I have to start off by saying that I’m a huge KiD CuDi fan and I have been looking forward to this album and reviewing it since the middle of this year; having said that, I did my best to stay as unbiased as possible by rating the music and nothing else. Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager is the sophomore album by the Cleveland native. His troubled personal life and continuous “Fuck the World” attitude has been extremely noted and is hard to overlook. One would think that a substance addiction, rap beefs, criminal accusations, and what seems to be a tremendous case of depression might be too much to overcome. However, instead of self-destructing CuDi looks to continue his outer space journey and has no plans of coming down to Earth any time soon.
Production – 8.5
DARKER then the first, if you’re a fan of Cudder you know that his beats are not very traditional as far as hip-hop beats are concerned. NO I.D., Kanye West, Plain Pat, Emile and others help Mr. Rager properly express himself in full fashion; many, if not most of the tracks on the album are full of eccentric sounds and a variety of instruments that give the CD a unique feel. It’s full of piano keys that infectiously consume the mind, okay well not really but surprisingly even though the sounds are different they still give off a very big hip-hop feel. For some, the beats may get very annoying but the positive thing is that MOTM II has something for everyone. A melting pot of sounds if you will; rock friendly guitars, punky sirens, Hip-Hop drums and poppish harmonies round out what is a great sounding album. Staying true to his out of this world perception CuDi once again demonstrates that he is completely fine with alienating some people by producing such an unconventional sound.
Lyrics – 7.5
I definitely don’t think of Scotty as an amazing lyrist, but I have to say that this time around the KiD does a much better job of stepping with his rapping foot first. Many critics and fans alike felt that his first album lacked a real lyrical feel, but his wonderful storytelling and emotions made up for it. Raw delivery and passion help give CuDi’s second effort a much needed nod in terms of rapping, be that as it may he still doesn’t blow anyone away with his word play or metap….wait oh that’s right he doesn’t believe in metaphors. Anyways, seeing CuDi grow as a rapper is great, but everyone knows that he gets those G.O.O.D. Music checks cause of his hooks and bridges. Needless to say he may never be considered one of hip-hops true lyrical gems, but there is no doubting the type of passion and creativity KiD CuDi puts into his music.
Songs – 8.5
From Stoner anthem, to radio hit, to a big middle finger to all the haters, MOTM II has a little bit something for everyone (I wish Common did the narration on this as well). I wanted to rate this portion just a bit high seeing how about 12-14 of the songs have replay value, but I just couldn’t cause of the repetitive subject matter and content. Also, it’s hard to give this extreme praise when it fails to live up to the original. However, let’s not take away from the sequel where Cee-Lo steals the opening track away with his infectious hook. Mary J Blige surprisingly gets two hooks on the album with her contributions to Don’t Play This Song and These Worries. Great features by the likes of GLC & Chip tha Ripper on The End give the album one of the truest sounding hip-hop records from the album and even left me wanting more of that type of joint. Ghost, The Mood and Maniac all stole the album for me and without doubt represent all that is KiD CuDi to me. The title track Mr. Rager as well as Mojo So Dope give fans a personal look into the type of person CuDi sees in himself, with true unfiltered passion. All Alone, We Aite and Marijuana just didn’t do it for me; yes I know that those maybe some fan favorites, but if cut out the album would have been lean and fit. I enjoyed near the entire album and was surprisingly pleased and disappointed at the same time (weird huh, shrugs…oh well).
I can’t say that this is better than the first (even though I had to wait for the original to grow on me) because there is just something missing from this album. Some growth in content would have help, maybe another smash hit like Day N’ Nite could have truly won me over. I believe that as an artist KiD CuDi is just fine where he’s at and has no real plans of changing what he loves doing not for me or anyone for that matter. This offering is a solid addition to the discography and will gain CuDi additional recognition and fans all over; however where does he go from here? Will those demons that he raps about finally consume him, or will he continue to defy the odds and live out of this world until he’s ready to come down. That question is still to be answered, but one thing is for sure, KiD CuDi Rages like only Mr. Rager knows how!