Kid CuDi announced through the airwaves of L.A.’s Power 106 radio that he’s decided to move on from Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music label.

I have mixed feelings about this decision.

On one hand, I don’t think anybody would deny that CuDi has fallen off the radar. He has taken a backseat to artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Meek Mill, Mac Miller, Joey Bada$$, Tyler/Earl, Action Bronson, Macklemore and others who have recently come up and made a splash in the hip hop (and for some, mainstream) community. Somewhere along the line, CuDi slipped on the Crisco-greased fame slope.

Since the ‘Man on the Moon’ package, CuDi worked with friend and producer Dot da genius on a rock-rap album titled ‘WZRD’. The album peaked at #3 on the U.S. Billboard 200, and #1 on U.S. rock and alternative billboards; but that is deceiving. Those peaks were most likely due to the hype surrounding CuDi after the success of Man on the Moon I & II, along with his successful 2008 debut mixtape A Kid Named CuDi.

After the release and initial wave of excitement that resulted in 66,000 first-week sales [Source 1], WZRD dropped from #3 to #34 on the U.S. Billboard 200 [Source 2]. Furthermore, with three and two star ratings from Allmusic and Rolling Stone respectively – it’s safe to say that the project wasn’t a success critically, nor in among the public.

It’s clear that something needed to change for the 29-year-old rapper. It seems like CuDi agrees with that, given the no-hard-feelings departure from Kanye’s label. He had to make a move, and he did – I applaud him for that.

He told Power 106, “We [him and Kanye] were talking on the phone the other day, and these are things I’ve been wanting to talk to him about – about me starting my own direction. And he got it, because he’s trying to start his new path –try new things as an artist. And he was just like, ‘man, I feel you. It’s cool, whatever.’”

But was it the right move? I’m nervous for CuDi. He’s undoubtedly talented. But he’s leaving, arguably, one of the best producers in hip-hop. In fact, WZRD, CuDi’s only disappointing record is the only one that wasn’t released under G.O.O.D. Music. Man on the Moon I – CuDi’s most successful album – was executively produced by Kanye.

To be fair, CuDi made quite the impression on West after appearing on “Already Home” off The Blueprint 3. West brought in CuDi to help write his popular 808s & Heartbreak. CuDi co-wrote “Heartless,” “Welcome to Heartbreak,” “RoboCop,” and “Paranoid” [Source 3].It’s clear that Kanye was inspired by CuDi – so the partnership went both ways. They helped each other – But that’s just it!

Can CuDi be successful on his own? That’s the burning question. After WZRD, I have my doubts.

Man on the Moon was a success because it related to adolescence – the lost, trying-to-find-his-way tone; along with smoking weed resonated with his crowd. Of course, it is much deeper than my brief description, but what I’m getting at is that CuDi could level with his listeners. But at 29-years-old, how is CuDi going to relate to his audience at this point in his career? I’m not saying he is fresh out of ideas and concepts, but I don’t know how he is going to surpass or meet the expectation that Man on the Moon will always be his shadow on the sidewalk. And now, he’s going to have to do it without the help of Kanye.

Indicud drops on April 23rd. It’s the last album under G.O.O.D. Music. This one is make or break, but even if successful, I’m afraid I’m more pessimistic this time around with the Cudder.

 Mixtape: A Kid Named Cudi (2008)

 Album: Man on the Moon I (2009)

 Album: Man on the Moon II (2010)

 Album: WZRD (2012)