A Look Back: Revisiting The Man on the Moon

Kid Cudi’s 2009 classic, Man on the Moon: End of Day, is admired by countless fans as a modern-day masterpiece. It has influenced countless musicians in today’s era and paved the way for the emergence of rapper in the internet age such as Drake, Lil B, Childish Gambino, and A$AP Rocky, and Travis Scott to gain their fame and glory. Though Cudi’s career has been filled with highs and lows, both personally and musically, many still revere the original Man on the Moon as one of the best Hip Hop albums of all-time. With all that being said, it’s worth diving into Kid Cudi, first album and seeing what made this concept album so special and why it still holds up today as one of the best albums of the past decade.

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The story of the Man on the Moon follows Scott Mescudi, aka Kid Cudi, on a journey throughout his dreams as he experiences feelings of loneliness, depression, drug use, night terrors, love, happiness, and strength, through 15 unforgettable tracks. As the story is narrated by Chicago-born, and highly-acclaimed emcee, Common, Cudi takes the listener through a Shakespearean-like five act story.


The first act End of Day, contains the tracks, In My Dreams, Soundtrack 2 My Life, and Simple As… and served as an introduction to the then new and up-in-coming emcee. Specifically the song, Soundtrack 2 My Life, details Cudi’s life growing up and introduces to listener to some of the struggles he would face throughout the album. While this is one of the most gloomy tracks on the album, the bouncy instrumental assists Cudi in turning it from a story of grief and loss into a survivor’s tale of grit and inner-strength. Rapping lines about the death of his father, his family not understanding him, and doing drugs to compensate with these negative feelings are touched on to “bring them [his issues] to the light” for the listener. this track stands out throughout the entire album as Cudi stands out in the world and uses himself as a figure of bravery and proving one can prevail and survive through even the worst circumstances. 

The second act, Rise of the Night Terrors, serves as one of the most intense arcs of the album as the listener is immediately plunged into Cudi’s first Nightmare with the track Solo Dolo. This song touches more closely on Cudi’s severe loneliness he deals with, and how he attempts escapes these feelings within his dreams. While hitting one of his most intense lows, one of Cudi’s most inspiring songs on the album, Heart of A Lion, comes through affirming that no matter what happens in life, nothing will permanently drag him down. Following this, the listener is jarringly pulled down into another dark scene with the track, My World. Another song of isolation and Cudi’s struggle trying to make it into the music industry. This arc specifically is used to detail the raw emotions and thoughts Cudi was going through in a particular time in his life and how strongly they affected him. Similar to, Soundtrack 2 My Life, these songs are more examples of Cudi’s courage to touch on these emotionally-honest moments for his audience.

Following this slope down, the listener is dropped into the third act of the album, Taking a trip, in which Cudi becomes the Lonely Stoner in the track, Day ‘N’ Night. He deals with struggle and conflicts in the song Sky Might Fall, and attempts to find a connection of love in, Enter Galactic. While Day ‘N’ Night serves as another nightmare that describes a lost and stagnant Cudi who makes it through the lonely nights by abusing drugs, the latter two tracks bring more of an upbeat and optimistic look in life on life and love.This can be seen as a turning point within the album of where Cudi beings to slowly detach himself a world of depression and saddness, and into one of more potential and uplifting moments.

 However, just as the album begins to make a turn upward, Cudi once again becomes trapped within another nightmare with the track Alive, from the fourth act of the album, Stuck. The song Alive is a dark and dreary scene where Cudi portrays himself as a beast within the night. The following song, Cudi Zone, is about his search for peace of mind as he fights with himself to feel alright. While the next track, Make Her Say, may not do much to serve the overall plot of the story, it stands out as a fun aside. The first featured verses on the album from Kanye West, and Common himself add a different flavor to the fourth act that’s worth checking out. The last song of the act, Pursuit of Happiness, serves as a grim, and bittersweet song where Cudi speaks on his night terrors, and fighting for happiness.

The last act of the album, New Beginning, add another featured verse from the rapper, Chipp Tha Ripper, with the song, Hyyerr, which contains one of the mellowest instrumentals and lyrics on the album. Lastly, the song, Up Up & Away, illustrates Cudi’s overall evolution throughout the album where he talks about his happiness to see how far he’s come, and how he’s found peace with himself. In all, the last song is a summation of the feelings Cudi has bared on his chest throughout the album as he uses these experiences to grow and move forward in life.

At its essence, Man on the Moon: The End of Day, is a coming of age story. Cudi uses himself as the “lonely hero” who takes the listener on a journey of emotional and mental growth throughout the album. Within this journey, the listener sees Cudi as he evolves from someone dependent on his dreams and the use of drugs for escape and closure, to man willing to accept new challenges, and conquer his fears in order to reach new heights of success and happiness. Although many of the same issues from the beginning of the album are still prevalent by the ending, Cudi uses his uplifting songs to show how he chooses to deal with these particular issues in a more positive manner. Because Man on The Moon d
etails his experiences of highs and lows within his life and his dreams, his album is able to attain a level of emotional honesty, strength, and growth, not commonly found within Hip Hop music today, and that is why Kid Cudi has stood out in the music industry for years and how Cudi created one of the best Hip Hop albums of all-time.  


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