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Between thick layers of glossy production, Kid Cudi delves into matters of the psyche untouched by mainstream rap. One can draw a comparison to Eminem's recent work in terms of rapping about drug addiction, but Cudi explores facets of insecurity and vulnerability that are more familiar to the underground hip-hop scene. Further bridging this gap is the inclusion of Def Jux veteran and former psychiatric patient Cage on "Maniac." It's one of the album's high-water marks, anchored by St. Vincent's lovely siren call of "paint a black hole blacker."

The downfall of Man On The Moon II is Cudi's continued insistence on singing without the chops to justify it. His earnest attempts at carrying a melody simply pale in comparison to his syrupy, laid-back flow on tracks like "Marijuana," a hazy requiem for Prop 19. Fortunately for Cudi the broad-ranging beats are intriguing throughout the record and excel despite mediocre vocals on songs such as "REVOFEV" and the Kanye-featuring "Erase Me."

While Kid Cudi doesn't always play to his strengths, there's more than enough catchy trunk-rattlers on the new album to warrant repeat listens.

  • Album: Man On The Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager (2010)
  • Artist: Kid Cudi
  • Label: Universal Motown
  • Songs: 1) Scott Mescudi vs the World (2) REVOFEV (3) Don't Play This Song (4) We Aite (Wake Your Mind Up) (5) Marijuana (6) Mojo So Dope (7) Ashin' Kusher (8) Erase Me (9) Wild'n Cuz Im Young (10) The Mood (11) MANIAC (12) Mr. Rager (13) These Worries (14) The End (15) All Along (16) GHOST! (17) Trapped In My Mind
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