Album Review: KiD CuDi – Man on the Moon: The End of Day

16 09 2009

Last year a new Hip Hop artist emerged with his breakthrough single “Day N Nite”. The sound of the track was innovative and unique, and it eventually got swagger jacked by the likes of Jim Jones and Jermaine Dupri. Listeners wanted to hear more of what Cudi has to offer besides his debut single. Then we were hit with his first mixtape, A Kid Named Cudi (click here to check it out). In traditional mixtape fashion, Cudi provided original material, and of course his rendition of popular songs like Gnarls Barkley’s “Who’s Gonna Save My Soul”, and “Spaz” by N.E.R.D.. The mixtape showed Cudi’s various musical aspects and summed up his lyrical style with this line “All I do is try to make it simple, the ones that make it complicated/Never get congratulated”
The mixtape caught the ear of Kanye West, which landed Cudi a deal on Ye’s GOOD Music imprint, and Universal/Motown Records. After working on album’s like 808’s & Heartbreak, acheiving popularity with his single “Day N Nite”, and being featured on many publications, Kid Cudi releases his debut album; Man on the Moon: The End of Day

4/5 – Astronomical
While most debut albums these days are full of features and/or have big named producers, Kid Cudi takes the opposite approach for his first album. To prove he doesn’t need to rely on collaborations, Cudi keeps his list of features limited working with indie band MGMT, Ratatat, Chip Tha Rapper, and of course Kanye West and Common on “Make Her Say”. He also applies a dream/space theme to the album and does an excellent job of sticking to the albums concept. The album is cleverly structured into five different “Acts”, which helps mold the albums vibe throughout the LP. As Cudi transitions from act to another, Common provides narration to describe what to expect from the next 3 to 4 songs.
To set the tone of the album, Cudi gets things started with his anthem, “In My Dreams”. He harmonizes over the smooth strings of the Emile track, welcoming listeners to his world. The intro alone is not like many other Hip Hop intro’s, letting the audience know right away to expect a sound out of the ordinary from The End of Day. The following track he switches things up, and drops one of the rare joints on the album where he is rapping. “Soundtrack of my Life” features Cudi pouring out his deepest thoughts and issues in a rap format. He flips Jay’s “99 Problems” hook with his opening bars:

I got, 99 problems and they all bitches/wish I was Jigga Man, care free living/But I’m not Shawn, or Martin Louis/I’m that Cleveland nigga rolling with them Brooklyn boys

Cudi continues to express his thoughts on the snare-less “Solo Dolo” about loneliness. Hip Hop artists typically deliver the opposite message in their music claiming they stay shuffling through different women, or stay with a crew; meanwhile Cudi speaks his mind about being alone. Though his music may be filled with emotion, Cudi appears confident on the “from nothing to something” track “My World” as he claims “this will be my world”. The piano and strings on the track give the track an orchestral vibe, meshed with a vocal sample that can be heard on Jay-z’s “Run This Town”. The production on “My World” sounds similar to Kanye West (it was actually produced by his affiliate Plain Pat), but Ye does appear on the production tip of “Sky Might Fall”.
“Sky Might Fall” is one of Man on the Moons highlights, with it’s Armageddon-like vibe making it suitable for action packed motion pictures (Cudi tried his best to get this added to the Transformers 2 trailer). The song was proceeded with the single “Day n Nite”, and is succeeded by the mandatory ladies track, “Enter Galactic (Love Connection)”, forming the third act on the album, “Taking a Trip”. The three tracks in that order make a dope phase for the album, and it gets even better with the next act, “Stuck”.
The “Stuck” act shows a content side of Cudi on “Cudi Zone” and even steps out of his realm of emotions and space on “Make Her Say”. “Make Her Say” is another standout track produced by Kanye West, and features a humorous play on words using Lady GaGa’s vocal sample for “Poker Face”. Common and Kanye appear on the second single with Cudi as they all deliver verses on fellatio. To wrap up the “Stuck” act, the psychedelic duo MGMT appear on the synthesized “Pursuit of Happiness”. To continue to separate himself from many other new hip hop artists, he channels his fears fame on this track instead of boasting about materialism on wax.
Cudi brings the album to an end on a high note with “Hyyerr”. The laid-back, soulful, track is ideal for a buddah break, but is also the perfect track to ride to. One thing that would’ve been even better on the track is collaborating with his fellow Cleveland natives, Bone Thugs. He continues to make odes to weed on the closing track “Up Up & Away”.
To bring this review to an end, Man on the Moon is the most creative debut since Lupe Fiasco’ Food & Liquor. The album’s concept is clever and executed nicely with the acts and the narration provided by Common. The album shows what all Cudi has to offer musically, which is a balance between Alternative music and Hip Hop, separating his music style from many other artists. Kid Cudi did as artists are supposed to do, and express themselves musically to their audience. His subject matter differs drastically from today’s Hip Hop artists, but at the end of the day he kept his music personal.



2 responses

10 12 2009

I gotta go get this joint!

14 12 2009
L The Hustla

Definitely, it’s a dope album.

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