REVIEW: Kid Cudi – Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager
by Winston "Stone" Ford
“Hide the pain with some pussy and mimosas”
– Kid Cudi, Wild’n Cause I’m Young
I’ve always been a champion of what Kid Cudi stood for. When The Cleveland rapper came onto the scene in 2008, I immediately defended him as the future of hip-hop, the antithesis of the Black male stereotype. Recent stats say that Black male depression is severely under reported, having kids like Cudi in the mainstream might help Black dudes can come out the shadows and find help for their depression.
And there is no doubt Kid Cudi needs to do the same, cause there is no doubt this brother is depressed.
While his 2009 debut might have been a misguided mainstream attempt, his followup is decidedly more mature, and more cohesive. Gone are the hipster collaborations, replaced by brooding production from his stable of great producers like Plain Pat, Emile, and NO ID. What resulst is an album that tells a story much better than his Common-narrated debut ever could.
The dark brooding tone of the record is evident from track one, as Cudi copes with his record success and downfall. The album, like his life, plays out like a True Hollywood Story, with his blatant descriptions of party, sex, and drug use.
But instead of repenting, Cudi embraces it. On tracks like Cocane (where he brags about how his hit Day and Night gave him more scrilla to purchase more coke) Cudi flips the trap game braggidocio, glorifying his lifestyle while sulking in it in the same time. With acts like Soulja Boy getting caught with blow, we’re definitely entering a new era of hip-hop, where the bubble of a bong (Snoops’s Gin and Juice) has been replaced with nose sniffs of white powder.
Like his debut, Cudi successfully cradles the sound of hip-hop and indie rock, yet now it’s evident that he’s fully embracing the latter. His latest single, Mr Rager sounds like a more urban MGMT track, while REVOEV embraces past collaborators Ratatat without the Brooklyn duo anywhere in sight.
Not all is lost for hip-hop fans. “The End” throws back to the Pharcyde era of paranoid hip-hop, and might be the best beats of the year. But the best part of album is that it has no mainstream value. No bubbly pop songs. No star-filled collabos. Just Cudi in a one man show.
So is this a worthy followup? Indeed. Mr Rager is a timely summary of a tumultuous filed year for the artist, filled with drug induced rages, unabashed interviews, and rapper beef. Let’s just hope Mescudi channels his depression into more productive avenues in the future.