MAN ON THE MOON III: THE CHOSEN (KID CUDI)

RELEASED 11TH DECEMBER 2020

Favourite track: Mr. Solo Dolo III

Listening to this album is essentially him taking you through his galaxy of Hip-Hop/Trap.

I can’t say I’ve listened to that much of Brooklyn-based rapper, Kid Cudi, but his name and his album have certainly been circulating on social media recently prompting me to check it out. At first glance, I find the cover artwork for Man on The Moon III: The Chosen amazing. It’s trippy, other-worldly and colourful with elements of space and man incorporated to reflect the album’s title. He very generously gives us 18 tracks on this album to listen to so I was keen to check it out and see what I think as so far, online, I’ve only seen positive reactions from fans.

Image credit: Twitter

The album opens with ‘Beautiful Trip’ – a 37 second growth of instruments (synths, harp, muffled FX) and vocals before it suddenly chaotically mashes into ‘Tequila Shots’ with old style synths and dramatic, deep-voiced dialogue over a tense bassline. A hard Hip-Hop beat comes in accompanied by rap about being sorry for how he acts and then a softer chorus with audio reflecting on himself. ‘Another Day’ opens with 80s cutting synths and layering of magical warp wave sounds. I like the gradual build in beats and the chorus is catchy. It has this monotonous vocal to it and mechanical musical backing which could represent the idea of “another day”. The next track ‘She Knows This’ opens with almost a skit about “satisfaction” and then a HARD beat, heavyyy bassline and complex topping. The repeated whistle in the background carries the song along and gives it this old school feel to it contrasting with how modern the sounds are with elements of Trap auto-tune ad-libs.

‘Dive’ begins with warm waves, electric guitar and magical chimes before a burst of a robotic x Hip-Hop sound comes through. ‘Damaged’ is definitely an interesting one musically with so much going on. I like the structure of this song and the variety. You’ve got so much going on in this one but it’s steady verse by verse with strength throughout. ‘Heaven On Earth’ is strong beats/bassline-wise but it has this repeated, light chime melody which has that childhood innocent juxtaposed with the realities of adult life “in the city”. Skepta and Pop Smoke feature on ‘Show Out’ which opens with distorted resonant cables, a ‘stop-start’ bassline and hard beat. There’s attack and power in this one with the chorus especially. ‘Mr. Solo Dolo III’ opens sooo well. I am in love with the way this has been produced. It has the magic, melancholic vocal FX, atmospheric synths and lyrics that look at “dreams” and not needing anyone.  

‘Sad People’ starts with plucked strings and piano chords with an underlying, ever-present bassline to give the song some movement and depth. The magical chimes and Trap beat add some rhythm but the song is very much still a calm, sad one as the title suggests. ‘Elsie’s Baby Boy (flashback)’ is an audio skit that sounds like a girl on the phone sounding pretty hopeless about her situation. Dream guitar and a military drum kit beat comes in. This is a very different sound (apart from the background magical synths in the chorus) to the rest of the songs. This one combines storytelling, a nostalgic sound and beats. We’ve got a beautiful harp-like sound with electric guitar and electric bass guitar ending it with what I believe is the crashing of ocean waves on a shore. The dreamy quality is continued in ‘Sept. 16’ but a Hip-Hop beat returns stronger here with a haunting “I need your love” repeated in the chorus with vocal FX. ‘The Void’ is a strong one with a catchy chorus with a good message as he talks about how he’s actively avoiding anything that’s going to bring him down. Phoebe Bridgers features on ‘Lovin’ Me’ and I love the echoed, atmospheric waves topped with a Hip-Hop beat. Her voice compliments his so well as it’s got a depth that matches the entire sound of this one. ‘The Pale Moonlight’ opens with a repeated string and then suddenly we’ve got deep vocal FX and Hip-Hop beat. This one’s got a sense of urgency to it but also storytelling. Future sounds with Past experiences. Trippie Redd features on ‘Rockstar Knights’ (I love the name of this one) and it’s got that broken Toy Box feel and then a Trap beat and chorus.

‘4 Da Kidz’ opens with a dragging, slow synth and then a message “this song is dedicated to you, we got you”. A Trap vocal structure comes in on top of a Hip-Hop beat that is a little more subtle this time. This one is an uplifting, real one that shows that although there might be hard times, you just got to keep doing what you’re doing and stay on track. The final track ‘Lord I Know’ opens with a quirky FX sound, subtle vocal FX in the background with a light beat that then gets heavier and harder. When the beat finds it’s place in the song with the bass and instrumental backing it all flows so well and makes space for the vocals and more magical sounds. I can see this one doing well in a concert.  

This album is one you’ve got to have on in the car late at night or just blasting through headphones. Really great production, variety and originality.