Alright, so here's my verdict on the Kudi- I like it. The songs are all written from a vulnerable and intropective place but the hooks give the songs a bigness that belies their subject matter. When I heard that this was going to be a concept album split into five suites I was like "Uh-oh, Another new artist has overdosed on the his own hype kool-aid and will inevitably be crushed by the weight of his own ambition". Well, that sort of happens here, but Kudi's genuine personality prevents it from detracting too much from his album. As hard as he tries to try hard at delivering somethin new and different in an obviously self-aware manner, he still comes across as just being himself, an earnest, geeky, midwestern introvert, still intrigued by the lights of the big city and sudden fame but haunted by some vague inner-trauma. The album definately works better as a complete work as some of the weaker songs don't really hold up on their own. The production works well to at giving the album a sleek and somewhat eerie vibe. Kudi's monotone voice does kinda drag some of the songs down but it works in his favor on the catchy sing-songy and simple hooks. He is a very capable and charismatic performer when he is simply rapping but unfortunately this is rarely displayed amidst all the sub Nate Dogg-esque crooning. I give him points for not relying on auto-tune though.
As much I like the beats, the feel and the fact the Kudi's personality and life are displayed in such a raw manner that is rarely seen in pop music, this release is far from a classic. A lot of the lyrics are heavy-handed and sophmoric. The subject matter that permeates most of the songs does get tiring after awhile. Eventually I found myself saying "Okay dude I get it, you're a lonely stoner, with low self-esteem and your childhood kinda sucked, okay, yeah I get it." This however makes it that much more refreshing when he ventures into more upbeat territory on songs like "Up, Up and Away and the excellent "Enter Galactic(Love Connection)". Despite a handful of solid tunes however, the breakout hit "Day N Nite" remains the strongest song on the album.
Deficiencies in songcraft aside, the album suceeds because it vividly transports you into the mind of the artist in a way that very few releases manage to do. This alone makes it one of the most entertaining and interesting records released in 2009.