THE RAGER RETURNS: MOTM3

If you have been a fan of hip hop for the past decade or so, the name Kid Cudi does not strike you as a new gen rapper or a new face on the scene. Albeit he has “Kid” in his name and could easily be confused with another “Lil”, he is far from that. His first project, “A Kid Named Cudi” features some classic Cudder cuts that introduce you to his style and was an initial mark that Cudi would be a breath of fresh air in the rap/hip-hop genre. Following this project is what most would call his magnum opus: “Man on the Moon”. This would feature platinum hits like Day N Nite as well as Pursuit of Happiness. Cudi had arrived and been here to stay since this release in 2009.

Fast-forward to 2020 and we’ve heard a lot from Cudi (maybe almost too much), most recently was the Kanye-collaborated Kids See Ghosts, which received much acclaim. In between, Cudi had released Man on the Moon II in the early 2010s, delivering the classic Cudi sound we have come to know and love. But since then, it’s been peaks and valleys for most Cudi fans. WZRD, Satellite Flight, Indicud, etc.. share eclectic sounds and not your classic Man on the Moon Cudi. Some loved it, most hated it. Cudi was expanding his sound and trying new things, something most great artists do at some point during their career.

But with 2020 being a lock from quarantine and Scott having some extra time on his hands, he got to work. In the middle of the year we were teased with the trilogy to the Man on the Moon saga, and on December 11th we were blessed with a new Cudi project. Safe to say everyone was uber excited. Most didn’t know what to expect- since the only times they had heard Cudi recently were on the Kanye collab tape and on his #1 single this year The Scotts which featured the help of Travis Scott. So what would we get from Kid Cudi for Man on the Moon 3? All we could do is wait and hope.

Exactly what we were anticipating is what arrived in December. See the thing is, Man on the Moon 1 & 2 have the distinct Cudi sound- catchy hooks, half happy half sad, hum assisted, sneaky-bar-filled music we have come to love from Cudder. The intro of MOTM3 features a sound from the second man on the Moon album, and it feels like there wasn’t a 10 year gap that had starved the fans of the series. One of my favorite cuts, Tequila shots, plays next, and boy did I get excited when this song started. Cudi is back. I don’t want to deep dive into every track, as I want you to hear it for yourself. When I finished the album, I was very happy and content with Cudi. It made me revisit his old work, which is also still very pleasurable to listen to. He has truly lasted the test of time and has left his mark on the music scene in many genres.

But let’s focus on the new, and not dwell in the past. There are for sure some pretty classic sounding Cudi tracks, as well as some that feature more of Scott proving his rap chops. The main thing that I believe sets apart this project from the past 2 is just how much modern influence is involved in it. Enlisting his normal producers, he also tapped upon Take A Day Trip to help with production, who has made songs with everyone from Lil Nas X to Big Sean to Dua Lipa and so on. You can tell that the songs feature the classic Cudi sounds but often have modern takes like hard hitting bass and hi-hats. Also, this is the first time we really hear Cudi ad-lib on some tracks, a staple in modern hip-hop. But I think this is enough words and thoughts- if you haven’t listened yet, I suggest running it top to bottom, no skips, no shuffle. If that seems out of your wheelhouse, check out my favorites below. You won’t be disappointed. 

Don’t Cling to Something Non-static

Everybody finds their inner peace and joy from certain things. When all has gone wrong, we can depend on this activity or thing to bring us happiness when we need it most. It seemed like in 2020 people needed this more than ever. Like stated in the idea above, there are two different types of these security blankets that we can lean on in a time of need. The first (and what we will not be talking about) is a thing. Things might be one of the broadest terms in the english language, but think of something tangible or I suppose even intangible. That was a bad preface, but these are the things (sorry for using the word again) that don’t require much effort and you can jump in from almost anywhere. This includes talking to friends, listening to that song or album, eating that certain food type or food spot, etcetera. These “things” can brighten up your mood quite easily, and are on one end of the spectrum of things that can bring you up. You might even have these at home or on the go with you, making them ideal for a quick fix or pick me up.

The second is something a little more complex. This is more of an activity- it typically is an activity that you have done all your life and once had to lean on to get out of a rut or to turn that frown upside down. The things we are really like to do, that have required putting in work overtime to achieve your status or skill level or level of comfortability doing it. It’s almost like breathing: second nature. Or something that even if you are not that skilled at, still brings a smile to your face (this almost falls into the “thing” category a little better). Now that this is getting written out, let’s preface this real quick: technically not everyone will have this. This is speaking to those who have sacrificed to be at the spot they are at today. The activity in which we are speaking of you couldn’t imagine life without it. Unfortunately, however, there is a certain disease that travels along with this activity. 

As you get better and better at something or even do something more and more, the expectations get higher. From both the outside and from the inside. It’s inescapable. Here’s a really base level example. You are a straight A student in school and you bomb a test (let’s just say it wasn’t an important one, as that makes the example even better). For you, you might be bummed out. How did I do so bad? What did I do wrong? Maybe it just wasn’t my day. Oh well, you remember it doesn’t do much in the long run as it really didn’t matter for your overall grade. However, now you may have to catch scrutiny from classmates gawking at the fact that YOU, mister straight A, failed it with flying colors. Then, if your parents find out, you have even more explaining to do. This was an interesting example to pen, but I think it gets the basic point across.

Back to your activity. The scenario above was to paint the picture of expectations. When you reach a certain level of anything in life, you start to set higher and higher goals and aspirations in which you would like to achieve. Which is great, why would you not want to get better and better as time goes on? No one would want to stay the same for years and years, still doing the same thing daily but not seeing any progress. That would surely drive one nuts. But, sometimes a step back needs to be taken. To experience the pure joy this activity gives you, you need to think about it in a static sense. Be thankful you can do X, Y, or Z. Enjoy the moment while you are doing what you love, and don’t worry about the performance. Just enjoy your ability to do what you have done all your life. Think about when you first started, and smile a little that as many years as it is later, you find yourself doing the same thing just as often with the same drive. Or think of those unable to do things that you can do for circumstances they couldn’t control.

Now you may think this breeds stagnant growth in the field. Sure, you don’t need to do this all the time. Sometimes, we want to see how good we can go or how our current skill set stacks up to the ability you have always dreamed of. There are times and places for this. It should be understood that if you are a little down, it might not be the best idea to put a lot of pressure on performance. On the chance you underperform, the two negatives will not make a positive. On the other hand, if you smash it your mood could be uplifted. It is a gamble, a toss up riding all on your shoulders. But back to the point: clinging to your favorite hobby or something you do quite often in a static sense leads to the most happiness. It is good to get used to envisioning it this way, as if you ever have an accident or something that pries you from previous ability or frequency in which you can perform it, you will surely be happy to just be doing it rather than not.

HIMOTHYS DISCOGRAPHY

Shameless self promotion for my budding music career. Well, it’s not really budding, but that’s not going to stop me from having fun with it! If you haven’t figured it out, when quarantine first hit I picked up the new hobby of making chunes. I first thought I also could pick up rapping, but was sadly mistaken. But the beat making definitely stuck. A 90-day trial turned into a 180 day trial (thank you Ableton for randomly extending my trial) turned into a 100 dollar purchase. I am locked in now. It definitely took up the bulk of my idle time early in quarantine when writing was a little bland and it has been so fun to learn and practice. Over time I like to think I’ve learned a decent amount and my most recent beats sound better than the older ones. Some time was spent looking for good sounds, some playing around in Ableton, and lots learning from others. I’ve talked about how fun it is here. It has led to some fun nights with buddies just coming over to vibe and try to lay bars over tracks. Or cook up a beat with himothy himself (Himothy & Friends tape in the works). I’ve actually put out a decent amount of music that I like. By the time I post this, I would have dropped a little EP every Friday of October for my birthday. And then a 7 track album of HITS right after. Give me some dap.

I just want to break down the discography since I’ve been making a bunch and they all have a little unique sound. What’s the point of making them if I ain’t proud of them and not marketing them? It would be pretty cool to somehow luck into a placement of ANY rapper. Or have more than 10 plays per song on soundcloud. This is highly unlikely (for now). So for the time being, just enjoy the sounds and to try to run up those plays because they are way too low. 

(The playlist below features picks from all my projects in a playlist, because posting all projects would make this post require too much scrolling.)

HHV1

The first pack of hits. This has my earliest beats that I thought were pretty good and wanted to put out there. Typically artists don’t start with a greatest hits album, but I did.

SPACE N SYNTH

The first experiment. This one just has a crazy ass sound like we are speaking to robots. If we lived in a simulation, this might be the soundtrack.Typically, you wait until you are solidified before you make your first experimental album. I did not. 

PERC 4 PACK

No melodies, just drums. This one hits pretty hard with big kicks and loud 808s. It was one of the easiest to make, a sometimes the simpler the better. 

HHV2

The second pack of hits. You can hear a little bit of improvement in comparison to HHV1. I try to use a ton of different loop styles to keep it fresh and diverse. 

CORONA COMPILATION

Some of my best work from locking in during a weekend. It has some of my all time favorites(for now). I actually cooked up more than 10, but these 10 were the cream of the crop. Others will trickle into different projects with some revisits. 

WEST COAST SOUND 

My best take at some west coast hip hop. The best track couldn’t make it because of copyright, which is a bummer. But it’s rap beats from the state I currently live in.

SENEGAL SOUNDS

An EP revolved around a splice exclusive pack. It features unique instruments and a unique sound native to the African country Senegal. It was one that I just ended up with 4 without noticing they were all from the same pack and added 2.

HEADS WILL ROLL

This is some early 2000s shit. The pack I used most was by Breathe Carolina, which you may be familiar with. This is so far the most off-beat music I’ve made (in terms of being away from hip-hop).

FLAVA

Warm vinyl sounds and the 90s. This is some boom bap Himothy style. My friend asked me to make one and I ended up liking the construction of the beats, so I made 5 more. 3 were unable to post due to copyright, so this was a small pack. 

SATIN SHEETS

My birthday wish was to have an R&B tape. It contained my first feature by my pal Jacob. R&B and hip hop are close in relation to beats, but the vibe is completely different. It also turned out a little bit more reggae. 

HHV3 

And now back to the hits. Like I’ve drilled into your head: different sounding beats and styles but the cream of the crop. The most recent himothy hits are always my best work. 

A (NOT SO) GREAT WAY TO SPEND A SATURDAY: HUNGOVER

Another reincarnation of an older series I wrote a couple of posts for: A Great Way to Spend a Saturday. Typically, these posts outlined the joys of having the day off and planning something extravagant, or just enjoying time outside of the house. If you are tied down with work during the week, the weekend is when you can move around and do whatever.

This time it’s the antithesis: a (not so) great way to spend a saturday. 

So this is how not to spend a Saturday. As a man approaching his quarter life crisis, I have had many Saturdays in which I would have loved to spend them a different way. DMV days, long rides in the car, consequences from the night before, or just other random happenings that can throw a wrench in your Saturday are what we are going to chop it up about. Here’s just one.

Being hungover can be very painful, or also could be not so bad. The mellow ones are not the problem. These ones are cured by coffee and a simple surf. I swear I’ve said that exact phrase in so many pieces. As a resilient young man, I should be able to shake these off quite easily. As I am growing older, it is starting to take a little more. When I was younger, the majority of my experiences with hangover were limited. Yes, I got them, but they didn’t stop me from doing much. These aren’t terrible, as they go away by noon (or they used to). Eat something good and you feel alive again (one breakfast burrito, please). And potentially be inspired to run it back the next night (now a days this is a herculean effort). 

The type of hangover I am talking about is the one that throws off your whole day. You sleep in, crawl out of bed, and do little in the first part of your day. These can turn even the most morning-centric person out there shudder at the fact of doing things (and by things, I mean even the simplest tasks). With these, it is best to try to do something. I always believed the less you did when you are experiencing a severe hangover, the longer it lingers and clouds your mind. These are the hangovers coffee and surfing do not fix. But we can always try these methods to make them slightly more minute for the time being. The quick fix. There is nothing worse than having an obligation that you have to attend with one of these hangovers. For some time it would be class on certain days in college days, but thankfully this has been limited to purely weekend days of recent. Going to class was never that hard because mine were always later so I could surf beforehand, or in some cases have ample time to shake off the night before. 

As I grow older, they only get worse. I sound like a broken record, but shudder at the memories of going out so much at school. Nights in which I wouldn’t even flinch the next morning have become a little more groggy in the AM, and the times I anticipate a hangover the next day it is twice as bad as I would have imagined. It’s like every time I need to ingest a greasy meal to feel 100% again. It’s a rough life getting closer to 25 (I am exaggerating a little). And I can imagine it’s only going to get worse. So that is one way not to spend a Saturday. I’d have to assume 95% of the eyeballs skimming through this post have been in this position.

Spending a Saturday hungover is a spend. But it depends how you look at it. If the night before was worth it, you might bask in the hangover and relive the debauchery with your friends. Plenty of times the amount of fun had justified the punishment. On the occasion it maybe didn’t live up to your expectations, I feel like this just amplifies the hangover. But it’s Saturday, and you can turn a shitty morning around if you try hard enough. Either way you splice it, we most likely get more done and have more productive Saturdays when we are not hungover. 

However, it is the weekend so it does beckon a little freedom to do nothing. And that’s just fine.

This is sometimes the icing on the cake below: thinking you will not be hungover and setting an alarm just to be woken up early and be even more hungover due to an early wakeup. That is an awful sentence.

KEEP IT ROTATING

Try and expand your music taste outside your normal flavors. Variety is the spice of life. This is something I really try to implement in my everyday life as much as possible. Sure, there are plenty of things I do that are incredibly regimented. For the most part, people could guess the meals I cook for myself, what I do every morning, and habits both good and bad I have absorbed overtime. But when an opportunity strikes to try something new, I am usually pretty keen on it. For me, it’s stuff like this: make a different coffee (both style and beans), pick something new off a menu, ride a different surfboard, try and surf different spots, and switch up workouts/wellness methods. You’ll never know if you are missing out on something until you try it. 

This principle/idea is ever so prevalent in something I do (and most of you probably do daily). Whether it’s working, driving, working out, or even just lounging around, you most likely have music playing. The only time I really don’t is when I am reading and when I am surfing. If I could have it playing while I surfed, I would. “What? Sorry I couldn’t hear you behind me I was bumping Savage Mode II”. Only in a dream world. 

Some may be scoffing at me talking about this, as I have always portrayed the image of a heavy rap listener. This is incredibly true. 90% of the time when you hop in the CR-V, there is some hip hop playing. For some reason, driving to rap is just something I can’t really let go. I don’t know if it’s just the best music for it, and I am sure not everyone agrees on that statement, but for me it’s just right. And if it’s not right, I don’t want to be right. Nothing pumps me up for whatever I am doing to do when I get out of the car like some of my favorite artists over hard hitting 808s and drums. 

However, when I am in the office (whether at the desk in my room or in the literal office), I typically have to keep it rotating. Even with the large amount of good music that has came out recently in the hip hop category, I still have been listening to music in shifts most of the time. An album of this, a couple hours of that, a podcast, and one last vibe to hop into before closing up shop for the day. The rotation keeps it refreshing. I have both playlists and saved albums that can easily take me from one end of the spectrum to the other. As soon as an album finishes or it’s time to flip, it’s a click away.

One main reason this is a really refreshing exercise for me is that in the hip-hop realm, I tend to stay in current times or even somewhat recent eras. Sure, every now and then I play older stuff. But not nearly enough as other genres. The way music was made ten to twenty years ago is so different it’s insane. And that is definitely half the fun for me. When I hop into my blues playlist, I hear Bill Withers, Curtis Mayfield, and Al green. All their music was made long before I was even born. The sonics and just feel of the music is largely different than that of the music of the 2010s. In other genres, a great deal of the material I listen to is older, and has some little nostalgia to an early time in my life. All the different sounds take me to different places.

My blues playlist is perfect for stretching and early mornings with little caffeine. My reggae playlist is a go-to for window down drives (when not bumping rap) or barbecues at home. My electronic music takes me back to my high school music taste and gets me fired up to tackle whatever in the right setting. My rock/“band” albums and playlist get me into a nostalgic era. Long story short: listen to different kinds of music. While you are at it, there’s not a better time to check out HIMOTHY BEATS, my producer alias. My catalog is growing quickly and isn’t going to stop expanding anytime soon.