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. 

Quarantine Quintuplets

Can ya believe it? Still locked down and cooped up. How quickly could the world absolutely be turned upside down. When this was first coming on, I never would have anticipated the extremes in which it has gotten to. Never in my lifetime have we had such strange and turbulent times. Where seeing friends and meeting strangers is a bad move. Going into public is frowned upon.  We are spending a lot of time with our house. Or an apartment. You might be spending time with family. Or your roommates. Or total isolation. Either way you splice it, every one of us is having our social sanity taken away, and we are unsure when it will come back (for good reason, I am no way against social distancing and quarantining). This time alone is going to grow stale quicker than it came on in the first place. Whether it’s working from home or just cruising around the crib, you might as well take some time to try new things. Yesterday, I tried this thing called “Coffee Soda”, in which I mixed cold brew with tonic water and squeezed a quarter of a lemon into it. You would surely only do that if you had been locked inside your house for 2 weeks. It actually tasted really good. As a coffee snob and coffee purist, I thought there was no way I’d like it. And that’s the point. We should be trying new things we never thought we would do in this quarantine time, simply to pass the time and maybe find new things to adore. 

Now is a good time to listen to good music. If your life were a movie (and not like IG clout-chasers saying “Yo, last night was a movie”), the pictures associated with it would grow tiresome quickly. But maybe if you put a fire soundtrack behind the monotony it could be slightly more tolerable. I imagine walking to the kettle to turn on the hot water for coffee as an example. If I sequenced that to Al Green, you would think it’s another mellow early morning. But maybe if I put it to some wild techno or heavy bass rap, you would think something different was going to happen afterwards. No matter what, the next thing that was going to happen was the grinding of the beans. But the music could make you think otherwise.

We all have our go to sounds and the music we bump on the daily, pandemic or no pandemic.  However, you might get tired of your normal wheelhouse of tunes, and be looking for something new to spice up the rotation during these quarantine times. So here is a small gift for all social distancing: I’m going to call it a 5×5. A pentagon. 5 genres and 5 songs from each genre. Maybe you’ll discover a new song you like. Maybe after listening to 5 songs, you might have a changed mind about the certain sound. Maybe you’ll still hate rap music. While there are tons of sub-genres and all that jazz (no pun intended), the 5 in this rotation are to the writers preferences: Hip-hop, Rock, Electronic, Reggae, and Blues. Hit play. Shuffling them is up to you. 

(If I can’t get the embedded player to work, here’s a list of the 25 tracks):

[Peso-A$AP Rocky, Cabin Fever-Wiz Khalifa, Murder To Excellence- Jay-Z & Kanye West, Gatti-Popsmoke & Travis Scott, Soundtrack 2 My Life-Kid Cudi, Call It What You Want-Foster The People, Up All Night-The War On Drugs, Easy Tiger-Portugal, The Man, The Longest Wave-Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lost In Yesterday-Tame Impala, Land Of Promise-Nas & Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Sorry-SOJA, Reelin-Iration, Stone Love-Pepper, True To Myself-Ziggy Marley, Wall Fuck-Flume, Runaway (U&I)-Galantis, Happy Violence-Dada Life, The Half-DJ Snake, The City(with QuinnXCII)-Louis The Child), I’m Still in Love with You-Al Green, Cigarettes and Coffee-Otis Redding, What’s Going On-Marvin Gaye, Pusherman-Curtis Mayfield, Changes-Charles Bradley]