The news of today reported by the journalists of tomorrow

The Beacon

The news of today reported by the journalists of tomorrow

The Beacon

The news of today reported by the journalists of tomorrow

The Beacon

Mr. Rager’s Return: A Review of Kid Cudi’s “INSANO”

Lara Mullen

Kid Cudi is back again with a new release titled “INSANO.” I cannot speak for all listeners and fans, but I for one was ecstatic to hear about this album. From the numerous singles that have been released, I knew I wanted more of what I heard.

Before this, he last released a studio album all the way back in 2020, with “Man on the Moon III: The Chosen.” Soon after this, in 2022, he released a decent soundtrack to his Emmy-winning movie “Entergalactic,” which shares a name with the movie (I legit just watched it after I typed that sentence and it’s so great. I advise all to watch it). After numerous singles and leaks, the album was finally released on January 12.

Starting off, “OFTEN, I HAVE THESE DREAMZ,” begins with DJ Drama yelling into the microphone, acting as a hype man for Kid Cudi here and throughout the rest of the album to come. In the background, you can hear these enchanting voices making up the instrumental which Cudi starts to rap over after DJ Drama’s introduction. If you have ever listened to Kid Cudi before, you’d know he’s known for his melodic and entrancing hums and vocals. Here, however, he displays his rapping ability and absolutely sells it.

As the next track “KEEP BOUNCIN’” plays, Cudi continues his rapping performance. As for the chorus, it’s not an extreme show of talent, but you can tell that Cudi is actually having fun with this project this time around. I personally like to see Cudi’s fun side because based on this alone, you can tell he isn’t struggling as much mentally compared to his previous work. We continue to see this playful nature throughout the whole record.

 “GET OFF ME” displays the first of many features. The feature here is none other than Travis Scott. I really enjoyed his performance here as it is much like how he was on his 2018 album, “ASTROWORLD,” which is a fan-favorite for all the right reasons. The last verse contains bars being traded back and forth between Cudi and Scott, allowing a dynamic duo to collide. I love when artists do this, most notably on “Bad Meets Evil” by Eminem and Royce Da 5’9”, “Welcome to the Midwest” by Tech N9ne and Krizz Kaliko and “Pete VS Andre” by Westside Gunn and Conway the Machine.

“MOST AIN’T DENNIS” immediately sets itself apart from the rest of the tracks as it is a raging beat. This lets Cudi have the most fun he’s definitely had in a while. The whole song, especially the chorus, makes me hyped just off of the way Cudi presents himself alone. Apart from this, the track doesn’t bring much to the table. It is still a great addition nonetheless.

Then we have “WOW” featuring A$AP Rocky. This is such a feel-good song and I love it. I wish this album as a whole was released in the summer because it would have been such a mood booster, especially during the hot months. I love everything about this track. From Cudi and Rocky enjoying themselves, to the catchy chorus. Rocky especially does a great job here and makes me want to drop his highly awaited album “DON’T BE DUMB,” even more now.

“A TALE OF A KNIGHT” starts off by blasting the bass into the listener’s ear. This track, like many others off of this project, is meant to just get you up and moving, and it does this perfectly. I love how Cudi switches his flow often, which sounds great over this instrumental as well. It really shows off his rapping capabilities.

Next, we have “CUD LIFE.” Nothing is outstanding here, but I still like the way the song sounds. Still, the song has little to offer and is overall just average. I don’t know how to feel about the chorus as it’s just a little boring and lacks excitement when compared to the rest of the tracklist. Overall, this isn’t the worst this album has to offer, but it certainly is not the best.

We have an amazing feature on the way with “TOO DAMN HIGH.” The feature in question is Lil Yachty. Lately, he’s been on a resurgence as he released an amazing comeback album with “Let’s Start Here” last year and has been on an insane feature run ever since. He even released incredible singles throughout the year as well. Yatchy’s vocals match with Cudi’s too well, which made me surprised as to why they haven’t had more songs with each other. Revisiting this track over and over again has me thinking that this is one of the best to come out of “INSANO.”

“MR. COOLA” instantly puts me off because of the production. Throughout the whole song, the listener is forced to just endure piano chords that are similar to that of the “Halloween Theme,” and it’s just incredibly annoying. Besides this, I enjoyed Cudi’s rap performance. This just goes to show how much production matters for songs.

Now while the next song, “FRESHIE,” might be biased towards me because I use it purely for “hype” purposes, I still love this track nonetheless. I say this because while the production is constantly booming in the listener’s ears, we have Cudi being harsher than usual and showing slight anger through his verses. Even his ad-libs here convey a sense of anger. That being said, I love listening to this song whenever in the gym just to get hyped for my next exercise. Even outside of the gym, I think this song has a lot to offer sonically.

“TORTURED” is a slight return to form as we immediately hear Cudi’s hums that made him what he is. Overall, the song does keep the same sound as the rest of the album but incorporates similar styles to what he’s used to doing, like how the instrumental is floaty like the past but has powerful, new-age 808s pumping through every second.

Next, we have a feature from the late XXXTENTACION on “X & CUD.” This song, yet again, is a significant return to form. If you enjoy the old Kid Cudi, you are sure to love this song. I enjoy what both artists have to offer to this song, and I wish we could see more from these too, even if X has passed away. 

On “SEVEN,” we have yet another feature. This time it was from the rap legend, Lil Wayne. If you’ve read my previous review of his latest EP, “Tha Fix Before Tha VI” then you’d know that I’m truly a hater of his newer work. The same stays true here as he adds little to nothing to the track. He includes one verse that equates to 20 seconds of the two-minute-and-a-half track. Cudi, however, did pretty well. I honestly would prefer if he left the song as is with his verse and chorus.

 “RAGER BOYZ” showcases the masterful synergy between Cudi and Young Thug. They work perfectly together which makes the fact that they only have one other released song with each other. From an outside perspective, you’d think the two have been working together for their whole lives. Both performances verse-wise are some of the best on the album. As for the chorus, I’m honestly in love with it. This is easily at least within the best three songs on “INSANO.”

After covering all of the highlights, lowlights and some in-betweens, I can say that I adore this album. From the exuberant production and vocals to the amazing features, apart from Lil Wayne, this album has just what I was looking for from Cudi. It’s even great to see him having fun after being in such despair during his whole career. 

While this album is mostly positive, the only thing that it can improve upon is being less bloated. The project is at 21 songs, which is just way too much for my liking. I’d personally keep all of the features, yes, even Lil Wayne, to keep variety. I would get rid of some average tracks like “CUD LIFE” and “MR. COOLA” to shorten the playtime. In a perfect world, this album would be best at 17-ish songs. 

This being said I’m confidently giving this album an 8.5 on a 10-point scale.