Record Label: Republic 

Release Date: 16/12/16

2016; the year our collective emotions were plucked around like puppets on strings. No one, it seems, was exempt- not least the owner of one of hip-hop’s most tortured souls (no, not you Kanye): Kid Cudi.

Cudi’s 2015 project, Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven, saw heavy, sometimes over-the-top criticism fired his way in response to what some perceived to be an attempt at creating a “rock album”. Well, breathe a sigh of relief. Cudi’s turbulent last 12 months – admitting himself to rehab for depression and suicidal thoughts, an on-going ‘beef’ with Drake – has brought him back to his melancholic best: passionate, raw lyrics, and not an electric guitar riff in sight. Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’ is a piece you’d expect from an artist going through various battles- Opening single ‘Frequency’ isn’t the most comfortable of listens, but sets the tone of realness of emotion for the album.

With features from Pharrell Williams, Travis Scott, Willow Smith and Andre 3000, it is with the latter artist that this 19 track gets going. ‘By Design’ takes the album up a notch with its heavy bassline and contrasting steel drum combination, while ‘Rose Golden’ opens with a Disney-sounding harp before Cudi and Smith dutifully filth it up, with their harmonies combining like a match made in heaven.

Cudi has clearly taken a step back on the old path he set out for himself. This is a lugubrious, instinctive and finely pieced together work of art.


Words by Andrew Shelley


  1. Frequency
  2. Swim In The Light
  3. Releaser
  4. By Design
  5. All In
  6. ILLusions
  7. Rose Golden
  8. Baptized In Fire
  9. Flight At First Sight/Advanced
  10. Does It
  11. Dance 4 Eternity
  12. Distnat Fantasies
  13. Wounds
  14. Mature Nature
  15. Kitchen
  16. Cosmic Warrior
  17. The Guide
  18. The Commander
  19. Surfin’

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