To celebrate the impending arrival of Cleveland's latest mass hip-hop export, Kid Cudi, I ran down much of the city's rich musical history. But Cudi isn't much like any of those acts, unless you consider his sing-songy flow a tone-deaf descendant of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.
I'm conflicted about Cudi. I almost reflexively loved him at first as an Ohio native and Kanye protege, and there's no denying the infectious innovation of his breakout single "Day N Nite." But the more time I spent with his "Man on the Moon" album, the thinner and less consequential it felt. I love that he isn't afraid to make exactly the kind of music he wants, even if that means channeling Eve 6 more than E-40. And though he's got a unique way of bringing his ideas to life, some of them aren't as exciting as I want them to be. (Cudi + MGMT + Ratatat should have been a lot more exhilarating than it turned out on "Pursuit of Happiness.")
Still, every time I catch wind of a new track, I'm eager to hear what he comes up with. And I'm curious to know what one of his concerts is like, especially after his appearance at Kanye's 2009 Fader Fort showcase was so enlivening. Not curious enough to skip Swans, though...
Cudi will be at LC Pavilion, 405 Neil Ave., tonight with support from Machine Gun Kelly and DJ EV. It's an outdoor show. Gates open at 7 p.m. Tickets are sold out, but face value was $35.