Professor Jennings reviews WZRD, Breakfast, and Careless World-Rise of the Last King
Over the last few weeks there’s been an absolute deluge of new music. Three of the most notable albums that came out were Kid Cudi and Dot Da Genius’ long awaited WZRD, Chiddy Bang’s debut album Breakfast, and Tyga’s Careless World-Rise of the Last King. These three LP’s give the listener a huge variety of styles to digest and all offer something different (some of it good, some bad) and so I’m here to break them all down for you.
Careless World-Rise of the Last King: Tyga
If you hadn’t heard of Tyga in the months leading up to the release of Careless World you must’ve been in North Korea where they black out all Western media because this dude was everywhere with “Rack City” and to a lesser extent “Make It Nasty.” He built up his hype off hanging with the YMCMB crew and mixtapes like Bitch, I’m the Shit with club bangers that revolve around strumpets, drugs, and money.
I was expecting more of the above on his latest drop but Careless World shows a different side of Tyga over the course the album. It turns out all Tyga cares about isn’t just getting faded and counting stacks whilst getting dome from some unnamed yet still high class street walker. Instead, on tracks like “Echoes Interlude” and “Let It Show,” the LA based MC spits about his deeper thoughts of someday finding his Queen, love for his city, and the importance of love and being loved in life.
For those of you who wanted the “Rack City/Make It Nasty” Tyga, there’s still plenty of that on the album to go around too. “Muthaf**ka Up,” featuring the kind of out of her mind but in a cool way Nicki Minaj, and “Faded,” where Tyga gets a helping hand from Weezy F Baby himself, fulfill the I’m too faded to understand what’s going on but I like it song requirements. Lil Wayne’s verse on “Faded” also wins the award for most graphic sexual line I’ve ever heard. So the song has that going for it.
The juxtaposition of Tyga philosophizing about love, even including a message from his mom about how blessed she is to have him as a son on “Black Crowns,” put together with lines like “Booty pop, my bitch don’t wear that she prolly ass shots. I don’t give a fuck, I fuck em all till they pussy ouch” is a really weird combo. But I guess Tyga wanted his album to encompass all the aspects of who he is.
There are moments during Careless World where you can tell it was Tyga’s first major release. The most telling example of this being Tyga’s first major release appears on “Love Game.” The song isn’t exceptional, but fine, up until the 5:30 mark. And then, out of nowhere, for it’s first and only appearance on Careless World, dubstep makes an appearance. The first time I listened to “Love Game” I could actually see the record exec in my head saying, “What’s that robot music that’s really popular with the kids these days? Yeah throw some of that in there somewhere. That should sell us a few thousand copies.” Never before have I been able to so clearly see where an artist wanted the song to end and where, instead of just ending the song, the record label said keep going.
Overall, Careless World is pretty good. I didn’t expect to be blown away because most of Tyga’s mixtape work all sounded relatively the same to me. And I wasn’t blown away but he did show some depth to his work over the course of the LP and a lot of promise with his flow and wordplay. Hopefully this is the start of something big for the Last King.
3.5 stars out of 5
Kid Cudi fans have been waiting for his latest album forever it seems like. Instead of releasing another LP in his Man on the Moon series, he partnered with Dot Da Genius, who produced “Day N Nite” to release WZRD. The album represents a seismic shift in Cudi’s music, as he doesn’t rap a single verse on its entirety. Instead, Dot Da Genius lays down some crazy instrumentals and Cudi wales over them.
The album starts off strong with “The Arrival,” a completely instrumental intro by Dot Da Genius. The intro sets the stage for how strong the instrumentals and production will be on WZRD. “High Off Life” marks Cudder’s first appearance on WZRD, where he sings (?) about his newfound sobriety after getting picked up for coke possession a few years back. The sound of the LP makes me wonder whether he’s actually sober or just singing about some hypothetical person experiencing life to the fullest, but that’s not for me to decide.
Another highlight is when Cudi and Dot Da Genius cover Nirvana’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” For the first time on the album, Kid Cudi’s voice isn’t super dubbed over and distorted and it’s actually really nice. This is the singing voice Cudi’s fans loved so much on his first two albums. If he left his voice the way it is, Cudi could probably make a really good, soulful blues album. Sadly, this is one of the few times on WZRD where the experimental nature of the music doesn’t mean over dubbing the vocals.
“Efflictim” is my favorite song off the album. It puts together Cudi’s voice (thankfully not over distorted) and a simple but well put together instrumental that builds over the course of the track. At first, I thought it was the most disturbing song I’d ever heard from Kid Cudder. He’s always talked about being depressed and not sure of who he is but I can’t remember a time where he actually came out and asked, “what would happen if I was dead?” But everyone at some point in their lives has asked themselves that very question and so it has to resonate with the listener.
WZRD is definitely the most experimental we’ve ever seen Kid Cudi and I’m not sure it entirely works for me. But it’s not a complete failure like Lil Wayne’s Rebirth. If Cudi and Dot Da Genius are going to continue releasing albums as WZRD, they certainly have something to build off of.
3 stars out of 5
Breakfast was the album I was most excited for out of all three. Their mixtape work over the last few years has shown Chiddy’s ability to drift through a verse with the eloquence of a polished Southern debutant one minute and then hit a punch line harder than Richard Pryor and, coupled with Xaphoon Jones’ electronic/soul/one of a kind production, Chiddy Bang has the potential to be huge. Long story short, Breakfast did not disappoint in the least bit.
The Almighty Xaphoon Jones’ production is absolutely amazing throughout Breakfast. Every instrumental seems on point and lays the perfect backdrop for Chiddy’s vocals. “Ray Charles,” the first single off the album, had been released a few weeks prior to the LP dropping and contained the promise of some soulful music with playful lyrics that can be blasted at a party, while you’re chillin lighting up a j, or in the car on a sunny summer day.
“Happening” promises to be the summer jam of the summer. It was finally beautiful and sunny in Eugene over the weekend and this was the first song that came up on shuffle in my car. Needless to say it was a glorious moment with my sunroof down.
My favorite track off Breakfast isn’t even close however. “Talking to Myself” is the perfect song. It has a killer hook, classic Xaph production, and Chiddy lyricizing about serious issues with relationships while still cracking jokes throughout like only he could.
I know no one actually seems to buy music anymore but seriously, BUY THIS ALBUM. Chiddy Bang deserves to be rewarded for putting together such a complete album. Did I mention this is their first major release? I can’t wait for the big things in their future.
4.5 stars out of 5