Kid Cudi’s humming can bring tears to a grown man’s eyes. The 37-second hum filled opening track “Beautiful Trip” does just that.
10 years after the “Man on Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager” and four years since his last solo project, Kid Cudi has returned with “Man on the Moon III: The Chosen." The cover art gives you a taste of what is to come without having to listen to any of the music. The psychedelic artwork shows the two halves of Kid Cudi. On one side is his regular appearance in vibrant orange and violet. His bones and teeth in space with a man in front of his moon eye make up the other side of Scott’s face. On Spotify, the visuals that loop while listening to the music are quite breathtaking.
“As he falls back deeper into a state, the return,” Cudi announces his return in the second song “Tequila Shots.” He raps of his constant struggle for serenity as there is a war going on inside of him. Cudi recognizes his growth but also the self-sabotaging tendencies that he feels the need to apologize for. The somber song feels almost mysterious with Cudi’s whisper-like notes while periodic keys in the background tickle the listener’s ears.
Hard bass and catchy whistles create an amusing listening experience on the fourth track “She Knows This.” Cudi displays his versatility using four different flows. He inadvertently gives a glimpse into the many rappers who have been inspired by him while utilizing this range, with the most popular being Travis Scott. Halfway through this track, the beat speeds up creating a mind-blowing mood switch. Cudi delivers rapid-fire bars before going in and out of autotune as he also flirts with both rapping and humming. It is hard to name any rapper, past or present, with the ability to do this as fluidly as Cudi. This song leaves nothing more to be desired making it my favorite one on this project.
The high energy from the previous song is carried over to the fifth track “Dive.” The lyrics on this track match the themes that he has maintained his entire career. “Soarin' through my world and I'm 'bout to take a dive. This is just the sadness in me, sad times,” Cudi harmonizes, revisiting lyrics from one of his most popular tracks, “Soundtrack 2 My Life” off of his debut album.
On the eighth track, the most popular British rapper in America and the late legend destined to be the next larger than life rapper teamed up with Cudi on this high-speed trap track. Pop Smoke’s deep posthumous vocals are featured in two-word spurts for the chorus along with his famed “grrt” adlibs. Skepta pops in next delivering a classic Skepta verse. He spits well over 100 words in his intense verse lasting under 30-seconds. “See I'm not dwelling on that, focus on runnin these laps, believe” raps Cudi as he runs this verse before more of the classic reverbed Cudi vocals.
Installment number three in the solo dolo series is the next track on this album. “Solo Dolo: Part III” is a spacey song about Cudi living among his demons that he feels no one else can relate to. He tends to focus on serious subjects that others may be reluctant to discuss, such as Selena Gomez when she and Cudi hung out after collaborating on her album. This song is a good listen but cannot compare to the first two installments in the solo dolo series. This statement can just as easily be applied to the album itself as I believe Man on the Moon 1 and 2 are better than this album.
Other notable songs include “Sept. 16,” an interesting Phoebe Bridgers’ feature on “Lovin’ me” and the final track “Lord I Know."
“Man on the Moon III: The Chosen” is an adequate album in the terms of Kid Cudi’s standards and his standards are fairly high. It did not reach the level of “Man on The Moon: II” and definitely not the first “Man on the Moon: The End of Day.” Even so, I am glad to get a new Cudi album and I am glad I got to hear a Pop Smoke and Kid Cudi song. Rest in Peace to the big woo.