Kid Cudi’s Man On The Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager plays essentially the same as his debut album, Man On The Moon: The End of The Day. Both are like lucid dreams with dark undertones, with Man On The Moon II crossing into the boundaries of an airy whimsical nightmare.
Originally supposed to be an entirely collaborative album featuring multiple artists, Cudi opted out of this approach in an effort to make the album more personal and true to the original roots of his first installment of Man On The Moon, and it shows.
Even his few collaborative efforts on the album featuring Kanye West, Chip Tha Ripper and Cage, Man On The Moon II gives a different insight into Kid Cudi’s head, providing a much more abstract perspective on Kid Cudi’s problems, utilizing poetics and metaphors to create dark images without directly spelling out his issues as in his previous work.
Despite the album’s dark atmospheric instrumental swells that emphasize a minimalist music background, the album’s most memorable tracks come in the form of the deviations from that nightmare theme but pop out with a little extra flair. The best examples of this come out in “Erase Me,” featuring Kanye West, which really highlights Kid Cudi’s love to make rock music.
The deep unique stylings of a piano in the back of the album’s second song “REVOFEV,” really stands out from the other tracks but never deviates from the dark motif the album takes on.
One of the album’s best songs, “Maniac,” however, operates within the ominous parameters with nothing setting it apart other than sheer quality. The track features indie rap star Cage, who fittingly was admitted into a mental hospital in his early years. As a result, “Maniac” ends up being one of the album’s darkest and highest quality songs with lyrics depicting a verbal horror story in the most metaphorical of manners. The song ends up being all the more terrifying when it becomes apparent that the horror story metaphor isn’t about some sensational fantasy but instead about life.
Ultimately Man On The Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager is a less radio-friendly album, to the extent that Kid Cudi sacrifices some listenability for his own creative ends. But strictly in terms of art and emotion, Man On The Moon II ends up going much deeper.