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Ian Walker 11/17/10 04:05 PM

Kid Cudi - Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager
Kid Cudi - The Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager
Record Label: Universal Motown / G.O.O.D. Music
Release Date: November 9, 2010

There are a lot of things I could say about Scott Mescudi, but it would be a bunch of wasted sentences and paragraphs. Better known as Kid Cudi, Mescudi has become something of a tour de force in today's music scene. This is mostly due to his debut album Man on the Moon: The End of Day. The eclectic mix of pop hits and trippy soundscapes helped to set him apart from the sea of young, attractive artists all looking to make it big. His presence, though, is mostly divisive in nature. I've yet to meet someone who doesn't either absolutely hate him or absolutely love him, which ends up being both positive and negative when it comes to making a name for yourself.

My problems with Cudi begin and end with how he executes his ambitious concepts. There's a real focus and passion behind his music that doesn't get enough credit in mainstream media. Unfortunately, he often lacks the faculty to bring these imaginative images to fruition. He always seems to be one or two steps behind an amazing musical experience. With Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager, it seems he's on the road to finding what works, with varying degrees of success.

Cudi often likes to confuse listeners. His lyrics flow along at a beautiful pace and sound amazing when matched with the instrumentation, but don't really carry any meaning in and of themselves. It's apparent that the words Cudi wrote are heartfelt and powerful, but it's mostly up to the listener to infer the deeper meaning through the constant stream-of-consciousness vocal style he uses. The track “Marijuana” is probably the best example of this. If the title wasn't much of a hint, the song is mostly about the narcotic. Sure, there are a few moments of self-assessment from the habitual user, but these are few and far between.

While a plethora of producers had their hand in the creation of Man on the Moon II, they all do a fantastic job of keeping the same atmosphere present throughout the whole album. No doubt the strongest part of any Cudi song, the expansive landscapes that lay down the foundation on each track flow and ebb beautifully. However, one track in particular breaks the mold in a good way. “Erase Me” is a fantastic piece of alternative rock that carries one of the catchiest choruses I've heard all year. While Cudi's voice isn't perfect, there's something unique and heartfelt behind the lyrics that makes it sound incredible when matched with the musical compositions.

It's tragic, but some of the best moments on Man on the Moon II come when Cudi takes a backseat. Cee Lo Green outshines the young artists in almost every way on the intro track “Scott Mescudi vs. The World,” lending his exceptional voice to both the choruses and backing vocals. St. Vincent and indie rapper Cage supply two very different voices to “MANIAC.” The former provides a very old-school sounding female presence to the beginning of the song, while the latter infuses a special brand of craziness that Cudi seems to be emulating throughout the release. And probably the best feature on the album, Kanye West lends a verse to the aforementioned “Erase Me,” full of enough classic Yeezy flair to make the track a definite stand out.

I think it's safe to say Scott Mescudi still has a bit of work to do. As Kid Cudi, he's frequently invited us into his mind to take part in his own unique brand of madness. Sadly, it's a trip I'm not inclined to take too often. Cudi is, without a doubt, terribly ambitious. But I think he's beginning to overstep his limitations. Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager is a huge step forward compared to Cudi's catchy yet altogether disappointing debut, but still lacks enough substance to be interesting through repeated listens.

Track Listing1. Scott Mescudi vs. The World
3. Don't Play This Song
4. We Aite (Wake Your Mind Up)
5. Marijuana
6. Mojo So Dope
7. Ashin' Kusher
8. Erase Me
9. Wild'n Cuz I'm Young
10. The Mood
12. Mr. Rager
13. These Worries
14. The End
15. All Along
16. GHOST!
17. Trapped in My Mind

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ItsTheBrent 11/17/10 04:32 PM

I agree completely. The production on this album is great, but lyrically, CuDi falls flat for me.

blissfulrain 11/17/10 04:48 PM

Did not like this album at all.

brook183 11/17/10 05:56 PM

only song that i didnt really like was "the end." first track and "ashin kusher" are so fantastic

Ryan Gardner 11/17/10 09:15 PM

Good review. Huge letdown for me.

guitarman2189 11/17/10 09:26 PM

I agree with many points made.

I must second that the most notable tracks on this album are the ones featuring a collaboration.

I feel like he could have done a better job with the order of the tracks as well.

I believe Cudi could have done a better effort.

weworemasks 11/18/10 01:07 AM

best/only good songs:

scott mescudi vs the world, all along, trapped in my mind, mr. rager, GLC's verse in "the end."

feedingthefoxes 11/18/10 01:24 AM

ugh, everyone hates on this album.
I feel like it's awesome.
And no one likes The Mood? Man that song ruuuuules

HometownHero 11/18/10 01:24 AM

Lyrics and vocals should be much lower. I like Cages verse on MANIAC and the St. Vincent sample. Cee-Lo's part was also good. Otherwise its pretty bad. Some good beats though.

cubine 11/18/10 01:51 AM

favorite track on the album is marijuana, but i understand what you're saying about his lyrics being vague. that song just perfectly simulates how i feel when i'm high (which i don't enjoy all that much) and i haven't ever found another song that does.

M.Lee 11/18/10 01:52 AM

I definitely agree with the point you made about Cudi having amazing ideas that work in theory, but he runs in to problems bringing them to his music. Also for me, "Erase Me" was the best song on this album; Cee-Lo clearly shined too.

Mochem 11/18/10 02:27 AM

I heard this wasn't too great, but I loved the first album and you say this is a huge step forward...

N. Hall 11/18/10 03:47 AM

I'm addicted to "Erase Me" and I love "MANIAC", but otherwise a huge disappointment.

drudo182 11/18/10 05:08 AM

More I listen to this the more I dig it. Some really strong tracks on this one.

brandon_260 11/18/10 05:28 AM

Album really let me down, but Erase Me is one of my favorite songs of the year. Wild'n Cuz I'm Young on the other hand is on of my least favorite songs ever