Last week, as projections of blinking eyeballs danced across the wall of Soho's W.i.P. during the album preview of WZRD (Wicked Awesome/HeadBanga Muzik/Universal Republic), one couldn't help but draw parallels between the distressed protagonist of Vladimir Nabokov's The Eye, Smurov, and Kid Cudi, who makes up one half of the record's titular duo. The perception and nebulousness of identity is at the heart of Nabokov's novel, and WZRD will inevitably inspire people to scratch their heads (and, in some cases, jeer) at the idea of who, exactly, Kid Cudi is. At last week's session, the man who helped make skinny jeans and backpacks fashionable in certain hip-hop circles was a sight to behold, wearing a fantastic bedazzled Prada shirt (it shimmered under the dim pink lights), Balmain jeans and Converse. His short 'fro was traded in for a smooth, pressed look somewhat reminiscent of soul singers of yore. "He's rock 'n' roll now," noted a confused onlooker.
WZRD isn't the next chapter in Cudi's Man on the Moon trifecta, nor is it really a hip-hop album at all. alt-rock stalwarts like Nirvana and The Pixies, it's a confusing and depressingbut, like Cudi himself, ultimately engagingrecord.More »