FRIENDS of KANYE:  Taz Arnold,left, of SA-RA Creative Partners, and Kid Cudi at The Hundreds BBQ '08 in L.A.'s Fairfax District. Both are signed to Kanye West's G.O.O.D Music label.
FRIENDS of KANYE: Taz Arnold,left, of SA-RA Creative Partners, and Kid Cudi at The Hundreds BBQ '08 in L.A.'s Fairfax District. Both are signed to Kanye West's G.O.O.D Music label.

Plain Pat what up!?

I’ve always wanted to holler that.

Scott Mescudi owes a lot to the Pat, the former Def Jam A&R who gave Kanye support and also works as Cudi’s manager. The rapper is set to be an international star. Not bad, Cudi is booked for  Lollapalooza 2009, in addition to getting an introduction to the world via a Kanye West video.

Cudi, who’s from Shaker Heights (not the hardest section near Cleveland, or is it?) just put out his latest mixtape. It’s more or less a compilation of several mixtapes he’s appeared on, including his first.

But it’s a good way to re-hear some gems like this track with Jackie Chain:

and this song, too:

This photo of Cudi at SXSW 2009 was taken by

Cudi’s star is seriously set to shine, hard (pause). His “Sky Might Fall,” another songy rap about mid-twenties malaise produced by Kanye is featured in an unofficial trailer for “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. It could go well with with a Starscream fight sequence. Novel did his own, and separately, Rick Ross hopped on a remix of the tune.
I wonder is there’s any coincidence that Transformers star Shia LeBouf also starred in a movie about Shaker Heights, Cudi’s home. Hmm.

BIRDMAN: Cudi ripped the stage at Cinespace in Hollywood in 2008.
BIRDMAN: Cudi ripped the stage at Cinespace in Hollywood in 2008.

While Pimp C wouldn’t have approved of Cudi, i’m only supposing, given his distaste for cats who wear skinny jeans. He does represent a force in rap though, that Kanye-approved melding of hardcore and hipster, hardly concerned with pimp or gangster-doings.

His appeal lies somewhere between a Q-Tip meets MGMT brand of rap.
Publications are flocking to group him into the emo-rap category. I’ll stick with the already aging ‘hipster’ misnomer.

With all the BAPE I see Cudi and Plain Pat sporting, it’s obvious the culture icons of the moment have their eye on him.

Here’s some of Ohio, specifically the “CL”s, hiphop makers of the moment:

  • Ray Cash: His Sony debut was well received by many. He’s on the mixtape circuit for now.

  • Chip Tha Ripper: Cudi name-drops Chip most every chance he gets. This Cleveland MC spits pretty tough bars, and blogs.
    His collaborations with Cudi have been golden.
    Listen to “T.G.I.F
  • Al Fatz: Before Cudi local buzz seemed to be pointing towards rappers like Chip and Al Fatz, (who collaborated on a mixtape) to put the Cleveland scene on the map, (check the Plain Dealer’s ’07 report on the city’s vibrant rap scene).

    Here’s a video for one of his early street hits:
  • The Kickdrums: The Cleveland duo are top-notch producers, check their bio here. The’ve put out several mixtapes, and produced this one for Ray Cash:

    Check out their Things Don’t Change! mixtape, here or here.
  • Idiot Savant: This is a Kickdrums side project, it could be termed ’emo-rap’, and features the solid rhyming skills of Verbal. You can download their latest project off their Myspace blog, here
    Here’s a youtubed track off the album:
  • Corey Bapes: This Cleveland youngster, via New Orleans, has a gritty rawness he could capitalize on. Check out his mixtape, 1st Semester via his Myspace. Here’s his “Bout my Dough,” video:
  • MGK: The initials stand for Machine Gun Kelly, not a bad name for a white rapper. Another youngster, he spits solid white-boy-in-the-hood raps. His web presence is serious. You can check him out here, here and here.
  • DJ E-V : Cleveland’s newest mixtape DJ and Internet dynamo. He’s the man behing Kid Cudi’s latest mixtape, “Dat Kid From Cleveland”, available here. It’s a good introduction for anyone tiring of Day ‘n Night. His “Bitch, I’m From Cleveland” mixtape series (cop-able, here does a good job representing the current crop of Cleveland-based hiphop artists.
  • Bone Thugs-N-Harmony: The group never topped it’s first album in my opinion. But arrests and mixtapes have kept them in the eye of dedicated fans.
  • It’s hard to tell whether or not Cudi’s rise to the top of the charts will bring Cleveland kudos on par with Bone Thugs heyday, but one thing’s for sure, the scene on a whole is growing in Midwest hiphop. I’m sure radio plays a part (or not), but the fact Lebron James has money in the local rap game adds to it, as does teammate Joe Beast’s promising (?) rap career.


One thought on ““…Shaker Heights” to “Transformers” Cudi and Cleveland Rap

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