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.