Close this search box.

Kid Cudi Goes “INSANO” On His 9th Studio Album

Since the release of Man on the Moon III, Kid Cudi has been hard at work delivering new albums on a bi-annual basis and finding plenty of time for other endeavors in between, from his Netflix show Entergalatic to collaborations with unexpected brands like Fortnite & Star Trek. With the release of his latest, INSANO, Kid Cudi is sending signals that this prolific streak won’t be ending any time soon, and the results certainly speak for themselves.

DJ Drama Frames Cudi’s Latest in Pitch Perfect Fashion

DJ Drama, not Kid Cudi, is the first voice we hear on INSANO, again enlisted to set the table for a high-profile rap project. He is all of a sudden in very high demand after the success of Tyler, The Creator’s Call Me If You Get Lost and Dreamville’s D-Day mixtape. The trademark boasts that he lays over the first track, “OFTEN, I HAVE THESE DREAMZ,” end up being a genuine tone-setter, as this album majors in high-octane, trap production.

“KEEP BOUNCIN” is all you need to look to for proof of that. Honorable C. Note on production is stellar as always, setting the pace with a half-electronic beat that might just be the best one on the whole LP. The momentum doesn’t stop either, as the opening stages of INSANO don’t spare anything in terms of guest stars. The Scotts reunite when Travis Scott appears for “GET OFF ME,” another great entry into their shared history. A$AP Rocky does the same for “WOW,” as dextrous as ever, rapping lines like “Me and my vamp bae got our own handshake / These n***** can’t stomach me, gotta go get a mandrake.” Though Lil Yachty performs admirably, Pharrell Williams steals the show in the middle of the tracklist with “AT THE PARTY,” hitting a semi-falsetto for a calmly confident hook.

At COMPLEXCON ’23, Kid Cudi performs in the leadup for Insano. Taken from @kidcudi

The Lowkey, “Old Kid Cudi” Second Act of INSANO

In its closing act, Kid Cudi and INSANO change shape—going into a much more lowkey direction that harkens to “Old Cudi.” “MR. COOLA” serves as the gateway into that realm, balancing the trap production of the first half of the project with mellow key sections. By the time we reach “TORTURED,” that muted pace is in full effect. It’s both instrumentally and lyrically contemplative, finding Cudi amid one of his darkest moments on the album as a whole: “As I sit and burn, one to the sky / They say ‘Careful, boy,’ I say ‘Why?’ / I’ma stay tortured all my life / Feelin’ like me, I’ll be fightin’ ’til I die.”

Of the three tracks bearing features in this section, one makes plenty of sense to carry that introspective tone—”X & CUD,” the titular appearance of late rapper XXXTENTACION. Already familiar with reflective, catchy hooks, his posthumous guest spot here calls to mind instances where he did the same in his solo career, be it “Moonlight” or “SAD!”

Kid Cudi and INSANO‘s Final Guest Stars, Old and New

Young Thug & Lil Wayne showing up on these emotional types of cuts is the surprise, but both answer the call admirably. Weezy’s spot manifests as a true balanced effort between him and Cudi, with the Young Money mogul delivering two 16s that anchor the song. Thug, on the other hand, is a feature in the more traditional sense, popping up late into “RAGER BOYS” for a guest spot that surprisingly subverts the promises of its title.

Though there are highlights in the Cudi solo material as we near the end of the project, the true climax comes with the closer, “HIT THE STREETZ IN MY NIKES.” It’s a true Jersey Club anthem, a world that Kid Cudi doesn’t explore elsewhere on INSANO (or elsewhere in his catalog, for that matter.) Hard-hitting and fast-paced percussions prove to be a great contrast for Mr. Rager’s melodic performance over top, and it allows Cudi’s 9th to end on a serious high note.

It’s clear that the concept of “Old Cudi” looms large for Mr. Mescudi even some 15 years into his career—with the more melodic stylings featured here a clear allusion to that era. But he has entered a different stage of his career, majoring in a very different style, and nine albums deep he seems totally settled in. You can find INSANO on all streaming platforms now.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments