Late Thursday night, Kid Cudi released his sixth studio album, Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’. As reported by HypeBeast, This 19-track LP includes production from Dot da Genius, Plain Pat and Mike WiLL Made-It, with features from Andrè 3000, Travis Scott, Pharrell Williams, and Willow Smith.
Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’ comes at the end of what was a very interesting 2016 for Cudi. Musically, Cudi entered 2016 on a low point, having just released his least successful album to date. Cudi’s fifth studio album, Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven was released in December of 2015 to lackluster reviews and general disdain from the public. Rather than the alternative rap style that Cudi fans have grown to love, Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven featured a guitar heavy, psychedelic rock sound that came off as messy, piercing and unpleasant. Themes of suicide, depression, and other personal issues filled Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven, real life problems that would affect Cudi in 2016.
Still reeling from the poor reception of Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven, Cudi was able to get back into the good graces of music fans in February, 2016, with the help of Kanye West. West recruited Cudi to sing the hook on “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1,” a song that gained massive popularity and further cemented Cudi as the go-to-guy for rap choruses. With a unique, theatrical singing voice and his signature hum, hooks sang by Cudi have become commonplace in the rap industry. Travis Scott also enlisted Cudi’s signature voice and hum during 2016 for the song “Through the Late Night.”
After spending the summer teasing his new album, things went south again for Cudi on September, in the form of a tweet storm about the rap industry. In his tweets, Cudi called out West and Drake for being fake and having other people write their songs. West addressed Cudi’s comments while on tour, initially criticizing Cudi, then squashing the beef in a later show. Drake was not as forgiving as West, mocking Cudi in a song titled “Two Birds, One Stone.”
While Cudi has always rapped about personal problems and mental health, it was a surprise to many when he checked himself into rehab in October for depression and suicidal urges. Cudi made the announcement that he was going to rehab in a very emotional, revealing Facebook post.
“I am not at peace. I haven’t been since you’ve known me,” said Cudi in his post.
The candid, honest post from Cudi resulted in an outpouring of support from fans and other artists in the music industry.
Throughout 2016, the intense loyalty of Kid Cudi fans was evident. Initially dubbing himself as “the lonely stoner,” Cudi began his formal introduction to the masses in 2009 with the release of Man on the Moon: The End of Day, an album that became a classic for many hip-hop fans. Cudi’s lyrics about loneliness, mental health, and hope on Man on the Moon: The End of Day became the soundtrack for listeners everywhere who related to Cudi as a pariah.
Now out of rehab, Cudi has been performing live shows and promoting his album.
On Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’, Cudi often alternates between sounds and moods. Like several songs on the album, “Distant Fantasies” and “Frequency” feature slow, spacey, trippy beats and soothing, woozy, rapping and singing from Cudi. These trance-like songs from Cudi are more in line with his recent projects and are ultimately drawn out and boring.
Luckily for audiences, Cudi does have plenty of enjoyable songs on his album like “Surfin'” and “By Design,” which both employ up-beat dance melodies, and energetic, unmistakable vocals from Cudi.
The difference in style and mood between songs on Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’ does not lead to a cohesive sound for the album, but rather factions of highs and lows that mirror Cudi’s personal life.
In both his slower and more up-beat songs, Cudi continues to discuss very personal themes of relationships, mental health, personal growth, and addiction.
Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’ is now available to stream or purchase on multiple platforms.
[Featured Image by Steve C. Mitchell/Invision/AP Images]