Scott Mescudi, AKA Kid Cudi, has made his triumphant return to hip-hop with his sixth studio album, Passion, Pain, & Demon Slayin’.
Like all of Cudi’s previous albums, the tracks act as a compendium of emotional and inspirational tunes.
The extensive 19 song track list shows that Cudi has a lot to get off his chest, which is expected given his year full of controversy—from going through depression to high criticism of his previous album, Speeding Bullet to Heaven. Cudi has always cared about the art, even when his daring attempts at being different were short of stellar. He isn’t always brilliant, but he’s always searching for the next step in creativity for music.
Cudi knows about “demons,” his entire career has been an open and honest battle against depression and pain, and it is well represented through these songs.
In terms of the actual sound of the album, a futuristic and electronic aura is presented, filled with symphonic melodies and the typical hum Cudi has branded. The eighty-six-minute album has its moments of filler, but highlights of true passion are undeniable.
“Frequency,” the opening song, is a sensual track with a steady, mellow beat that sets the tone for the album. The theme of the song is love in a more sexual nature, a theme that presents itself on multiple occasions.
“Swim in the light,” the following track, introduces the major theme of the album- the pain he’s going through, where love is the only way to escape. The lack of passion in Cudi’s voice emphasizes the pain, with the rhythm mimicking that of a heartbeat.
“By Design” creates a funky vibe with the light piano keys and rhythm created by his wavy vocals alongside an islander keyboard. Andre 3000 brings enrichment to the bounce of the song, making the track the liveliest of the album.
“Rose golden,” which features Willow Smith, starts off with elegant harp strings transitioning into bombastic drums. The track is about academic failure but wanting to see potential, finding inner peace and becoming successful without academic prowess.
“Flight at first sight/Advanced” has a hypnotizing beat, having a futuristic melody with soft bell in the back. The song shows off complexity, changing from the calm beat, to an intricate African style drum beat.
“Does it” is one of the groovier tracks, having a pulsating beat and being more up-tempo than the rest of the album. This track is a self-empowering composition, allowing us to see more of Cudi with a symphonic aura.
“Dance for eternity” is about a pleasurable experience with another individual. It’s a very soothing track with synchronized beats that puts the listener into a relaxed state, contributing to the overall sound of the album.
“Wounds” truly embodies the passion Cudi can have in his voice. A track on the wounds left by his previous lover, placed over a simplistic 808s beat, with hints of electronic sounds that cut as soon as the pitch in his voice begins to shake.
“Mature Nature” consists of violins and the delicate hums of Cudi’s voice explaining that we are in “heaven.” In this track, Cudi reaches the horizon in which he has found himself, finding his mature nature.
“Kitchen,” changes from mourning to the intense passion Cudi feels, stating that if you “can’t take the heat of [his] love then stay out of the kitchen.” The transition in his emotion is not only felt in his enlightened vocals, but in a more up-tempo beat completed with an orchestra to top the track.
“Surfing” is the perfect closing for the album, bringing a sound that fills us with positive vibes through jazzy, African-style elements within the instrumentals. Cudi expresses to the listener that he is making his own “wave,” making his own path to success and finding himself, following his own frequency.
Filled with an eclectic display of sounds, Passion, Pain, & Demon Slayin’ is, by far, Cudi’s best project in years. It’s a very personal album which offers insight into his emotions and struggles, making us feel like he’s finally back to being the Cudi we fell in love with when we first heard him.
By Dru Barcelo