Let's face it: 2016 was rough for Cudi, and 2015 and 2014 weren't much better. After the promise and letdown of a highly anticipated Man on the Moon 3), we got Speeding Bullet to Heaven, an album that, while many appreciated its attempt at genre bending, this writer) couldn't help but to wince just a little bit on each listen. I began to see many of my friends and colleagues, who were day one Cudder fans, start to slip away and throw him to the wayside. I saw true Cudi fans return their concert tickets after losing faith that he had the ability to make "good" music again.
It's no secret that Kid Cudi's music served as therapy for his fans, most of whom can relate to him on a personal level in one way or another. Cudi deals the vibes, and we, his fans, feel the vibes — it's as simple as that. But the fact of the matter is that with Cudi for a while that feeling was lost, and just like many others I began to feel like it was unbecoming to be a fan of anything Kid Cudi released that wasn't MOTM or MOTM2. It was difficult to face feeling like I was losing the connection to the artist who's gotten me through so much. The "man on the moon" was gone; Kid Cudi had killed him.
For the most part, when an artist whose work is highly esteemed doesn't create a “hit,” it’s not a straight-up “miss" either. However, I can honestly say as a true Cudi fan that he's suffered some straight misses. No Sway pun intended, but all I kept thinking about was how Cudi didn't have the answers anymore. As a fan I was upset and didn't understand why. It wasn't until he lashed out) earlier this year and did his stint in rehab) that I started to realize how much artists need their fans as well.
I always knew his depression and addiction were what fueled his art, but I guess I never truly stopped to think about how that was truly taking a toll on him as a person. I'm not famous and don't know what it's like to lose myself in that way, so it's easy to label someone whom we think we know, but truly don't know, as crazy, when really they are just in need support and help. As a fan unwilling to give up faith, I was left wondering where my favorite artist would go from here. Extremely nervous but excited for the journey nonetheless, I played Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’ and instantly began to think, It's finally safe to say that Kid Cudi is resurrected. This album is proof that he in fact has not lost it.
Everything from the title itself shows that if there's anything to be said about dark times, it's that if you stick through it with your chin up, head high, with the determination to work for better days, there's beauty that comes from within darkness.
This album is celebratory in a sense, especially for someone who's been rocking with Cudi since 2009. Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’ is the representation of Cudi's life up until now in a very literal way. It's broken into four acts: (Tuned: tracks 1-5, Prophecy: tracks 6-10, Niveaux de l'Amour: tracks 11-15, and It's Bright and Heaven is Warm: tracks 16-19) so although this album comes with great listeners fatigue, I can appreciate the fact that on this project Kid Cudi had a lot to get off of his chest and wanted to craft something that truly represented how he felt.
I've completely accepted that we'll never get another MOTM; that phase is gone. What we as fans have always gotten from Cudi is his raw and true self regardless of whether we've always liked the craftsmanship that came with it. What we will continue to get as fans is an honest and open Scott, an ever-changing artist who rides an emotional roller coaster, and it's always going to be nice to hop on with him every once in a while to see where the journey goes.