is Lord”, where Kanye of course sings about his newfound love for Christ himself over some horns.

While I myself am not the biggest fan of gospel music, this is a decent experience. Kanye truly sounds like he’s legitimately happy & finally at peace with himself in comparison to his last 3 albums, but the mixing is absolutely terrible. Hopefully down the road, he’ll patch it up like he did with The Life of Pablo back in 2016.

Score: 3/5

KIDS SEE GHOSTS – Self-titled review

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KIDS SEE GHOSTS is a midwest hip hop duo consisting of the renown yet polarizing Chicago legend Kanye West & Cleveland recording artist KiD CuDi. The 2 have worked with each other numerous times dating back to when Yeezy signed CuDi to his GOOD Music record label in 2008 & let him co-write 4 songs on 808s & Heartbreak later that same year. KiD CuDi has contributed to every Kanye album since then. More recently the song “Ghost Town” on his latest album ye, which is a prelude track to this album over here. CuDi even released his first 3 albums with GOOD Music before he left on amicable terms in 2013 to form his Republic Records imprint Wicked Awesome Records. The duo would later have a brief falling out in the fall of 2016, but they would eventually reconcile after the St. Pablo Tour was cancelled due to Kanye‘s hospitalization for stress & exhaustion.

The album opens with “Feel the Love”, which is pretty much being dominated by Pusha T. He definitely goes in, but the gunshot adlibs from Kanye are VERY annoying. I also like the spacey keyboards & the later added drums that come through in the instrumental. The next track “Fire” actually sees the 2 getting together & responding to everyone who criticize them for their failures in the past over some militant drums & an eerie guitar in the background. The song “4th Dimension” has a prominent Louis Prima sample & as for the content, they pretty much talk about sex. I loved Kanye’s references to Master P & Rick Ross’ signature adlibs during his verse & I actually laughed harder than I should’ve when I first heard the line about him trying to have anal with the woman he’s sleeping with. The track “Freee (Ghost Town, Pt. 2)” with a brief Ty$ appearance tells the audience that that’s exactly how they feel right now over a killer guitar, but the way the say the titular word does get old after a while.

The song “Reborn” is easily my favorite one on the entire album. The lyrics are all about moving forward from their pasts & the uplifting instrumental is a serious throwback to CuDi’s 2009 debut album Man on the Moon: The End of Day. The self-produced title track has a surprising yet solid Yasiin Bey hook & the instrumental has an intergalactic atmosphere to it that’s very pretty. Lyrically, KiD CuDi‘s verse about how he can’t be stopped & that he’ll be finding heaven in a matter of time while Kanye’s talks about fame. The album then finishes with “CuDi Montage”, where CuDi tells God to save him & Kanye gets insightfully conscious over a fitting sample of “Burn the Rain” by the late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain.

As a whole, I think it’s on the same enjoyability level as ye. The pop rap production is a lot more refined & given the recent hospitalizations of both members, the chemistry between KiD CuDi & Kanye West is stronger than it ever was before.

Score: 4/5

Kanye West – “ye” review

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After going A.W.O.L. ever since his hospitalization in late 2016, the ever so polarizing Kanye West is finally coming out of the shadows to release his 8th full-length album. The opener “I Thought About Killing You” has a beautiful spoken word piece at the beginning about depression & then we get a confident verse over a moody beat, but then it switches into a more trap-like sound as he responds to his haters near the end. The next track “Yikes” talks about drugs over a hard hitting beat with a humorous outro about being a bipolar superhero while the song “All Mine” talks about a supermodel thick woman over a bouncy beat. Also, I found the hook on here to be somewhat hilarious.

The track “Wouldn’t Leave” talks about his sensitivity over a beautiful gospel-like beat & I love how he starts it off by responding to his infamous TMZ appearance a couple months ago. The song “No Mistakes” is a response to Drake’s Duppy freestyle with a beautiful sample of the classic Slick Rick jam “Hey Young World” & while the penultimate track “Ghost Town” talks about being loved over a rap rock beat, I wish it was structured better. Then we have the closer “Violent Crimes”, where he talks about his kids over an atmospheric beat. Also, the I like the references to Nicki Minaj & “Monster” halfway through the verse. It makes even more sense that Nicki pops up at the end via cell phone saying the line & that she wants everyone to hear it, but I don’t know about ending the album that way.

Regardless, this is still a fantastic. While he did say it would be only 7 tracks, it’s mostly focused & consistent with vibrant production & honest lyrics

Score: 4/5