KiD CuDi – Man On The Moon II: The Legend Of Mr. Rager [Review]

The highly anticipated sequel to Kid Cudi’s successful and very well done psychedelic Hip-Hop album Man On the Moon: The End Of Day has finally arrived. And many things have changed; Cudi’s pretty much a household name in Hip-Hop now, a couple weird concert appearances, and rumors of even quitting the rap game have surrounded Cudder since the release of his first album over a year ago. However, with this new entry in the Man On The Moon series now available, everyone is watching to see if Cudi becomes another victim of the sophomore jinx, or if this is a suitable follow-up to the original.

Scott Mescudi Vs. The World
Featuring Cee Lo Green; Produced by Emile, The Smeezingtons, & No I.D.
The introduction to the album starts off pretty quickly: Cudi’s rapping over a pretty dark with heavy drumming in the background. One thing I noticed immediately is that this album is already much darker than the original. While the original was dark already, this feels much more…raw, organic. Cee Lo adds the hooks to the track and fits very well  making a dark track much more uplifting with the violins in the background. It definitely is good to hear Cudi rapping again. Good introduction.

REVOFEV
Produced by Plain Pat & Mike Dean
The instrumental for this song is ridiculous. It’s dark, haunting, and pulsating with the drums in the background. I don’t necessarily like Cudi over the track, though. His wailing hook is pretty infectious yet lazy at the same time. The quick switch-up near the end with the organs in the background was very interesting too. okay song.

Don’t Play This Song
Featuring Mary J. Blige; Produced by Emile
I’m a little surprised this wasn’t a single. This sounds a lot more Cudi than “Erase Me”, not to mention Cudi’s flow on this is ridiculous. It sounds like he’s rapping about the rush of fame and the life he’s living now. Mary J. on the hook is helpful, but she’s too under-utilized for this to be considered an actual feature. Emile brings back the classic Cudi sound for a sure-fire hit.

We Aite (Wake Your Mind Up)
Produced by Emile & Plain Pat
The Emile/Plain Pat duo is back for this one. This song is much more of an interlude than an actual full song. It’s nothing more than just Cudi singing “We aite, aite…” again and again. The beat is pretty hypnotic and I wish this was longer because when the song was playing, I was really getting into it before it ended.

Marijuana
Produced by Dot da Genius, Kid Cudi, & Mike Dean
I couldn’t believe Kid Cudi actually made a song called “Marijuana”, but its awesome. This was one of the first songs I heard before the album was released and it got me very excited for the album. The production gets even darker and more melodic than previous tracks as Cudi lends his voice to the catchy song. Then there’s the guitar solo right in the middle not to mention Cudi’s flow at the beginning…this one is single-ready. “Pretty green bud, all in my blood…”

Mojo So Dope
Produced by Emile
This was another one of the first songs that leaked from the album before it was released. I really wasn’t too sure about the single that was chosen for this one. I thought the hook was kind of weird, but it grew on me the more I listened to it. This beat is cold as hell and Cudi’s rhymes aren’t bad but I prefer it when he flows quicker over his songs compared to a laid-back flow. He starts to speed it up over the second verse though which makes it a lot better. Great.

Ashin’ Kusher
Produced by Chuck Inglish
This is just straight Hip-Hop right here. This beat is hot as hell, word to Chuck Inglish for this one. Cudi’s flow is unbelievably hot:

“If you knew me man/You know I don’t care for a nigga trying’ to judge/Who are you, Judy?”

Still, while this one was nice, I don’t think the beat fit with the darker tracks on the album. But hey, a banger is a banger.

Erase Me
Featuring Kanye West; Produced by Jim Jonsin
I still don’t really know how I feel about this one. The hook to me is just okay.Kid Cudi’s singing on it is also okay, but again nothing special. What puts me off this song is that it’s so obviously pop, made for the radio, which in my opinion is against everything that made Kid Cudi’s first album so great. Kanye’s verse is pretty hot though, I’m not gonna lie.

Wild’n Cuz I’m Young
Produced by Emile & Plain Pat
This is basically the dark version of “Ashin’ Kusher”. It’s straight Hip-Hop flowing here, nothing less, but a much darker beat is behind it this time, courtesy of the great Emile/Plain Pat duo here. The hook is suspect and monotonous and Cudi’s flow, while vicious, is a little strange. It sounds like he ends in the wrong place or like he has more to say but cuts himself off. Besides these minor quirks, it’s a good song.

The Mood
Produced by Emile & No I.D.
Yeah, I wasn’t really feeling this one at all. It’s less than 3 minutes so it’s more of an interlude than anything. The hook is really lazy and Cudi isn’t saying anything at all on the track. SKIP!!

MANIAC
Featuring Cage & St. Vincent; Produced by Anthony Kilhoffer & Mike Dean
This is more like it. The beat on this continues the dark progression of the album, although it sounds a lot more scattered than the beginning of the album’s darker bits. Perhaps to show a downward spiral? Oh yeah, that’s another thing about this album I really miss: the concept! While the album is structured like a concept album, all of the songs are standalone and don’t tell a collective story. Still, I really liked this song. Cage’s verse was more appealing to me than Cudi’s, while St. Vincent sang a couple lines in the beginning before suddenly vanishing.

Mr. Rager
Produced Emile, No I.D., & Jeff Bhasker
This one sounds a lot like a mixture of “My World” and “Sky Might Fall” from the last album. He uses a slower flow on this one but the hook is very well done and infectious. Backed by another great beat by Emile, this was chosen as the second single for a reason: it’s a very good song.

These Worries
Featuring Mary J. Blige; Produced by Emile
This is a pretty forgettable song. The beat feels a continuation of “Mr. Rager” but not nearly as well done. I will give Cudi credit for the great hook thanks to the combined talents of Mary and himself. However, he’s not saying much of anything on this track at all. And the absence of a third verse is weird. Why didn’t Mary sing anything besides just the hook?

The End
Featuring GLC, Chip Tha Ripper, &Nicole Wray; Produced by Blended Babies
This is what I’m talking about! This song is very good. This is radio-ready yet hard at the same time. Nicole’s singing on the hook combined with this beat work perfectly. All three rappers on this track kill it. Great song. I especially liked Chip Tha Ripper, coincidental since I didn’t like his contributions to the last album.

All Along
Produced by Emile
Another cold beat with taiko drums and piano take control of this beat. While I enjoyed the instrumentation on this track, I don’t believe that Kid Cudi was the best fit for this one. His wailing “All along!” on the hook just doesn’t sound right to me. It doesn’t ruin the song but it also keeps it from its true potential.

GHOST!
Produced by Emile, Ken Lewis, & No I.D.
This instrumental is nothing less than amazing. Again, like the last song, Cudi just doesn’t seem to fit. It almost sounds like he’s fighting with the beat, shouting over it instead of actually singing. I want to like this song, and I do, but again, it could have been executed a lot better. Like I said though, amazing instrumentation. Especially at the end, when it reverts to just a single piano, and Cudi doesn’t have shout.

Trapped in My Mind
Produced by Dot Da Genius, Mike Dean, Kid Cudi, & Emile
OK, this one just doesn’t make any sense. This instrumental is amazing…but like the other two songs before it Kid Cudi almost ruins it. I think it’s more the effect that was put on his voice than his actual singing because the hook is still hot and unchanged (Especially when the guitar section comes in). It’s an alright way to end the album but I feel as though “All Along” would have made a much more suitable ending.

Bottom Line:
In the end, this album seemed pretty underwhelming compared to the first Man On The Moon. This album is like that one, but with more singing, no narration or concept (Despite the appearance of their being one), and overall darker production. In other words, it fit the description of the bigger and bloated sequel that usually follows every great standalone movie. There are 17 songs on this album and while I know that’s only two more songs than the first entry, this album feels a LOT longer. That feeling is mainly because there are so many parts of the album where the third verse is forgone for silence. However, this makes the album drag on for a bit around the middle and towards the end. In all honesty, while I enjoyed this album…I’ll probably only keep less than half of the 17 songs that were included on this album. Not as many songs stuck out to me as last time. It just doesn’t have that same complete smooth feel the first one had. This is still a good, above average album. But if you really enjoyed the first album and were looking for more of the same, you might be disappointed.

nappyPicks: “Scott Mescudi Vs. The World”, “Marijuana”, “Mojo So Dope”, “The End”, “MANIAC”, “Don’t Play This Song”

Download: KiD CuDi – “Maybe” [Bonus Track]

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