Cudi’s Man on the Moon Trilogy Comes to a Satisfying Conclusion

The long-awaited final installment of the Man on the Moon trilogy is finally upon us after 10 years since Man on the Moon, Vol. II: The Legend of Mr. Rager was released worldwide. Scott Mescudi, known professionally by his stage name Kid Cudi, is a rapper/singer and songwriter born in Cleveland, Ohio. Over the course of three albums, Cudi tells a story of the battle between himself, depression, drug usage, and everything in between. While the first two albums (releasing in 2009 and 2010) had a very distinct and unique sound, Man on the Moon III: The Chosen is an expertly curated project. This album ties the trilogy together with the same mind-warping production and relatable lyricism that originally gained Cudi his popularity. The 18-track album, which released December 2020, has already gained widespread praise for very closely matching its predecessors a whole decade later.

Kid Cudi has kept fans waiting for ten years, but unlike other rappers, he knew this project would take a long time to complete and he didn’t tease his fans with fake dates on the album drop. His goal was to tell stories in his songs and lyricism. Because he wanted to replicate the quality and production of Man on the Moon ll, the same producers and team returned for the final installment of the trilogy. After a brief 30-second reintroduction back into the world of MOTM, the first full track on the album, “Tequila Shots,” produced by Dot Da Genius and Take a Daytrip, is extremely strong and promising. In this explosive opening, Cudi addresses his conflicts head on throughout each verse. Earlier this year, Cudi’s collaboration with Houston rapper Travis Scott on The Scotts very quickly reached number one on the charts. In an interview conducted by Complex, the two producers behind “Tequila Shots” said that the song was created as a celebration of The Scotts reaching number one. After realizing that the sound of “Tequila Shots” was very reminiscent of previous MOTM projects, Cudi stated that the project really started to evolve into what we know now as Man on the Moon III. 

Tracks three and four, “Another Day” and “She Knows This”, followed in the same footsteps of “Tequila Shots” with the same trap-drum heavy production. Both songs were of high quality and are sure to become fan-favorites. However, tracks five through eight were definitely the weaker links of the chain. On “Dive” and “Damaged”, Cudi’s famous “hums” don’t do much to help out the hollowness of the production and lyrics. “Heaven on Earth” has a generic trap beat and forgettable lyrics and fails to stand out among the other songs. “Show Out,” featured a posthumous verse from Pop Smoke, the recently deceased New York rapper. As soon as the familiar drums and gritty electronic beat begin, it feels identical to any other Pop Smoke song. The energy, speed and voice he used in his verses were all indifferent and arguably predictable to previous releases. While we understand why it could be considered a good track among fans of Pop Smoke, for us the song was unappealing.

After what is arguably the lowest point in the album, songs like “Mr. Solo Dolo lll”, “The Void”, “4 da Kidz” and “Sad People” were heavily reminiscent of the original MOTM album. The familiarity of the space-sounding production, the hums and a more laid back approach to rapping all work in Cudi’s favor. Long-time fans will appreciate these tracks, as they are truly worthy of appearing on the final installment of the trilogy. The last track on the album, “Lord I Know,” ends off the project on a high note with a fantastically produced trap beat, similar to the intro. It’s a very solid ending to a long awaited album, one that was certainly worth the wait. And right as the final song is coming to a close, a voice can be heard whispering, “To be continued…”. It’s unclear if this means another Man on the Moon album is coming or not, but it most likely means that Cudi is in a better place mentally, and he plans to continue releasing music for his fans. 

 

Final Verdict:

Noah: 8.5/10 – Very good

Tyler: 8/10- Meaningful and impactful