My middle brother was into UGK, No Limit, Snoop Dogg, and NWA."
Cudi admittedly slept on the indie scene of the late '90s that paved the trail for today's alternative up-and-comers. Unlike Mos Def, he didn't press up 12-inches and sell them to record stores on consignment. Instead he hooked up with a former Def Jam executive (current manager Patrick "Plain" Reynolds) and launched his A Kid Named Cudi mixtape across the Web's biggest music sites.
Currently slated for Sept. 15 release, Cudi's Man on the Moon: The End of Day (Mtown), probably won't disprove the notion that he's a suburban rapper who has experienced little struggle. But maybe that's the point. By not pretending to be a ghetto Horatio Alger, he's free to expand our view of blackness, and hip-hop in particular. The harmonizing vocals, the introspective rhymes, and the hormonally driven R&B (rap & blues) add up to someone who explores hip-hop as a state of mind rather than an inconvertible, street-anchored style. "My whole thing is expressing yourself in any way possible."
THE GREAT HANGOVER TOUR: ASHER ROTH AND KID CUDI
With B.O.B., 88 Keys
Fri/24, 8 p.m., $27.50
1300 Van Ness, SF