Cleveland rapper Scott Mescudi (aka Kid Cudi) has been pioneering a style of emotionally raw, singsongy hip-hop ever since the release of his 2008 mix tape, A Kid Named Cudi. His songs are club-friendly, life-celebratory anthems just as often as they are meditative stoner jams. He doesn't seem to be swayed by the conventions of radio hip-hop, yet he’s arguably the genre's foremost figure in terms of bridging the gap between the underground sound and mainstream airwaves.
On Saturday, June 25, the man who moonlights as "Mr. Rager" played a show for more than 6,500 folks at Hard Rock Pavilion. It was his first trip to New Mexico, and he certainly felt the fan approval. "I've never been to Albuquerque, I've never been to New Mexico,” he told the crowd. “I did not know that there was this much love for me in this state." Cudi's second studio album, Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager, was released in November.
Cudi played for about two hours. At one point, he brought out Cage, a psychedelic death rapper of early-aughts underground fame, who helped Cudi out on a track and did a solo bit as well. Cudi also threw in a Hendrix cover and—for the better part of the show—danced his ass off.