Kid Cudi’s Man on the Moon II was released in a year where rap album sequels were common, but unlike most of the competition, this sequel has a very strong link to its predecessor. It’s actually the outcome of the alt-rap star’s breakthrough debut as it deals with fame, and Cudi’s admittedly unwise way of handling it, liquid cocaine. As a result, you have to care quite a bit about this Mr. Solo Dolo character for Man on the Moon II to fully work its magic. Cudi’s opening line “You are now in the world that I’m ruining” is a spot-on warning as the album slowly spirals down into sourness and regret, but just like on his debut, the soundscape is spacy and far-reaching, making this interstellar therapy session a much more interesting transmission. At its best, it’s fascinating, like when rapper Cage and indie singer St. Vincent whirl in a paranoid black hole dubbed “Maniac,” while Cudi issues more warnings with “I love the darkness, yea, I’d like to marry it”. “Don’t Play This Song,” with Mary J. Blige, puts it even more bluntly with “Wanna know what it sounds like when I’m not on drugs?/Please, please don’t play this song” while the great “Wild’n Cuz I’m Young” tells snooping blogs they shouldn’t bother, he’ll tell his own story. Elsewhere, he seems admirably open to the idea of disgrace, but those who grow tired of the star’s indulgences will have to wait around for the out of place yet welcome numbers, like the Kanye West and rock guitar feature “Erase Me” or the dream pop influenced “Marijuana” which runs 4:20 for a reason. In the end, the lonely stoner of his debut seemed to have a wider appeal, but the contradictory, troubled artist presented here will give the Cudi faithful much more to ponder. Everything else is equal, so skeptically ease yourself in or take the full dive accordingly.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries