If you’re reading this, you either like Kid Cudi, love him, or he saved your life.
No matter which way you look at it, 2020 has been full of surprises - most of them not being so good. However, one good thing that did happen was Kid Cudi blessing us with his new album. While Kid Cudi has clearly been active this year (ex. “THE SCOTTS” and “The Adventures of Moon Man & Slim Shady,” etc.), I don’t think many would’ve guessed that 2020 would be the year that he dropped the third and final album in the Man On The Moon Series.
Nonetheless, Man On The Moon III: The Chosen is out now. It also sounds like we could be getting another album as soon as January, called Entergalactic, and not to mention that collab project with Travis Scott...
MOTM3 is Cudi’s first solo album since 2016’s Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’. A lot has happened in Cudi’s life in the last five years. A year before Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’ he released Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven, which is Cudi’s worst received project to date and is one of the worst received projects (by a generally well-received artist) in recent years.
A couple of months before the release of Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’, he checked himself into rehab for his depression. The album’s rollout actually began while he was still in rehab, and was released after Cudi had been home for about a month. While Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’ was generally received, Man On The Moon III: The Chosen has already been widely acclaimed as one of his best and is doing much better sales-wise than his previous effort.
WHO WAS INVOLVED WITH THE PROJECT?
Production on MOTM3 is handled by many who you will find in the credits of Cudi’s other albums like Dot Da Genius, Plain Pat, Nosaj Thing, MIKE DEAN, Anthony Kilhoffer, and Cudi himself. Newer producers that have been making waves of their own also are found in the credits like FINNEAS, Take A Daytrip, WondaGurl, and FnZ, among others. Possibly due to the current pandemic situation that the world has been undergoing this year, this album has fewer features than any other Man On The Moon album. Trippie Redd, Skepta, Phoebe Bridgers, and the late Pop Smoke assisted Cudder on the new LP.
WHAT I LIKE
Going back to a very specific sound cannot be easy, especially after ten years. Kid Cudi’s first and second albums are a part of the Man On The Moon series. I don’t think that’s because he tried to make two albums with that sound - that’s just what sound he had at the time.
Now, he’s made a strong effort to return to that sound, with major updates in the production department. That’s not to say that the production on the first two installments is that dated, but obviously, it happens over time. If you’ve read anything online about MOTM3 then you don’t have to go far to find claims and conversations about Kid Cudi being influenced by Travis Scott, who he previously influenced.
Every artist is influenced by artists whether they consciously know it or not. Kid Cudi is the teacher as Travis Scott is the student. Travis has had enormous success in the past few years, he even got Kid Cudi his first Hot 100 #1 with “THE SCOTTS'' earlier this year. The two have gone from fans of each other to collaborators and now friends.
On Kid Cudi’s Apple Music interview with Zane Lowe, Cudi even says that the amount of rapping/bars on the album is directly linked to Travis’ advice. Basically, Cudi asked Travis what the kids wanted, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Without Travis Scott existing, would this album exist? We’ll never know. However, I think it would have existed without him.
Cudi has upped his adlib game on the album, which Travis Scott is widely known for. The sound, song structure, producers, etc. that are thanks to Travis Scott shouldn’t be frowned upon by diehard Cudi fans, because Cudi still made it all his own.
WHAT I DON'T
I have replayed this album so many times and I can honestly say that nothing about the album takes away from its enjoyment. Of course, the more listens, the more time there is to critique.
My only critiques of Man On The Moon III come from the collaborative efforts in the tracklist. To the hip hop world, the most recognizable features are Skepta and Pop Smoke, who are featured on “Show Out,” and Trippie Redd, who’s featured on “Rockstar Nights.” The only other feature is the indie-pop singer Phoebe Bridgers.
“Show Out” is a drill song with UK’s Skepta and the late New York artist Pop Smoke, who tragically lost his life at the beginning of 2020. I can appreciate that Cudi was having fun and really wanted his fans to hear him on a drill beat, but it doesn’t sound organic to me, and maybe that’s because I know that it’s not from the interview with Zane Lowe, as Cudi hopped on it long after Pop Smoke and Skepta had laid their parts.
“Rockstar Nights” has a sound similar to “Show Out” that I can’t quite explain. Both songs feel like they were made for a soundtrack for some reason. Like when you listen to a Fast & Furious soundtrack, you can tell what songs were made specifically for the soundtrack and what songs existed prior. This doesn’t mean these are bad songs, it just means that they have a hint of pop and a dabble of expectation, but they don’t take away from the album.
With that being said, this is the most I’ve enjoyed an album in a while. This album feels like it belongs in 2020 but it also makes me feel ten years younger. I’m happy that Cudi is happy and is excited about making music again. We’re really in for a treat if we’re getting multiple albums in 2021 from him. I believe that they’ll all be quality projects as well because we know he’s been in the studio crafting for years.
Not only because of himself, but the collaborators, producers, and engineers involved with this album also prove that Kid Cudi is one of the greats. They all brought their A-game to the table to create something truly special. The Man On The Moon series will live on forever even though it’s over now, and the story wasn’t tainted by anyone. The picture Kid Cudi was painting is complete - now it’s time to take a step back and take it all in.What are your thoughts on the new album? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to stream Man On The Moon III: The Chosen on all platforms now!