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Kid Cudi shoots for the moon

When you think of Cleveland native Scott Ramon Segring Mescudi, also known as "Kid Cudi," you probably think of his recent projects with Kanye West and Jay-Z, as well as his 2008 radio single "Day ‘N Nite" featuring Jim Jones. His full-length debut album, "Man on the Moon:The End of Day," embodies a new element of hip-hop that many people believe is a necessity.
At its best, the album is a record built more for headphone listening than nightclubbing; an interior monologue built on a foundation of Halloween howling beats, gothic keyboards and melancholy strings.
Kid Cudi is not afraid to rap about consciousness or investigate the vivid images from his imagination. Cudi sounds like no other voice in hip-hop, a maverick whose debut is sure to tilt heads if not bum-rush the charts.This unique production makes one believe he is really a "man on the moon." Jumping from reality to the fantastical, Cudi creates an entirely different world in his raps, far from the streets of Cleveland
The former film student expands hip-hop's language by exploring life in the inner city the way others focus on the action on the street. Cudi, now a hipster, contemplates his depression in sing-song rhymes set within spacious electronic sound beds.
Cudi draws most of his material from his personal problems. For example, his father's death and his own struggles as a teen preoccupy his mind, as do his everyday attempts to inspire himself to be what he calls a lion and not the paranoid insomniac he nicknames Mr. Solo Dolo. Cudi jumps back and forth between these two split-personalities which are a reflection of himself.
Hooks are embedded in every song, from the hasty sample of Lady Gaga in "Make Her Say" to "Simple As…" which is a cross between elegant classical music and mainstream pop. The narrative song introducers listeners to a protagonist who is "a lonely stoner" consigned to his own "Dark Side of the Moon," a serious concept which is weighed down by some silly in-between songs that are performed for the audience by popular artist Common.
Many rappers have a tendency to be very repetitive or stick to a few common themes in their album. Rappers shouldn't count on receiving attention from listeners in a vast hip-hop market if they only stick to common topics.
Cudi is an exception with the only consistent element being his voice. His unhurried nasal flow is easily recognizable. He's at his best when he lets the fog lift on more extroverted cuts like the funny "Make Her Say" and "Enter Galactic." Let's hope Kid Cudi finds a few more ladies to take into space on his next journey; they seem to help him get beyond his habits and make incredible records such as this.
Toneisha Friday can be reached at


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