Kid Cudi has never quite fit in. His debut single, "Day 'N' Nite" introduced him as a "lonely stoner" in 2009. Since then, he's proven himself to be even too outré for Kanye West's band of outliers, having left the G.O.O.D. Music collective in 2013. He's always been an emotional artist, dealing with expansive and nebulous feelings in acute and often destructive ways. On Indicud, he declared himself "Lord of the Sad and Lonely," rhyming "Sky might fall but I ain't worried at all / Got me some Xanies and a couple Adderall." Now, on his fifth studio album -- the grungy, rockish Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven -- he's more exposed than ever, and perhaps all the better for it.
Cudi's prior albums focused on escape on terrestrial terms. There was a fascination with the moon, as if leaving the planet behind were the answers to his problems, and the music reflected this: spacey and electronic, but still filtered through hip-hop's conventions with drums, bass and rhyme as the driving forces, even in their scarcity. Speedin' has no such allegiances. Here, everything is driven by an alternative rock ethos and the themes more internal -- the flight is more about Cudi breaking free from his mortal coil than anything around him.
Over the folksy twang and melodic fuzz of the drug-trip ode "Adventures," he speaks of "floating out to nowhere" and philosophizes that "only crazy makes sense." He half-raps: "Hell is beyond the door / Heaven doesn't want one more." And then: "Accept yourself / Exit yourself / Access yourself."