Kid Cudi
Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’
Republic

It was a tough end to 2016 for Scott Mescudi, the Ohio rapper known as Kid Cudi. Following well-publicised beefs with Kanye West and Drake, the release of Cudi’s highly anticipated sixth studio album was delayed while samples were cleared for use, just as the rapper was hospitalised for depression and suicidal urges. Following 2015’s awful alt-rock Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven, these 19 tracks, spanning more than 80 minutes and broken down into separate mini acts (for no discernible reason), finally see the light of day and mark Cudi’s welcome return to hip hop. Featuring contributions from Pharrell Williams (on the upbeat Surfin’), André 3000, Willow Smith and Travis Scott (record highlight, Baptized in Fire), it’s an emotionally charged album largely produced and written by Cudi himself, and inspired by his struggles with mental health. Although mostly down-tempo and contemplative, this is an empowering album built around spacey beats, confessional lyrics and dark, dreamy orchestration – and a fine demonstration of Cudi truly slayin’ his demons.