A Look Back – Revisiting Kid Cudi’s “Man on the Moon II”

Photo by J. Rivera from Wikimedia Commons.

Frequent collaboration with Travis Scott, Kanye West and a multitude of other members of Kanye’s record label allowed prolific artist Kid Cudi to maintain a modern sound and a degree of popularity beyond his own cult following. Given the peak of his popularity between the 2000s and early 2010s, it becomes worth questioning whether his sound still gives listeners the earworms it used to.

The artist-christened Scott Mescudi has several critically acclaimed albums that received adoration from fans in prior years, though there’s one that catches more eyes than most –  2010 debut release “Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager.” 

What especially sticks out about this album’s composition is its unique approach to the hip-hop genre. Choir samples and rock influence are certainly nothing new, though the sort of harmony that Cudi delivers on this album, and practically every other under his name, proves both unique and unparalleled. 

This distinction is due in large part to the ad-libbed humming and synchrony that have become a staple of Cudi’s music. It’s an aspect most visible even on his most popular songs, including the prior album’s most popular single, “Day ‘n’ Nite,” where he can be heard delivering what equates to an entirely new layer of instrumental prowess in between the chorus.

Another of the elements that result in Cudi’s claim to fame consists of the rollercoaster of variance between the tone of his songs. Listeners can be delivered to new heights with the euphoric melody of songs like the titular “Mr. Rager” before being met with a sharp reality check via the introspection of tracks including “GHOST!” and “Don’t Play This Song,” featuring Mary J. Blige’s heartfelt vocals.

Although the album’s sonic distinction speaks for itself, Mescudi has garnered widespread fame for the openness with which he discusses his ongoing struggle with mental health. He makes it no secret that such struggles have bogged him down before, but the continuity and success of his career makes it abundantly clear that he strikes a chord with listeners worldwide.

“Man on the Moon II” is an album that holds strong to this day, one that listeners can tune into for that sense of comfort and nostalgia in the exact same way they experienced it 11 years ago. It’s for this reason that Kid Cudi’s music still resonates with fans today – and a large part of why his releases have maintained similar consistency throughout a career spanning over a decade.

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