Huge shout out to Kid Cudi for releasing a new album titled Passion, Pain & and Demon Slayin’, and admitting to his struggles with addiction. Cudi dropped the 19 track album just after his release from rehab. The man had a lot to say and didn’t hold back. Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’ hit home for the artist. Featuring Pharrell Williams, André 3000 (credited as André Benjamin), Travis Scott and Willow Smith, Cudi seeks redemption after the complete flop of his 2015 album A Speedin Bullet To Heaven.
But do not overlook Cudi’s latest album. The theme illustrates a tone that parallels his life which is split into four Acts. The intro track “Frequency” is fire. It sets the mood for the entire album. The production is nice and exhibits an emotional contrast which can be best heard in the track “Swim in the Light.” Complementing the essence of passion, Cudi opens up and comes to terms with his struggles.
Passion, Pain, & Demon Slayin’ is a great title for his sixth studio album. It defines his journey. The album shows he has a lot to get off his chest, which can be expected given his latest battles with depression and substance abuse. However, Cudi values the creative process and is has always produced an original sound.
Even though Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’ is a lengthy project, Cudi’s talent shines through. Prominent piano and violin melodies are mixed with hard hitting drums that intensify tracks like “Rose Golden,” “By Design” and “Does It.” They could be easily considered among the top tracks of 2016.
Cudi has an assortment of well-known collaborations on this album. Producer Mike Will Made It adds a spacey ambiance, giving it a psychedelic groove within the likeness of that classic Cudi sound. It is evident after listening to Passion, Pain and Demon Slayin’ that Cudi has a renewed sense of self. Not only is this album loaded with hits, but it also symbolizes both anguish and agency at his most vulnerable.
It is relevant to point out that Cudi lays back on this album, taking an ear from the production team. However, most of the album features Cudi vocally with a few notable exceptions. Pharrell chimes in on two tracks, “Flight at First Sight/Advanced” and “Surfin.” Andre 3000 lays it down on “By Design” and “The Guide,” and Travis Scott on “Baptized in Fire. ” Willow Smith also performs a dope duet on “Rose Golden.” Of course, Cudi’s signature moaning and humming are present throughout the background throughout the entire album.
The subject matter is not only revealing but also assertive. For example, on the track “Does It,” Cudi takes an opposing position and calls out his critics, “doing music, TV, and music, sitting on the floors we ain’t heard of/And the media wanna act like I ain’t out here, I’m out here.” On his final track “Surfin’,” Cudi leaves us with an air of confidence. He expresses his commitment to being back on top of the game, “Ain’t ridin’ no waves/Too busy making my waves, baby.” Clearly, Cudi is making new strides and sending a message of personal empowerment.
The album’s biggest problem is its length which is 90 minutes long. Act 4 could easily be released as an EP. Cudi seems to have a hard time landing his plane. But all 19 tracks are dope and worth listening to. One thing for sure, Cudi sounds like himself again. The best thing about this album are the redeeming features both personally and artistically, making Passion, Pain and Demon Slayn’ an elaborate metaphor of his life, coming up in the game.