Kid Cudi Man on the Moon: The End of Day
(G.O.O.D. Music / Universal Motown)
ESSENTIAL “Enter Galactic (Love Connection Part I)’’
The premise is that Kid Cudi’s not on the same planet as other rappers. The truth is that he’s not in the same genre. “Man on the Moon: The End of Day,’’ his long-awaited debut album, is a lot of things. It’s spacey, adventurous, and ridiculously intriguing if only because it’s so different.
But it’s not rap. And that’s not a bad thing. Following Andre 3000’s “The Love Below’’ and Kanye West’s “808s & Heartbreak’’ in a subset of experimental and emotional hip-hop, “Man on the Moon’’ might be the most fully-formed of them all. What he lacks in pure rapping ability Cudi more than makes up for with infectious melodies and powerful hooks. It’s more Fall Out Boy than Fabolous.
Using as a skeleton his 2008 mix-tape, “A Kid Named Cudi,’’ which spawned the megahit “Day N Nite,’’ Cudi fleshes out that sound perfectly through rich production by Emile, Plain Pat, MGMT, and Ratatat. The concept of splitting the album into five acts and 15 scenes comes together without getting in the way of the music. Woozy wrist-slitters like “Solo, Dolo (Nightmare)’’ are chased by the bouncy liveliness of “Enter Galactic (Love Connection Part I),’’ and it’s easy to follow along as the emotions ebb and flow.
Supposedly Cudi and West made a lot of music together with sci-fi movies playing silently in the studio, and listening to “Man on the Moon’’ pretty much corroborates it. It’s an album in its own orbit. (Out tomorrow) JULIAN BENBOW