Kid Cudi released his seventh studio album and final installment of his “Man on the Moon” trilogy, “Man on the Moon III: The Chosen,” on Dec. 11, offering a closer look at addiction, recovery and the pitfalls of fame.
“Man on the Moon III: The Chosen” features standout artists like Pop Smoke, Phoebe Bridgers and Trippie Redd –– an interesting array of artists. A conceptualist musician at heart, Cudi separated his album into four acts –– Act I: Return 2 Madness, Act: II The Rager, The Menace, Act III: Heart of Rose Gold, and Act IV: Powers.
“Beautiful Trip” opens the record with an ethereal vibe that leads into the sound of a rocket launching, thrusting the listener into the album’s first act.
An immediate fan-favorite, “Tequila Shots” explores the artist’s internal struggle with balancing past addictions and optimism about the future: “Lotta sh** is weighin’ on me, it’s a storm / Never thought I would be back here bleeding.” Featuring high-pitched synths and heavy bass, the track’s melody reminded me of “Sky Might Fall,” a single from Cudi’s 2009 album, “Man on The Moon: The End Of Day” –– an all time favorite of mine.
“Another Day” expands upon the album’s theme of a a fast-paced lifestyle: “Mixin’ drinks, how much? Who knows / I pour one out for the dead homes, the dearly / departed, baby.” The artist’s sprinkling of ad-libbed lyrics throughout the song hits the mark and highlights Cudi’s unique ability to build on current hip-hop trends with his own personal flair.
The track that plays during the album’s trailer, “She Knows This,” opens with an energetic yet monotonous beat – perfect for hyping me up through finals. I found the intro to be the most interesting part: “Scott, let it go / Don’t give ‘em the satisfaction / What if I want the satisfaction?” I enjoyed the way the line mimicked an internal monologue, leaving me with a feeling of introspection.
Honest and vulnerable, “Mr. Solo Dolo III” depicts the aftermath of a bender, intertwining muffled screams and distant conversations. This track is emotional, touching on addiction and mental health struggles with the lyrics, “Many nights I spend gettin’ f***ed up, livin’ a lie / Prayin’, I’m just fed up, this tequila in me.” I found this track to be a perfect example of Cudi’s lyrical talent.
Sensual “Sept. 16” is the third track of Act III: Heart of Rose Gold, and the birthdate of Cudi’s girlfriend, Raquel Deriane. Produced by singer-songwriter FINNEAS, the track incorporates minimal instrumentals and romantic undertones — an iconic trait of Cudi’s music. In simple terms, this track is a love ballad, encapsulated best by the lyrics “Lay awake in bed and I’m alone / (Remembering) / Runnin’ through my brain and I’m searchin’ for you, oh no.”
The final track of Act IV: Powers, and of the “Man on the Moon” trilogy, “Lord I Know” doesn’t disappoint. A rumination on the artist’s past trials and successes, the track features intertwining percussion loops with lush synth progressions. The lyrics “Onward on my mission, on my journey, on my quest, yes,” emphasize it perfectly— Kid Cudi is finally in a good place.
Overall, this record was a beautiful trip - pun intended. I was surprised and excited by the amount of rapping Cudi included on this album, because it showcased his ability to produce a unique sound with every album. It is obvious Cudi has transcended his past, closing out the “Man on the Moon” trilogy on a high note.