Kid Cudi’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ is an eerie wonder

By Becky Price, Arts Editor

Two summers ago, a track titled “Day N’ Nite” hit music blogs and indie radars like wildfire. The artist, a blossoming rap phenomenon known as Kid Cudi, made his mark as the heavily remixed song caught the eye of Kanye West and eventually spiraled onto popular radio.

A couple of months later, he emerged with his debut album, Man on the Moon: The End of Day that showcased his diverse abilities to rap, croon, narrate and sing about the angst that plagued his mind.

Released earlier this month, Cudi’s much anticipated sophomore album, Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager unfortunately may divide his extensive audience due to its unruly adjustment in sound.

If its predecessor was impassioned ranting, then Mr. Rager is Cudi’s diary. The album delves deeper into rap culture’s dark abyss, as he carefully documents his odyssey into the world of fame and what seems like the dark side of the moon. As far as hip-hop existentialists go, Cudi still has the top tier.

That said, Cudi’s new album also branches from his already innovative style. Although he still appears to heavily depend on synthesizers, he shifts to a quasi-rock direction on this album.  Perhaps his confusion over life is mirrored in his music as Man on the Moon II is a jumble of oddball sounds: ghostly samples, guitar solos, fast rap sequences and haunting rants. The dizzy friction between the contrasting genres and sounds is unrelenting and jarring in comparison to his earlier works, and this sudden shift may shy previous fans away. Despite this, Mr. Rager is still on par with Man on the Moon I.

Lyrically, Cudi still wears his heart on his sleeve. Similar to Man on the Moon, the perils of drugs, fame and relationships gone awry are recurrent themes throughout his songs. In “Mojo So Dope,” he admits to “drowning them sorrows” in drugs like ecstasy in hopes of “escaping the demons.” As dire as it sounds, the song is as intoxicating and consuming as the disarraying lifestyle Cudi describes.

“Erase Me” is a prime example of Cudi’s emerging rock sound. Paired with Kanye, both artists croon about a past relationship over guitar interludes.

Gloomier and  darker than its predecessor, Man on the Moon II will probably narrow Kid Cudi’s fan base. He tugs a rawer and more emotional string in listeners.

Despite its irregularity, we have to applaud Cudi for his musical experimentation. After all, it was this revolutionary notion of paving a new sound within the rap genre that made so many people fall in love with the self-deprecating loner. Rumored to be retiring in pursuit of rock music, Man on the Moon II may be Cudi’s last testament as a rapper. Lucky for him, Mr. Rager will solidify his newfound legacy in the rap industry.