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"The album's narrative (yes, there is one this time, and it mercifully does not involve a Biography Channel voice-over by Common!) follows an idealistic artist who gets trapped in hip-hop's make-it-rain imaginarium and emerges a predictably stupefied casualty. His cautionary journey takes the music in a makeshift '90s-alt-rock direction, jacked up on jittery beats that eerily mirror the rush and crash of someone who's been given way too much access to way too much ass. The dizzy friction between rap's grasping for control and rock's desire to lose it entirely give Cudi's confessions a dicey, volatile edge.

On album opener "Horizon," he adopts the role of semi-reliable narrator (as if): "Hello, how is everyone doing?" he offers over a keyboard twinkle; but when he claims "I'm your big brother" on "Revofev," it's got an ominous tinge, as strings crescendo, percussion rattles, and psych guitar lurches. "Where will you be for the revolution?" he asks, apropos of, well, the type of shit you say when you're high on coke trying to be meaningful. By the filmic swirl of "Don't Play This Song," he's gone, double-time spitting about drugs, predatory girls, his mom. "Be careful," a female chorus implores.

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