Many Kid Cudi fans have been wondering where their hero went the past few years. After a few mediocre album releases, some internet drama, and a trip to rehab, we can confidently say that he has returned, and he’s finally brought us another quality project.

Passion, Pain, & Demon Slayin’ is Kid Cudi’s sixth studio album, and if you’ve already heard the singles “Frequency,” “Surfin’,” and “Baptized in Fire,” you know that this album was going to be a step in the right direction for Kid Cudi. Fans, of course, were hoping this album would be able teleport them back to 2010, when Cudi had released Man on the Moon 2: The Legend of Mr. Rager, and some tracks do exactly that (go listen to “Baptized in Fire” right now). Some tracks, however, do the exact opposite, and bring you back to present Cudi, which folks may like or dislike. I personally think this album is a perfect release for this point in Kid Cudi’s career. He has a solid selection of tracks that bring back to the late 2000’s nostalgia that we all needed, but also has tracks that show that Kid Cudi is still forward-thinking and that he’s growing with his music.

As soon as I saw the features and production credits for this album, I couldn’t help but have my expectation skyrocket. Travis Scott, Andre 3000, Pharrell, and even Willow Smith would be dropping the guest verses. Dope. As for the production, we get Dot da Genius and Plain Pat, who are two very important people to Kid Cudi fans, as they were heavily involved in Cudi’s first and best projects. They are accompanied by the genius minds of Mike Dean and Mike Will Made It, two already very well established producers in the hip hop world. And of course, Kid Cudi is executively producing the album too.

Very similar to Cudi’s Man on the Moon projects, this album is split up into specific acts and is focused on storytelling and emotion. Those who know Kid Cudi’s style know that he doesn’t necessarily focus on telling a story through his lyrics, but more so through the production and general aesthetic of the album. I won’t get too into the actual story that Kid Cudi tells on this album so you can experience it on your own, but do yourself a favor and give it a listen from start to finish, as the album is clearly a cohesive project and is meant to be listened to in that way.

After Cudi’s last release, Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven, which, honestly, was probably one of the worst albums I’ve ever heard, I prayed to the hip-hop gods that he would rebound. Kid Cudi is the main reason I got into rap back in 2008, and it was truly painful to not only watch him go through mental breakdown after mental breakdown, but to also have all of his fans violently lash out at him over social media. We’ve all been patiently waiting for Cudi to release Man on the Moon 3, the highly anticipated finale to the series that made us love him in the first place. With the release of Passion, Pain, & Demon Slayin’, it finally feels like that dream could become a reality.

Bottom line: Cudi is back and headed in the right direction. His true fans will love this album. 8/10.