Friday, March 20, 2009

Kid Cudi's Last Minute Save

By Evan Rytlewski
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“Kid Cudi is a no show,” a stagehand announced at exactly 1 a.m., the scheduled start time for Kid Cudi’s set. Within moments the houselights brightened and the crowd realized he wasn’t joking. Disillusioned and grumbling, they made a mass exodus toward the exit. The first revelers had just left when none other but Kid Cudi walked in through the venue’s front door in brisk stride, waving the crowd back toward the stage. It was like a scene from a movie; the rapper’s fashionably late entrance couldn’t have been better timed.

“Sorry I’m late,” Cudi apologized as he hopped over a bar and onto the stage, his DJ racing to set up his equipment. “I had a Peter Parker Spider Man 2 moment. You know how Spider Man didn’t want to be Spider Man no more? I was feeling that way.”

It was an odd explanation for being four minutes tardy if there ever was one. It’s going to be a long, miserable life for the laid-back rapper if he’s already questioning a career in musiche hasn’t even released a full-length album yet, but stardom seems imminent. His breakthrough underground single, “Day N’ Nite,” newly fitted with a beautiful video, is on the brink of becoming his breakthrough commercial single. With its cool, hypnotic tone, the song is like little else on the radio (which is why some stations have taken to airing a busy, Top 40-friendly remix of the song that strips away all nuance; but that’s radio for you).

Cudi’s set drew mostly from his inspired but uneven A Kid Named Cudi mixtape, and even the mix’s more blasé songs sounded striking live. With Cudi’s emphasis on mellowed-out but soulful choruses, every song becomes an easy sing-along. If Cudi’s debut can capture the effortless charisma of his stage show on record, he could have a real masterpiece on the horizon.

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