We all know Drake‘s got the introspective/moody rap thing on lock right now. But let’s not forget that Cudi beat him to it, and this set served as a solid reminder. Backed by drums, a guitarist and Dot da Genius on the knobs, Cudi’s navel-gazing spaceman persona was in full effect, as he enthusiastically darted around the stage and chatted with the crowd between doses of his hybrid rap-singing.
Highlights included “Solo Dolo”, “REVOFEV”, “Soundtrack 2 My Life”, “All Talk” (his remix of LCD Soundsystem‘s “Dance Yrself Clean”), and the aforementioned unplanned closer “Memories” — the first song on which the crowd really met the rapper’s initial demand for rage.
You could argue Cudi settled on a few too many mid-tempo songs that saw him displaying his monotonous singing voice, but I’d counter that it showed off his affinity for songwriting, as opposed to just writing rhymes. Most of his songs have ethereal rock underpinnings, so cuts like “Mr. Rager” really come alive with the full backing band. “Marijuana”, his loving ode to herb, was a particular high in that respect, and included a screeching guitar solo. So even when some of Cudi’s rock forays fall flat — literally, his voice was flat — it was an interesting experiment to watch. It’s too bad nobody got to see the whole show.