Kid Cudi and Kanye West are back together yet again, and their friendship proves to re-enforce their reputation as one of the best collaborations that have ever occurred in rap music.
“Feel the Love” starts off the album on a fantastic note, with Cudi singing the simple yet epic chorus, his trademark. The beat seems to be made for Cudi’s voice, and together even the ultra-repetitive chorus sticks in a listener’s ears. Kanye drops the best onomatopoeic verse of his career in this song, firing vocal guns into the microphone.
“Fire” continues with a strong, marching beat. While being more instrumentally focused with steady tambourine (and occasional flutes?), Cudi and Kanye both drop angry and somewhat psychedelic choruses and verses. It manages to be internally questioning and externally powerful and sassy. Perhaps this song serves to symbolize the personas of both Cudi and Kanye (neither have been seen as shy in their careers despite both suffering from severe mental issues and depression).
“4th Dimension” serves the best beat of the album and perhaps of the three albums Kanye has produced, sampling a Christmas song by Louis Prima. The song finds Cudi and Kanye at their collective sharpest wits as well.
“Freeee (Ghost Town Pt. 2)” truly is a sequel in every way to the original “Ghost Town” from Kanye’s “ye” album, a victorious anthem dedicated to psychological liberation. Anyone who has ever accomplished something difficult would quickly come to know and love this song.
“Reborn” is a song straight out of Cudi’s debut album “Man on the Moon” all the way back in 2008. From the light pianos to Cudi’s repetitive hooks and (somewhat annoying moaning), everything about this song is a time capsule to a decade ago. Appropriately, this song is about moving forward and finding peace in acknowledging the past and issues and rolling with them. Again, both Kanye and Cudi achieve every goal they set out on this song, acknowledging each of their personal struggles but putting forward a tone of firm acceptance and picking oneself up and moving on, no matter where. The song is somewhat therapeutic.
“Kids See Ghosts” is an extraterrestrial song. The entire song is completely unorthodox. Cudi mumbles quietly in his verse, but his lyrics come across completely clearly, and so does his even quieter chorus. Kanye’s verse comes in as a saving return to form, and his verse talks about the confidence depletion that ironically comes with being successful. Perhaps this song is about seeing spirits and ghosts, things that shouldn’t exist but still do. Mos Def (or Yasiin Bey) continues on this theme, coldly describing a world with “stability but no stasis”, a confused world where synonyms may not exist at the same time.
“Cudi Montage” is the last song finally is the external song on the album. Cudi speaks of the difficulty of bearing the weight of the world on his shoulders, and wonders what light he could possibly shed on the world. But Kanye already knows what light he has to shine. After enough introspection, Kanye West talks about what bothers him in the world. What bothers him in 2018? The worldwide desire for peace growing as a trend, yet the quintessential unending cycle of violence and revenge, a positive loop of death, continuing to exist. The chorus matches the spiritual moments of “Ultralight Beam” from 2016, a hymn-like refrain sung by Mr. Hudson, Kanye, and Cudi, taking turns singing different parts each time the chorus comes around. It is ingenious and amazing, and without a doubt the best song on the album.
Overall I could not recommend the album enough. It is a brisk and well-selected psychedelic rock/rap masterpiece that’s brilliance cannot be denied.