Kid Cudi returns to the moon

G.O.O.D. Music artist releases third Man On the Moon album.


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The Cover art for Kid Cudi’s “Man On the Moon III: The Chosen.” The art symbolizes the changes in Kid Cudi’s career since his first Man On the Moon album. The album was a pretty great way to end the series, and now Cudi will likely turn his focus towards “KIDS SEE GHOSTS 2.”

Carson Fox, Staff Reporter

It has been nearly three years since Kid Cudi came out with his album, with the critically acclaimed “KIDS SEE GHOSTS” collaborative effort with Kanye West. Before that, Cudi’s last solo effort was “Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin,” an album that wasn’t received very well by fans. He last touched the “Man On the Moon” trilogy in 2011, when he released the second installment of the series.

It has been a long awaited album, likely being the last album to be placed under the MOTM name. “Man on the Moon III: The Chosen” is split up into four acts, Act 1: “Return 2 Madness,” Act 2: “The Rager, The Menace,” Act 3: “Heart of Rose Gold” and Act 4: “Powers.”

After the intro skit, “Beautiful Trip,” Cudi comes out of the gate with one of the best songs on the album, “Tequila Shots.” With a modernized beat from DayTrip, Cudi continues the same synth vibe that he held on the first MOTM album. The song only gets better with the chorus of “can’t stop this war in me.” It was the perfect way for Cudi to open up the album. “Another Day” is another great track through the act, with him changing the tone of his voice from the higher pitch he used on the previous song to his trademarked low-tone voice. The production continues to be beyond incredible.

“She Knows This” is another vocal change. Going to the Kanye West “Yeezus” or “808s and Heartbreaks” approach for the hook. The album itself does a perfect job of blending modern elements with that older Kid Cudi and Kanye West sound. The final song of the act, “Dive,” slows it down a little… until the beat hits. Cudi begins to rip echoed vocals into the microphone over a faster paced beat. It clearly transitions the first act into the next one.

Act two opens up with the Travis Scott inspired “Damaged.” Cudi uses ad libs and pulls some pieces from Scott’s work, including using the popular “Yuh” sound. Even the vocals sound a lot like the soft tone Travis switches to sometimes. “Heaven on Earth” is a harder track, with him seemingly yelling in the opening verse, giving an angry tone to the track before switching to the psychedelic hook of the song.

This all leads to one of my favorite songs on the albu, “Show Out” with Skepta and the late Pop Smoke. It’s Cudi’s first try at a drill track, bringing two of the most prominent drill rappers onto the song. Pop Smoke brings a catchy hook, just simply throwing four syllables at a time over the beat. Skepta and Cudi deliver solid verses too, and it feels like a true drill track meshed with the outer space themes that are always brought to the MOTM trilogy. The second act is capped off by “Mr. Solo Dolo III.” The song feels like a callback to the earlier Kid Cudi, with a lot of styles from the first and second MOTM albums. It was the perfect way to close out the act.

Act three begins with “Sad People.” Cudi comes with a sadder tone on this album, using a sort of whine over the beat with a catchy hook and verse. The next song however, “Elsie’s Baby Boy (flashback),” is an incredible song. With a guitar backed beat, it feels like he was truly in his element on this song, and it gave a great breath of fresh air just when it seemed like the album might be starting to get stale. “Sept. 16” and “The Void” are both let downs, kind of repeating the same rinse and repeat recording method and vocal effects. Both songs also ran way longer than they should have. The outro to the act is “Lovin Me’ (feat. Phoebe Bridgers).” It’s probably as good of an outro as he could have had to the act, sort of feeling like a rebirth moment on the album, symbolizing Cudi’s transformation as an artist.

Act four was probably the worst act, holding the rough three track run with “The Pale Moonlight,” “Rockstar Knights” and “4 da Kidz.” The ending track to the act was great however, with “Lord I Know” wrapping up the album in a pretty solid way at the finish line, feeling like a moment of understanding by Cudi. 

The album definitely started off hot and sort of dropped off towards the end. Still, Cudi was able to keep the album interesting through almost an hour of runtime. It’s a solid 6.5 out of 10 but could have easily had a better rating if it had just cut out act four. The tape was still a solid way to put an end to the Man On the Moon series.