“Man on the Moon III: The Chosen” Album Review

Leo Saperstein

Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi has released the highly anticipated Man on the Moon III: The Chosen.

In his first addition to the “Man on the Moon” series in 10 years, Kid Cudi dives, once again, into the hip-hop genre, utilizing strong instrumental work, heartfelt and expressive lyrics and perceptive storytelling.

Cudi arranged a craveable sound with a high level of production that shows interesting similarities and differences to the first two albums of the MOTM series.

Throughout the album, Cudi weaves an insightful emotional through-line that guides a journey through the ups and downs of his mental health. Out of the total 18 tracks, few fail to hit home, while the rest contribute to a complete story.

Songs like “Elsie’s Baby Boy (flashback),” “The Void” and “Lovin’ Me” stand out as lyrical and musical achievements, each offering another chapter to the Cudi story. Others like “Sept. 16,” “Another Day” and “4 Da Kidz” strengthen the album and set the bar high.

“Elsie’s Baby Boy (flashback)”, beginning with dialogue from the famous coming of age movie, “Stand By Me”, immediately places listeners in their childhood shoes, listening reminiscently and eagerly. The lyrics illustrate a complicated upbringing with a single mother and a struggling, young child protagonist. Meanwhile, the repetition of the atmospheric, bright guitar part adds to the nostalgia of the piece.

The story continues with “The Void,” the echoes and muffled audio of which contribute to a disorienting yet comforting feeling of expansion. “The Void” is the track of this album that feels most like the iconic songs of the earlier editions of the MOTM series. The infectious chorus and rhythm are reminiscent of Cudi’s Mr. Rager from the 2010 album, Man on the Moon II.

Through the void and into the issue of self love, Cudi, alongside Phoebe Bridgers, guides listeners into “Lovin’ Me.” “Lovin’ Me” sees Cudi discussing his past experiences with motivation and internal struggle, all through an even back and forth with Bridgers, the harmonies of which are soothing and honest.

Man on the Moon III: The Chosen is definitely a top-notch rap album of 2020 that, while dealing with serious issues, uses music to create a motivational effect and to tell the personal story of Cudi, his experiences and how his vision of the MOTM series has changed over the past 10 years. The story is well told, the songs are strongly written and produced and the effect is satisfying.