Photo Credit: Pamela Littky
Man On The Moon III: The Chosen is the seventh studio album by Cleveland bred rapper Kid Cudi, and it feels like when your favorite rock band reunites and their stage costumes don’t quite fit well anymore. Bummer right? Their pants are either too tight or not loose enough by today’s performing standards. Either way, it just doesn’t work. Unfortunately, this is the case on the final piece of Cudi’s otherwise masterful Man On The Moon trilogy series. The clever virtuoso of trip-hop and alternative rap won the hearts of awkward outsiders and cool kids alike, with a keen ability to channel his moniker around relatable lyrics and “everyday” young people problems. Mainly by way of delving into a familiar world of chaos and aiming to venture back on to a road of personal recovery. Most notably by the means of his alter ego, the infamous Mr. Rager. Hence, making the methodical genius behind game changing tracks like “Day ‘N’ Nite” and “Pursuit Of Happiness” seem all the more career defining.
While you do see a few rare flares of hope like on the marvelous opener “Tequila Shots” as he dips and dives over a tight piano instrumental, and the eventful sounds of “Another Day”, the Kid Cudi comeback doesn’t last long. For the duration of Man On The Moon III, you can tell that the rapper-turned-actor tries to pick up where his music left off, via the entertaining tales of Man On The Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager. He attempts the same rhetoric this time around but regrettably only gets the project by, and that’s about it. The problem is not a shortage of effort, but more so, a lack of awareness. Cudi is simply rapping about the same things with a different reality. Part of that reason is that the unpredictable MC is seemingly finding joy and purpose elsewhere, outside of his artistry.
Particularly in the last year, for example, popping up with Travis Scott on the song “THE SCOTT’s” scoring a #1 single. Then getting his acting chops on in an HBO series, as well as several onscreen roles in Netflix documentaries coming up later this year. All of these projects show Cudi flexing his artistic prowess in different new areas. However, the result through his music this time around is an oversaturated batch of boost branding tracks that even the likes of production pundits Mike Dean and Wondagurl couldn’t overcome as they did on his previous Man On The Moon projects.
Although, there are a select few songs that do provide the moniker Kid Cudi vibes that fans will love such as the elevating Phoebe Bridgers assisted “Lovin Me.” The two go on a compatible journey together to find themselves, as Cudi bellows out: “This is just the hell that lives inside (hmm) // Tell me now, where to? Please be my guide.” A guest feature from the talented late Brooklyn rapper Pop Smoke makes headway on “Show Out” but it did the post-MC little justice, as the song is nowhere near the caliber either musician is capable of. Then on the nickname track “Solo Dolo, Pt. III” that made the Kid a fellow company keeper, you would hope for more finesse but it just doesn’t pan out that way.
This eventually becomes a running theme on Man On The Moon III: The Chosen, as the LP provides nothing new on songs like “The Void” and “She Knows This.” Both of which embrace no form of innovation like the temperamental exuberance of the two former Man On The Moon albums. Nevertheless, it seems Kid Cudi has come a long way. Inevitably escaping the evil wrath of Mr. Rager enough to satisfy his reality, and Cudi hasn’t looked back since. Even if all those frequencies did not transmit to Man On The Moon III: The Chosen, in some ways it turns out to be a good thing. Rightfully serving as the final piece to a seemingly already closed chapter.