On September 15, 2009, Kid Cudi released his debut album, the Man on the Moon: The End of Day. Little did he know it would become one of the most influential albums of modern hip-hop. The fact that MOTM was heavily criticized by many music critics upon its initial release further proves that Kid Cudi was ahead of his time. Like most of his projects, it takes more than one listen to understand the complicated brilliance of the Cleavland born rapper. It may be easy to dismiss the greatness of Scott Mescudi from a traditional hip-hop perspective, but once you let go of everything you thought you knew about rap and surrender to the music itself, everything starts to make sense. Stuck in a world dominated by big chains, guns, girls, and money stands Kid Cudi with something more substantial to say. For the first time, a rapper influenced by indie rock, Pink Floyd, and electronica flips hip-hop entirely upside down and starts a new revolution.
Man on the Moon is a cinematic masterpiece from front to back. Consisting of 5 sequenced acts, with narration by Common in between, Cudi’s storytelling ability deems undeniable.
Man on the Moon opens up with a dreamy ambient track called In My Dreams as we are introduced to Kid Cudi’s subconscious as he drifts peacefully into dreamland, but the peace doesn’t last long. The further the album goes on, the deeper we get propelled into the gloomy psychedelic world of Kid Cudi full of demons, loneliness, despair, happiness, and hope.
For the first time, a rapper chooses vulnerability over boasting and, in doing so, is able to relate to fans in a way that has never been done before.
“I’ve got some issues that nobody can see, and all of these emotions are pouring out of me.” Sings Cudi on “Soundtrack 2 my Life.
Cudi displays a new perspective never before seen in hip-hop as he creates an album that cannot be defined by one genre. From his psychedelic MGMT collaboration, Pursuit of Happiness to his verse on Make Her Say, Cudi proves he is versatile and not afraid to push the boundaries of hip-hop.
Man on the Moon will forever stand as not only a classic in Hip-hop but across all genres. There would be no Travis Scott, Juice Wrld, or Chance the Rapper if it weren’t for Kid Cudi. Some may call it emo rap, but he influenced a generation of kids to be themselves, follow their dreams, and, most importantly, showed them they are not alone. Cudi made it okay to show your emotions and opened the door to conversations about mental health. The world and hip-hop would not be the same if it weren’t for the genre-bending, emotional classic that is Man on the Moon.