Mr. Solo Dolo has been sending the same questions out into the earth, album after album, patiently waiting for an answer like – Am I just chosen to live a life spent in sadness?
Kid Cudi has been categorized as an “emo rapper,” but Man On the Moon III: The Chosen sounds anything but a moody evocation of a newcomer learning how to manage their darker emotions. Kid Cudi’s whole discography is his shadow work. He is far away from being a beginner when it comes to battling depression.
Kid Cudi isn’t an emo rapper, but a mental health advocate and it’s evident in the way he approaches his depression with vulnerability leading the way. Cudi often references this “gaping hole” throughout the album, that he worked hard throughout the years to mask from others. When you have been dealing with depression for most of your life, the bigger questions start to follow suit as well.
Cudi throughout the album is re-discovering and searching for the prospect of faith – to feel connected to a higher being that seems stronger than the sadness that seems to consume him. The belief that one is being spiritually protected and cared for, to stay rooted in one’s purpose – these contemplations and revelations are how Kid Cudi is finding the light.
On the track “Heaven on Earth,” Cudi raps, “The devil is out and he’s on to me, but my angels protectin my soul. Please watch over me, please watch over me (Heaven).”
Cudi’s curiosity towards the existence of a higher power quickly transforms into a feeling for him. He realizes he has felt both the sensation of the devil calling him at night – deep depression, sadness, temptations, and bad habits taking over at the stroke of midnight. Yet, he has also felt the light, the sun’s rays hitting his skin, fans crying out his own name like he is their very own god. His fans and the rap game regard him as their very own god – the chosen one.
In some songs he is indulging in the devil, others the angelic forces rise like a grand sunrise – his soul like that of the Phoenix, shaking off the ashes of lonely, hopeless nights.
The track “The Void” reveals Cudi’s secret route to inner peace. That “void” that we all know too well, the void of uncertainty and fear of the unknown – Cudi seems to be jumping into headfirst. He’d rather jump into the secrets that this life holds than be stuck in his head, letting the risk of living consume him.
He raps, “These nights, they save him from my hellhole. When it’s dark and my heartbeat echoes, yeah that’s just what I love, ooh. Heaven ain’t too far now.”
At the very end of this track, Cudi gets down on his knees and hums a prayer of gratitude. “Oh, I’m just trying to be the best man I can be, mmm-mmm. Thank you for listening. Thank you for never leaving me. It’s gon’ be okay. It’s gon’ be okay, I promise you.”
I think this message not only is extended out to the universe but in dedication to his fans – Cudi coming through in the form of the divine, re-assuring you that you are not in the least bit alone. Cudi has always been a guiding force for his fans, but he seems much more comfortable in recognizing himself as his own hero.
Production wise, we can see the light Cudi carries in his eyes translated into the spacey beats, as his voice flows into the track like he is summoning the divine. We see Cudi riding trap beats, releasing his freedom onto the track as if he just let the devil off the leash.
Cudi no longer wants to be boxed in as a “sad rapper.” Man On the Moon III: The Chosen shows him facing his sadness while also acknowledging the presence of light, of faith, of hope. Cudi is re-awakening to the right he has to be chosen to receive healing and happiness.