Released in 2009, Man On The Moon: The End Of Day is Kid Cudi’s first studio album. Produced exclusively by Kanye West, a close friend of Cudi, the album places top 4 on Billboard 200 with 104 419 copies sold in week one. Kid Cudi’s concept album follows a structure of 19 songs divided into 5 acts, each introduced by the rapper Common. The album features artists like Billy Craven, Ratatat, Kanye West, MGMT, Wale, and Chip Tha Ripper. This album doesn’t really fit into any genre of music, certain will label it as alternative hip-hop or psychedelic hip-hop. Kid Cudi says in an interview his first album “shouldn’t be defined by a singular genre” it’s more of a “blend of all genres that result in good music”. He wants his album to be listened to like we’d watch a movie. An album in which he tells his public who he is and what’s going on in his deepest thoughts. An album in which he’s going to deliver himself entirely to his public through the experimentation of sounds and the blending of genres.
As mentioned earlier, Man On The Moon: The End Of Day (or MOTM for short) is described to be a “concept album”. Kid Cudi wanted it to be listened to as an “auditive movie” and succeed in the task. The 5 act structure that the album follows, each introduced by a voice-over that isn’t the artist, helps the audience understand that this isn’t any other album, it’s MOTM. The album cover itself looks more like it could’ve been the movie poster to Interstellar than a 2000’s rap album. Kid Cudi talks about himself in a very profound way. He talks about the struggles he had as a kid, like the death of his father or his lack of popularity at school for example. He talks about what he did to escape those problems. In that case, Cudi tried hallucinogenics, and he then talks about how this wasn’t the correct way to deal with things and how it ended up destroying him more than anything else. Continuing with his will of sound experimentation, each of the acts is marked with different types of sonorities. For example, you’ll find psychedelic keyboards/guitars as well as Pink Floyd reference when he talks about his drug experimentations. While listening to it from top to bottom, you’ll feel the artistic intentions behind each act of the album, helping Cudi to express even better what he has to say.
If I’d have to give my favorite song on the album, It’d be a difficult task but I’d highlight My World. In this song, Cudi talks about how when he was younger he was different than the people around him. He had “No one to hang out with” and was said to be “too artsy, known to be a clown”. Cudi this part of his life to where he is now. Younger, he was persuaded that the “different world” he lived in would end up being his, the world that anyone else would find normal and not just him. A touching song, full of hope, that will let many younger listeners relate to what Cudi lived in his school years.
On a more general note, A top three songs in the album would give something like: Soundtrack 2 My Life, Day ‘N’ Nite (Nightmare), and Make Her Say (I Poke Her Face). Three songs I’d say are not as effective on the album are: Up Up & Away, T.G.I.F, and Hyyerr (but that’s just a personal top/flop 3, free to you to forge your own opinion on the topic). I recommend this album to anyone curious about new sonorities in Hip-Hop music and hungry for storytelling albums. It does really feel like Kid Cudi is rapping a movie to you, I do recommend not enabling the “shuffle” option for MOTM. You’ll appreciate the experience much more if you take an hour to fully listen to the album and go through all five acts in one listen, just like you wouldn’t leave halfway through a movie. I’d give MOTM an objective solid 8/10 for the reasons listed above. The little it’d need to achieve a perfect score would maybe be that the introductions to the acts could’ve been proposed as Interludes instead of a few sentences at the beginning and end of songs. I think that it could’ve helped to add even more to the concept of an “auditive movie”. I also found some features really useless like the two songs with King Chips, he just sings on the chorus and it doesn’t add much to the song in my opinion. These are just a few defaults on an album that, to me, is one of the best in 2000’s American Hip-Hop. A must-listen for all fans and curious of this genre and of the artist