Kid Cudi is one of the most unique artists of recent times. He’s classified as a rapper, but he’s definitely from the left-field breed. Ultimately, Scott Mescudi is incredibly eclectic, and for hardcore fans, they wouldn’t have the artist without his eclectic spirit. Over the course of five years, the Kid has managed to release four studio albums (a fifth as part of WZRD). All four are quite captivating in their own way but let’s face it – they can always be ranked by level of importance, quality, and creativity. Coincidently, personally, I rank Cudi’s four albums in the order they were released.
Following the new ‘shock value’ trend of releasing albums, Kid Cudi joined the bandwagon by surprising everyone with his fourth album, Satellite Flight. Compared to his previous efforts, Satellite Flight might be the rapper’s oddest effort yet. Of its ten tracks, four are instrumental, or 40% of the album. To be a ‘hip-hop’ album, that is definitely a healthy portion. The standouts, such as “Going To The Ceremony” or title track “Satellite Flight” are reminiscent of Cudi’s work on Indicud from the previous year. Ultimately a solid effort despite feeling more ‘mixtape’ than studio LP, Satellite Flight is the rapper’s fourth best album, but contextually, it is still a worthwhile listen, particularly for hardcore fans.
3) Indicud - 2013
Indicud was much more anticipated than Satellite Flight; it had been three years since Cudi’s sophomore album bowed. Indicud featured more production from Kid Cudi himself, something that some were indifferent to. Overall, Indicud was a shade less enthralling than Man On The Moon II was, but not too far off base. Tracks like the confident “Unf**kwittable”, The Kendrick Lamar assisted “Solo Dolo, Pt. 2”, and “Girls” were bright spots. The Father John Misty sampling “Young Lady” was interesting as well, not to mention “Just As I Am” and “Beez”. At 71 minutes though, Kid Cudi was perhaps a bit too profound. Still, there were plenty of highlights.
Man On The Moon II was a solid continuation of the excellence of Cudi’s debut, Man On The Moon: End of Day. Like Indicud is to Man on the Moon II, Man on the Moon II is a hair less notable than Cudi’s debut album. That said there is plenty of ‘meat’ for one to sink their teeth into. “REVOFEV” is incredibly bright and unique, while the Mary J. Blige assisted “Don’t Play This Song” is incredibly emotional and honest (“Wanna know what it sound like when I’m not on drugs / Please, please don’t play this song”). Then there’s a whole joint (no pun intended) dedicated to Mary Jane entitled “Marijuana” (“Pretty green bud all in my blunt, oh I need it”), the cocky and confident “Mojo So Dope” and of course the infectious, cleverly titled “Ashin’ Kusher”. Ultimately, Man on the Moon II is stacked with plenty of songs that open the door to deep analysis and personal revelations into Scott Mescudi.
1) Man On The Moon: End of Day - 2009
When I first heard Man On The Moon: End of Day, I considered it to be one of the oddest albums I’d ever heard. Even so, it was brilliantly odd. Rather than getting your standard rap effort, Man on the Moon: End of Day was conceptual and completely left of center. It wasn’t an album for everybody, particularly if your idea of hip-hop is what pops in the club, but I considered it one of the more notable albums of the past decade. “Day ‘N’ Night” would be the breakthrough Kid Cudi would need to get commercial footing, even if the track was by far extraterrestrial. Still it would peak at no. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Make Her Say” would give Kid Cudi another hit, pairing him with Common and Kanye West, not to mention an incredibly-timely (in 2009) Lady Gaga sample (“Poker Face”). “The Pursuit of Happiness” brought some positivity despite dissatisfaction, led by it’s irresistible hook: “I’m on the pursuit of happiness and I know / everything that shines ain’t always gonna be gold / hey, I’ll be fine once I get it, I’ll be good.”
The list of standouts could go on and on; Man on The Moon was just that good. No matter how consistent successive albums have been by Cudi, his first is truly his masterwork. All hail King Wzrd’s best.