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"Man On The Moon II: The Legend of Mr Rager"

Kid Cudi – Man On The Moon II: The Legend of Mr Rager
18 November 2010, 11:00 Written by Antonio Rowe

Kid Cudi’s The Man On The Moon: The End of Day was a brillant display of rap at it’s most introspective. The album was a loosely-based concept/character study of his several emotional states, with Mr Mescudi using the 16-track LP as a practice of self-therapy – each track depicting one of many Cudi’s said emotions; Solo Dolo showed the Cleveland born rapper’s creppy, social outcast side, where ‘Enter Galactic ( Love Connection Part I)’ introduced his romantic ladies man ego. While some may consider this autobiographic lyrical apporach a tad self-indulgent and esoteric (after all many only know of him for the ubiquitous Crookers remix of his breakthrough hit Day n’ Nite), it reinforced the emo-rap foundations West laid down with his polarising 808′s & Heartbreak, which has in turn led the way for Drake and no doubt the impending wave of near future rappers who’ve become in touch with their ‘feelings’.

And with his sophmore effort Man On The Moon II: The Legend of Mr Rager Cudi doesn’t retire from this honest, no- topic- is- off- limits method when writing his verses. If anything, here the listener is delving deeper into the neurotic, endorphine-famished mind of Scott Mescudi - a vast emotional and overtly melancholic wasteland where solitary and anti-social thoughts are present. See ‘ These Worries’ where he tackles supposed loved-ones who are pleading with him to give up on his various habits – these aren’t shoruded in a cloud of mystery - with the suspicious samples of someone snorting narcotics being inserted at choice moments within the track. It’s all quite striking when matched with the words stated below and a decent soulful/dramatic contribution from Mary J Blige:

‘I’m tired of motherfuckers saying that they’re worried about me’

‘ When in fact they probably never even gave a fuck about me’

Like’s it predecessor the album is split up into 5 acts; The World I am Ruling, A Stronger Trip, Party On, The Transformation and You Live & You Learn’. Cudi resumes in telling his concept/ autobiography however this time the album focuses on the highs and lows of fame. But for reasons unknown the narrative excerpts that were voiced by Common in the previous effort have being scrapped. More slights changes like the aforementioned have also happened, mentor Kanye West is now absent from production credits, and only leaves his mark on single ‘Erase Me’ via a guest verse. Instead, his work relationship with producer Dernest Emile (D’Mile) is the catalyst for these inventive yet distinctly hip-hop beats, Emile was responsible for the more darker moments of his debut, which is probably the predomintary reason why this LP feels like it subsides in the dark depressive recesses of Mescudi’s mind.

Future single ‘Mr Rager’ is a song that completely encompasses this electronic sombre sonic – the track opens with the unsettling partnership of spiky beats and the eerie words:

”I’m off on an adventure”

”I’m on my way to heaven”

May not sound so hair-raising when read back on your monitor screen, but when spoken in Cudi’s melancholy tone it’s undeniably convincing. Although his sound relies highly on artificial instruments, they’re signs of diversification, with the guitar being used to give some songs a punk -pop edge, and there’s the punchy reggae chord progression that’s present in ‘REVOFEV’ that’s a welcome surprise.

Although this is definitely not your typical hip-hop album, it does stick to the convention of having collaborations. There’s 6 of them. From St Vincent to Chip Tha Ripper to Cee Lo Green there all here. Although thankfully he subverts the second convention of collaborations on a hip-hop album, with all of the guest features being enjoyable and more importantly purposeful, with each adding something to the track. A special mention for the St Vincent and Cage collaboration MANIAC that proves rap can be ethereal with it’s blurred out, background mutterings.

To return to an earlier point, the finale ’Trapped In My Mind’ appears to be a turning point for the LP and Cudi’s outlook on life with the song’s beats and lyrics beairng tints of optimism:

”I’m trapped in my mind”

”I know it’s crazy”

”Hey it’s not that bad after all”

Whether or not this new-found sense of optimism means light shall overrun darkness on album 3 depends on how Cudi handles 2011 (Late 2009 to right now was full of controversies; from violent misunderstandings with fans, to drug offences and the sudden evaporation of the idea of supporting Lady Gaga on tour). But what’s already set in stone is the musical genius of the lonely stoner, Kid Cudi, with there not being one duff track present. Yes it’s a trip, and not an easy one at that, but one that the listener will reap the rewards for taking.


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