The Score: Kid Cudi, "Man On The Moon II: The Legend Of Mr. Rager"

Wednesday, Nov 10, 2010 3:00PM

Written by J. Bachelor

Buy Now
  • Man On The Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager
  • Kid Cudi
  • November 9, 2010
The Consequence of Sound 3.5/5
All Music 4.5/5
Slant 4.5/5
Rolling Stone 2.5/5
Spin 8/10

Controversial rapper/singer Kid Cudi's second album, Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager lands in stores today.

The first of two G.O.O.D. Music November releases is a 17-track disc divided into 5 acts.

"Man on the Moon: The End of Day," the 2009 debut album by Scott Ramon Segring Mescudi, a k a Kid Cudi, presented the Cleveland rapper came as the hip-hop answer to Pink Floyd, a lonely stoner adrift on the dark side of the moon. On the sequel, "Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager", Cudi crooned a bit, rapped a little more, and oozed dazed melancholy, if not despair. As hip-hop existentialists go, Cudi had the top tier all to himself. (Chicago Tribune)

Cudi looked outside of his affiliation for collaborations, including a vocal cameo from a popular fellow rapper/singer.

Enhanced by Cee Lo's stunning chorus, the album opens with "Scott Mescudi vs. the World," a track which sets the stage for conflict immediately with the opening bar, "What up?/How's everyone doing?/You're now in a world I'm ruining." The track's thumping beat sets a musical tone which is felt throughout, but it's the young MC's confusion and struggles which push the album to its full potential. The hollow beat in "Wild'n Cuz I'm Young" only goes to reflect the emptiness portrayed through the lyrics, Cudi speaking of his late father's habits being passed down to him. Sampling St. Vincent's ominous "The Strangers," "Maniac" finds Cudi appropriately joined by underground MC Cage/ whose 2009 release wholly focused on "exorcising demons." (Culture Bully)

A varied array of beat-crafters contributed to Cudi's rage.

Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager, the sequel to The End of Day, is a revelation, boldly reshaping Cudi's sound -- with vivid production by Emile, Plain Pat, the Cool Kids' Chuck Inglish, Jim Jonsin, Diplo, and others. The album's narrative (yes, there is one this time, and it mercifully does not involve a Biography Channel voice-over by Common!) follows an idealistic artist who gets trapped in hip-hop's make-it-rain imaginarium and emerges a predictably stupefied casualty. The dizzy friction between rap's grasping for control and rock's desire to lose it entirely give Cudi's confessions a dicey, volatile edge. (Spin)

Cudi wanted his second effort to be represented as authentically as possible.

"I wanted this album to be fun, but the dark sh*t was my life at that time [when I made 'Erase Me.'] I was fighting not to write that sh*t. It got frustrating writing a collab album--I just lost interest, and it became more of a task, rather than something I wanted to do. That's not how it's supposed to feel. The day it becomes work, you need to retire...'Erase Me' was fun as f*ck to make, but it's just different. It was me f*cking around, just to show people I can do whatever. That's my main goal now, just to show people no matter what I do, I'm going to make sh*t that's in good taste. Might not be your cup of tea, but it's going to be authentic; it's not going to be forced. When I made ['Erase Me'], I was like, 'This beat sounds fresh as h*ll, I want to do some rock sh*t'--and I did it. I came up with that sh*t in 30 minutes. I was feeling it, and then I was like, 'This sh*t ain't Cudder, it's just me f*cking around, let me stop bullsh*tting." (Complex)

While some critics praise Moon II as the emphatic score to Cudi's roller-coaster life, others viewed the LP as an unfocused work artist who hasn't reached his full potential.

I think it's safe to say that Cudi is on his way to... something. It's clear he isn't the greatest rapper (like I had thought) and he fancies himself a true rocker (who would've thought?). But with a few simple and appealing beats, some well-timed cameos, a dash of humor, and a handful of semi-inventive rhymes with emotional substance, he actually made an album that flies (more or less) high. (Consequence of Sound)
But really, while there's emotion and substance to this disc - as I wouldn't expect anything superficial from Cudi - I'm not sure he took enough time to process the last year of his life. He only put out his first album a little over a year ago, and this album feels incredibly unfocused and lost at sea compared to The End of Day. I'm not sure Cudi knows where all of his problems and drug use took him and where he's going now, and it really shows in the self-loathing that pervades this disc and makes for a chill, but not-so-fun listening experience. Maybe this will end up being Cudi's Pinkerton down the line, but I'm really just not that impressed. It's good and all, but not nearly as great and I don't feel it will live up to the high expectations Cudi fans will have for it. (411 Mania)

Will you buy Man On The Moon II? What about Joe Budden's new release? (Read what critics think about Mood Muzik 4: A Turn 4 The Worst)

To purchase Man On The Moon II, just click here.

Preview music from the album below:

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