Single Review: ‘At Night’ is an underwhelming tribute to Kid Cudi

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 - 1:23pm
In 2009, Kid Cudi released Man on the Moon: The End of Day, a now-iconic debut album that redefined vulnerability’s place in rap and, consequently, resonated with a cultish fan base. The attention caught up to the Cleveland rapper, however. In 2013, he opened up about his perpetual troubles with addiction and depression, culminating in a visit to rehab this October for depression and suicidal urges.

This news was, and remains, tough to bear for such a devoted fan base. One of these fans was OG Maco (he of “U Guessed It” fame), who this week released For Scott, a tribute mixtape in honor of Cudi’s recent return to the public eye.

“At Night” is the standout track, for better or worse. The casual listener can hear what OG Maco tried to do, as he twirls over production that’s equally (and simultaneously) unapologetic and Cudi-esque. While bland, this could have sufficed, if not for underwhelming bars: “Halfway late, dancin' with the devil have one hell of a day / And the great escape must be another n***a fate.”

What was probably intended as heavy-handed thematic implication — Cudi’s certainly had many an interaction with devilish temptation — comes off as flat, or even apathetic. We get that Cudi, or OG Maco for that matter, hasn’t been able to escape his demons (and instead watches others achieve what he so yearns to do) but it doesn’t quite hit us.

What results is a product that requires compartmentalizing. Acting as a morale boost in light of Cudi’s worst stretch of personal adversity yet, it’s appropriately tortured. As a message of comfort for a friend, it’s sufficient. As a singular piece of music, it’s inappropriately bad. Kid Cudi deserves more, even if it’s meant to be the thought that counts.

[soundcloud:https://soundcloud.com/og-maco/at-night-prod-hassan-khaffaf]