The kid named Cudi isn’t afraid to label himself “Mr. Rager”, “Maniac” or more nostalgically [his birth name]: “Scott Mescudi”.
Kid Cudi’s sophomore album Man on the Moon II had a lot to live up to considering previous mega-hits like “Soundtrack to my Life”, “Day N’ Nite”, “Pursuit of Happiness” and “Man on the Moon”. However, on The Legend of Mr. Rager, we’re not only invited into Cudi’s previously rapped-about dreams, but into his daily reality as “Mr. Rager”. The entire album is darker, and more musically adventurous than Man on the Moon - The End of Day (2009); incorporating various syncopation and instrumental elements to diversify his sound. An overall ominous, eerie tone emanates from each track, slowly but steadily ushering us along for the evolution of a “Cudi Revolution”.
The “Cudi Revolution” translates into a solid album, keeping some of the same Cudi-esque trademarks [think oo-oohs, grumbles/growls, and near-wailing sounds] with new insight into the somehow hazy yet focused Cudi state-of-mind. Of course there are multiple stand-outs: “Scott Mescudi vs. The World”, “REVOFEV”, “Marijuana”, “The Mood” and “Maniac”. Those that choose to skip out on the album [mistake!] will appreciate commercial tracks like “Mr. Rager”, “Erase Me”, and “Mojo So Dope”. However, here it is most critical to discuss the tracks that seem to create artistic progress for Cudi on his newest artwork. If nothing else, appreciate something has simple as the song titles. Each are carefully named to aid the listener in the dark journey of Cudi’s evolution.
The album opens up with the upbeat “Scott Mescudi vs. The World” featuring soulful Cee-Lo Green of Gnarls Barkley, proclaiming that “we can meet on the other side, this is our journey into the horizon”. Strategically placed first, the track immediately hooks the listener into Cudi’s lyrically displayed dark psyche, without exposing it fully.
“REVOFEV”, appropriately referring to “Revolution of Evolution”, alerts us to “wake up” and questions: “Where will you be for the Revolution?” For those lyrically- unappreciative folks: sit back and enjoy the passionate build-ups and break-downs, complete with snare drums and violin drama.
Quite possibly the best track on the album, “Marijuana” is not your typical party head-banger or commercial Cudi song. Instead, it gives a fresh new trance-like vibe that engulfs the listener. A dramatic choir element is added throughout, practically placing Cudi’s lyrical Mary Jane anthem on a pedestal; the almost-holy force that brings a man back to earth. As taken from Cudi, the track truly gets “all up in your blood”.
“The Mood”, while not particularly diverse, holds true to the Zone that Cudi so often refers to being lost in: a slightly passive, but deeply intuitive state of mind that instantly captivates anyone if allowed. The steady, pleasantly monotonous beat also has an eerie, ominous overtone.
The final most significant track aptly named “MANIAC” [appropriately in all capitals], is one of the most unique jams on the album: the possessed female voice repeats the same phrase [referring to a black hole!], setting the tone for the highly unusual track. Cudi raps, “I am the maniac - I am the ghoul - I’m in the shadows in the corner of my room” -- fully capitalizing on his self-proclaimed title as a lost, manic soul. “MANIAC” is also expertly produced with a multitude of sounds waffling in the background, slowly luring us in.
Kid Cudi: Man on the Moon II - The Legend of Mr. Rager is a successful documentation of the Cudi mindset. Although some have grown tired of his dreary self-depiction, it can be argued that Cudi has portrayed this dark image under an entirely new light. Avid Cudi fans will not be disappointed.