Kid Cudi – Man on the Moon: The End of Day
Release Date: September 15, 2009
Record Label: Dream On/G.O.O.D./Universal Motown
Scott Mescudi has had an impressive start to his hip hop career. More famously known as Kid Cudi, the Cleveland-turned-Brooklyn MC has been backed by Kanye West and Common, released the well-received mixtape A Kid Named Cudi, and made a name for himself by appearing on and co-writing some tracks on West’s 2008 album, 808s and Heartbreaks. In fact, many believe him to be West’s protégé. And with his debut album, Man on the Moon: The End of Day, Cudi realizes some of that potential. But it is also apparent that he still has some work to do before he can start interrupting Taylor Swift speeches.
Despite all the early success, Cudi isn’t happy. He is conflicted, and Man on the Moon: The End of Day is his own personal therapy. The ambitious five-part concept album travels through the dark thoughts in Cudi’s head, thus earning the awful label of “emo-rap” from some people.
Paced by Common’s narration along with stellar production from (the underrated) Emile Haynie, West, Ratatat, and others, Kid Cudi invites you into his mind. The atmospheric opening track “In My Dreams (Cudder Anthem)” has Cudi envisioning the perfect world in his dreams before transitioning into “Soundtrack 2 My Life,” where Cudi immediately lets you know that he has “99 problems/and they all bitches.” With Emile’s stunning production setting the pace, Cudi reveals his personal issues and fears.
The hauntingly dark “Solo Dolo (Nightmare)” takes on the “less is more” approach, as strings and staccato keys pace the track. While the music is scarce, it encompasses the listener, giving focus to Cudi’s nightmares. “Heart of a Lion (Kid Cudi Theme Music)” is vibrant, as confidence exudes from Cudi’s pores this time.
“Sky Might Fall” is thickly layered with heavy synths and drum machines, as Cudi’s flow picks up the pace a bit. One of the flaws throughout the album is Cudi’s inconsistent flow. Sometime he is on fire, other times he’s incredibly boring. He also swings and misses on single “Make Her Say,” a track that feels incredibly out of place while also displaying the worst lyrics heard on Man on the Moon.
Another bummer is the first of two Ratatat-produced tracks, “Alive.” Other than sounding like a Red Hot Chili Peppers hip hop b-side, the hook never grabs you and comes off very disappointing. Thankfully, Cudi and Ratatat find redemption (with the help of MGMT) on the latest single, “Pursuit of Happiness.” Armed with a killer hook and laced with a pristine collaboration of different genres definitely makes this track a keeper. The upbeat and sunny “Up, Up, & Away (The Wake and Bake Song)” definitely has a MGMT vibe as the song’s content gives the impression that Kid Cudi has conquered some of his demons throughout the course of The Man on the Moon: The End of Day, but as Common narrates at the end, more challenges await the kid from Cleveland, thus introducing the theme for Cudi’s next album.
While there are some definite flaws heard on Kid Cudi’s debut (inconsistent flow, some trite/immature lyrics, and some lackluster beats), Man on the Moon: The End of Day is still a stand out in the hip-hop community, as well as all music, this year. Cudi brings a style not heard by many hip-hop artists in the mainstream today, and he has does a fine job of balancing swagger with his insecurities, making him someone a lot of us can relate to. The emotional ebb and flow of Man on the Moon is enough to bring in listeners, while the outstanding production will keep them hooked. So how much higher can this man on the moon reach? We’re about to find out, because Kid Cudi’s spaceship is about to take off.
definitely contender for hip hop album of the year. currently i have this and the blueprint 3 up there. still waiting on the new Wale and Drake (if he makes in this year) finally some good hip-hop coming out.