Kid Cudi – Man On The Moon II: The Legend Of Mr. Rager
by Mel Bertoldi (Journalism, Italian), published November 16th 2010
“I dream reality is my dream,” states the admittedly troubled Cleveland native, Scott Mescudi (aka Kid Cudi) on “All Along,” a track from his second album, Man On The Moon II: The Legend Of Mr. Rager. As its title suggests, Cudi’s latest release does loosely follow his path from his first album, The End Of Day, to facing his own identity on this one, but more importantly, it speaks to the issues facing Generation Y in an unconventional way: by having Cudi talk about his own battles.
All that self-absorption is more than enough to bring even his biggest fans to grow irritated, but it’s the role of devil’s advocate that Cudi plays best here.
While his colleague and boss over at GOOD music is prepping the release of an album (namely, Kanyesus and his forthcoming My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy) that pulls out all the stops- both topically and genre-wise-, Cudi’s delivery instead rests upon simplistic drum beats and taunting choruses.
For reading purposes, I’ve divvied up the most notable of Mr. Rager‘s 17 tracks by categories: those that are self-glorifying/too-cool-for-school, songs that remind us of Cudi’s unresolved issues, songs for the fans, and sing-alongs.
First up are self-glorifying tunes. This summer’s pop-rock-inspired single “Erase Me” (featuring Kanye) does nothing for me except remind me how rich and famous Cudi’s gotten. He wines about an ex who can’t get him off the mind, thanks to his fame- or something like that. Surprisingly, even Kanye’s verse underwhelms. The one “too-cool-for-school” tune I really enjoy is “Scott Mescudi Vs. The World” (featuring Cee Lo Green), which reintroduces Cudi and his demons while offering a taste of the robotic-like percussion the rest of II has to offer.
As for songs that remind us of Cudder’s unresolved issues, they include the drugged-out, elusive “Don’t Play This Song,” and one of my personal favorites, “Maniac” (featuring Cage). On the former tune, Cudi begs the question, “Wanna know what this sound like when I’m not on drugs?” before expressing his disdain for well-wishers: “People think they’re really being helpful by telling me ‘please be careful.’/ Yeah right r-r-r-r-right r-right r-right right right/Please don’t play this song.” Well, that certainly answers any question about his response to fans’ reactions to Cudi’s highly-publicized arrest this summer.
On “Maniac,” though, Cudi actually hears out advice from veteran badass rapper Cage. The topic? Demons, of course. For my money, Cage steals the show on this track, and I also love its tormenting chorus that encourages Mr. Rager to “paint the black hole blacker,” AKA ignore his problems and continue on a not-so-indestructive path. Darn devil’s advocate folks.
Fortunately for listeners, though, his appreciation for them is evident on multiple songs throughout this album. Songs for the fans include the stoner anthem “We Aite” and “GHOST!,” wherein Cudi gets his most personal. ‘I was so close to being dead,” he vaguely recounts here, before asking fans, “When did I become a ghost?” The answer is unclear, but the flip side of Cudder’s supposed near-death experiences are not. “You see, things do come around eventually,’ he sings on the tune’s upbeat chorus to fans, presumably as some sort of motivational message to them. The statement is hard to believe though, when the rest of II suggests the opposite.
Rounding out the album, “Mr. Rager” and “Wild’n Cuz I’m Young” are most conducive to sing-alongs. “Wild’n”‘s hypnotic, still minimalistic-sounding drumbeat complements Cudi’s talk about drugs, hos, (He talk about how Rager would generally “hide the pain with some p***y and mimosas), partying with his crew, and an irreverence for authority really well. “I will never sweat for a piggy/ You catch me high; it’s all good. No biggie,” he boasts. “Mr Rager,” on the other hand, is perhaps the most lyrically sound track on the album. Tribal-sounding drums accompany Mr. Rager’s storytelling. Apparently, his job is to tell people where he’s going and to share stories from his travels (pretty base/cheesy, in my opinion). Again, Cudi mindfucks any listener looking to discern his character from good and bad on this one, talking about being “on my way to heaven” between announcements that, “Hey, it’s the Rager…”
Let’s review: Any listener who, after hearing The Legend Of Mr Rager, is still looking to judge Cudi’s character as good or bad, has missed the mark, (Snap!) because it’s not about that. It’s about the musings of a talented MC with a knack for connecting with his fans, an affinity for recreational substances, and plenty of room to grow.
Recommended Tracks: ‘Scott Mescudi Vs. The World,’ ‘Maniac’ and ‘Wild’n Cuz I’m Young’