20 Watts

20 Watts’ Best of 2009: #8 Kid Cudi’s Man on the Moon: The End of Day by JohnCassillo

Kid Cudi's Man on the Moon: The End of Day is #8 on our Best of 2009 list

PREVIEW: VISIT Kid Cudi’s MySpace
TOP TRACK: “Soundtrack 2 My Life” 

Through fearless experimentation and superior producing, Kid Cudi went from mixtape phenom to premier hip-hop artist in 2009. His debut, Man on the Moon: The End of Day cannot be overstated for what it is– innovative and introspective rap at its finest. Yes, it’s a lot of praise to heap on an artist’s inaugural effort, but it’s not every year that hip-hop sees such an enterprising new face. 

Avoiding the struggle for originality faced by most up-and-comers in rap today, Cudi’s first full-length embraces a style all its own. There’s very little preening and posturing a la friends Jay-Z and  Kanye West. Instead, Cudi’s approach is more subdued– directly addressing his own insecurities, while embracing the circumstances which they’ve wrought. On every track, he addresses both the positives and negatives of each situation, playing heavily into the Jekkyl/Hyde, day/night juxtaposition that makes up the bulk of the album (save the made-for-radio “Make Her Say”). 

On top of his atypical lyrical approach, Cudi can also boast some of the most enterprising experimentation of the year. Forgoing the pounding club beats and classic rock samples running rampant in today’s hip-hop, Cudi’s brand is a cohesive sonic collaboration of pop and electronic elements. Working extensively with the likes of MGMT and Ratatat, his results show not just a surface knowledge of electronic  music, but a comprehensive and extensive tutorial on the successful merger of these elements with hip-hop. 

Yes, the aforementioned Jay-Z and Kanye have recorded “pop” albums in the past two years, but not quite like this. Cudi uses rap as a vehicle for the proliferation of electronic pop experimentation on Man on the Moon: The End of Day, and the result is a breath of fresh air for both rap and music as a whole. 

— John Cassillo


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