Credit where credit’s due, Kid Cudi might be one of the most influential rap artists of the last ten years. His first two albums, Man On The Moon: The End Of Days and Man On The Moon 2: The Legend Of Mr Rager reinvented Pop-Rap, opening the gates for artists such as Travis Scott to take the genre to incredible new heights with albums like Rodeo. However, Kid Cudi’s discography after those two albums range from kind of alright (Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’) to absolute trash (everything else).
That kind of track record means it’s a revelation when one of his records is slightly more than ok and Man On The Moon 3: The Chosen One is has at least five good tracks. That’s the best Kid Cudi has done in like ten years so I guess it’s fine? I’m trying my best here but Man On The Moon 3: The Chosen One is basically a glorified mixtape with all the half-baked ideas and cringe inducing non sequiturs that come with that. If Cudi was genuinely trying to make a worthy threequel to his best albums and didn’t just call it Man On The Moon 3 so it would sell better then fuck because this ain’t it. It’s not even close.
As I said though, there’s like 5 good tracks on here. Real opener ‘Tequila Shots’ is a true banger showing Cudi can still be a master of hooks while still on the rich and sad flex. It’s vintage Cudi. ‘She Knows This’ while sounding a lot like Travis Scott, is still lit, with the slight beat switch towards the end of the track being one of the very few truly great moments on the record. The best track on the record however is the Grime pastiche ‘Show Out’ featuring Skepta and the late Pop Smoke. While obviously piggybacking on multiple trends, the track still slaps with some absolute fire from Skepta and Pop Smoke proving why he was such a talent and why he is missed by so many. Ironically, ‘Show Out’ is the track with the least Cudi, which is telling.
The second half of the record isn’t even worth bothering with. It’s like a blur, with everything smushing together. The only track worth mentioning in the second half is in the back half of the record is ‘Lovin Me’ and that’s only because it’s amazing how much Phoebe Bridgers phones it on the chorus.
Man On The Moon 3: The Chosen One unfortunately follows the same pattern as almost every mainstream rap album released in the last few years. Maximising quantity over quality in a cynical grab for streams, made all the more egregious by its pretentious presentation. While having a few great tracks there are definitely more misses then hits on the album and with so many artists doing this sound better why bother?
Words by Jack Vincent.