“This is black emo rap”
A fine-tuned combination of Kanye West’s charisma and personality and OutKast’s eclectic persona perfectly describes Cleveland native KiD CuDi. Apart of XXL’s 2009 Freshman Edition, CuDi was joined by the likes of West Coast emcee Blu (who released the critically acclaimed Below The Heavens with beatmaker extraordinaire, Exile), the prolific machine Charles Hamilton and the DMV’s lyrical mastermind, Wale. CuDi stands out and is arguably the best act of the group as he embodies and exudes one of the most important aspects of music: innovation. After just missing the Grammy Awards deadline, KiD CuDi is geared up to release his debut album as he allows listeners a safe passage into the mind of the man on the moon.
Man On The Moon begins on a high note with “In My Dreams”, a somber (yet concise) look into the mind of Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi. “Dreams” comes to a dreamlike close with the legendary Common beginning narration duties as the dream and nightmare sequences that riddle this concept record begin. The album itself is divided into five acts (each narrated by Common) and acts as a space age, psuedo-biography of Mescudi’s life. Following Common’s initial duties is the heartfelt “Soundtrack 2 My Life”, a look into the adventures and trials that CuDi has faced including the death of his father, which he has yet to get over (“I’m super paranoid like a sixth sense/ Since my father died, I ain’t been right since / And I try to piece together the puzzle of the universe / Split an eighth of shrooms just so I could see the universe”).
Acting as an introduction and in-depth look into the mind of KiD CuDi (slightly influenced by with his weed-laced mindset), the initial act (The End of Day) concludes with “Simple As…” before Common steers the story into Act II: The Rise of The Night Tremors. The hauntingly piercing “Solo Dolo” sees CuDi’s versatile style taking over as he both raps and sings, relaying his self depreciation and self-pity before finding the inspiration to rise from amongst ruin on his very own theme music, “Heart of a Lion”. The conclusion of the Billy Craven-featured “My World” sees Common returning to lead the album into its third act, Taking a Trip. The “lonely stoner” follows up cult classic and initial single “Day ‘n’ Nite” with the epic sounds of “Sky Might Fall” as he continues to maintain the spacial theme through his debut, seeking to inspire listeners even when things are at their bleakest.
The fourth act, Stuck, consists of four cuts: “Alive”, “CuDi Zone” as well as followup singles “Make Her Say” and “Pursuit of Happiness”. The former two continue the spacial theme that takes place throughout the album, firmly entrenching the album with CuDi’s brilliant concept while the awe-inspiring “Pursuit of Happiness” concludes with a final narration from Common as we enter the final act of CuDi’s tale: A New Beginning. The album comes to an beautiful close with CuDi showcasing his rhyming abilities on “Hyyer” and bringing the album full circle with “Up Up & Away” as Scott Mescudi finally awakes from his dreamlike state of mind.
With Man On The Moon: The End of Day as his debut opus, CuDi has truly created a work of art and arguably, the best alternative album to be released for quite some time. “Make Her Say” may be the only misstep on the album. While it features Chicago’s own Kanye West and Common dropping some of their most deviant verses, CuDi’s hit single sticks out like a sore thumb. On the other hand, “Make Her Say” could be placed on the album intentionally so as to provide the album with a “break” so its eclectic soundscapes would not merge together and become redundant. Comparable to to the video game “Portal”, Man On The Moon: The End of Day is brilliant, nearly flawless and short enough to not overstay its welcome while also challenging enough to maintain interest. With his debut, KiD CuDi has released a near-classic piece of art while firmly establishing himself as a leader of the new school and building anticipation for the next ambitious installment in his Man On The Moon trilogy.
4.5 spins (out of 5)
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