Kid Cudi’s Follow-Up

by Lauren Tischler

It is safe to say that hip-hop prodigy Scott Mescudi, better known as Kid Cudi, has a lot going for him. His debut album Man on the Moon: The End of Day sold 104,419 copies in the span of a week, he stars in HBO’s “How to Make it in America,” and has collaborated with hip hop greats such as Common and Kanye West. The rapper, singer, and actor is on the top of his game after a few short years, and the much awaited release of his newest album Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager tells us he’s not stopping anytime soon.

Considering the amount of success that Kid Cudi’s breakthrough album had in 2009, it was instantly obvious that the follow-up had to meet some high expectations. Whether the album meets these standards is debatable. The album opens with the rapper crooning promising lyrics. “You are now in the world I am ruling,” he expresses, followed by a soulful chorus sung by Gnarls Barkley’s Cee-Lo Green. The song is seemingly a prelude to an album that we believe will be somewhat like Cudi’s first work: refreshing and youthful. What follows, “REVOFEV”, meets our anticipations with a mysterious, psychedelic drum beat and instrumental track.

While the first two tracks of Man on the Moon II are convincing, the rest of Kid Cudi’s album proves to be wary. The tracks are unmemorable and seem to blend together as the album progresses. “Don’t Play this Song” is a dull composition with monotonous lyrics, and while Mary J. Blige is featured on the track, even she fails to impress. “MANIAC” featuring St. Vincent and Cage, and “Erase Me” with Kanye West again prove that even an impressive line up of guest vocalists does not attribute considerably to success of any kind on Cudi’s album.

Although Man on the Moon II is not Kid Cudi’s most outstanding work, it shows us a side of the artist we have not seen in his earlier music. Since Kid Cudi’s first album, he has become a father to a little girl named Vada and has been arrested for criminal charges and drug possession. The artist has also, in the past year, opened up about a heavy cocaine addiction. Though we should not hand Cudi a free pass because of these trials, it is unquestionably a factor to be taken in when considering his newest album. Man on the Moon II is blatantly dark and exemplifies these problems in Cudi’s life. This effect can be seen, for example, in “Wild’n Cuz i’m Young”. Kid Cudi speaks of how his father’s smoking and drinking habits influenced him over an eerie synth line. “These Worries” is another cryptic narrative. The album closes with “Trapped in my Mind”, and while the track is not catchy or noteworthy, Cudi’s lifeless delivery provides a surprisingly fitting conclusion to the album.

So despite the fact that Kid Cudi’s new album won’t be perpetually blasting from my stereo in contrast to his early release, it serves another purpose. Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager introduces us to an intimate artist named Scott Mescudi, rather than the pop culture icon Kid Cudi we know and see everyday.

Kid Cudi – Scott Mescudi vs. The World (ft. Cee-Lo Green)

Kid Cudi – REVOFEV

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  1. Kid Cudi’s on an upward track because he knows his own limitations and chooses to work with the best (Common, Kanye, Cee-Lo, etc.). This is the same way West gained prominence, and his best work is still collaborative.

    Kid Cudi’s recognizing his limitations and his new work, appropriately and ironically, is for the best because of it.

  2. great post Lauren. I’m not a huge Cudi fan but both of these tracks have some great beats. I definitely see the artistic growth from his last album… my prediction from this is that his next one will be his best

  3. Sorry to disagree, but this album is horrible.. I am a huge fan of Cudi, even with his (faults?).. And yet, with every resource available, this album feels like a sophomore effort in every sense of the word. Why? Kanye’s album is incredible.. The difference is that Cudi is a rapper, and West is an all around rapper/producer/creative director).. I think you need to understand pop structure to have a solid “ALBUM”.. “Legend of Mr. Rager” is on par with “Dat Kid Cudi”… It’s an awesome mixtape with clever lyrics and good beats.. Most people think that’s all you need. I agree that with this album, he sought darker beats, and they are good beats. Tony Wilson said it best..
    “There are those things called ‘cocaine albums’, which are pieces of absolute s***. Cocaine is a great destroyer of creative talent.”

    Fingers crossed for the next one, Cudi.. May it be the Bext one.. =) (p.s. I haven’t done shit, so this is just an opinion.. I can’t do what he does.. )

  4. some great points Ryan. there’s no denying this guy’s talent, but when a team of producers is essential toward an album’s final result it becomes difficult to spot artistic growth. you can hear it on some songs here, particularly the first two, but beyond that many of them seem like cheap swipes at commercial airtime.

    as you said, cocaine can indeed be a destroyer of talent, but it is no excuse for a quality musician to not create a good album when they are on it. this is the difference between a musician like Kanye and a performer like Cudi, as you said. there are plenty of great albums produced under the influence of cocaine or heroine (namely many Suede albums and Brit-pop albums of the day), and – while the artists had to deal with the health repercussions eventually – there was never a point during their peak where drugs overcame their commitment to music. it only added to their genuinely dark or unique sound. personal issues overlapping into music can provide insight, but when it gets to the point of incoherency and desperation you see the potential cause of a poor “cocaine album”, as Tony Wilson said. when your life is driven by a drug, it is driven by the money required to obtain that drug. and when you’re in that situation, you’ll do anything for money… including rushing a follow-up for some quick cash. I hope that wasn’t the case here, but some would argue it is

  5. Does anyone else think that Kid Cuddi is a little “out there”? His music can sometimes be catchy, but his content can be a little weird. I’m not knockin’ the dude but I’m not really loving his music either…

    Terrell Lamont

  6. Kid Cudi’s second album should be a hit! His songs not only are catchy, but they mean something. The same cannot be said about many album releases these days. Kid Cudi is not just an artist; he is a poet. Great Stuff!

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