‘Man on the Moon III: The Chosen’: Kid Cudi’s journey toward self understanding


Sam Spratt

To conclude the legacy built over countless years and albums, Cudi returns with the final installment of his Man On the Moon series which covers the trials and tribulations of his life.

When considering the creation of psychedelic and experimental sounds in the hip-hop scene, the name of one artist comes to mind: Kid Cudi. Cudi is known for accompanying this melodical style with issues surrounding mental health, primarily in his three “Man On The Moon” albums. After leaving this album series alone for almost 10 years, Cudi finally completed this anticipated album trilogy by releasing “Man On The Moon III: The Chosen.”

Similarly to the previous couple of “Man On The Moon” albums, this album is divided into four distinct acts (listed in sequential order): “Return to Madness,” “The Rager,” “Heart of Rose Gold” and finally, “Powers.” Each of these acts are distinguishable from one another by having distinct themes and this serves as a guide to the meaning and emotion behind Cudi’s lyrics. 

In “Return to Madness,” Cudi begins to explore his mind and the internal issues he faces. In particular, he talks about the depression that he has been dealing with throughout his life. An example of this struggle can be found on the opening track “Tequila Shots” when Cudi raps about how he “Can’t stop this war in [him],” or that he’s constantly trying to determine whether to live or die. It seems as if he has very little control over his depression and how he believes it’s something that is consuming his identity. 

Descending further into Cudi’s headspace, “The Rager” introduces the factors that contribute to his depression. He mentions in the first track “Damaged” that he’s a “damaged man,” and later links this to his fascination with drug and alcohol consumption. Cudi exposes the consequences of his troublesome lifestyle, which indicates he lives in a state of shame and hopelessness. 

But, right as Cudi reaches his lowest point, he finds the strength to embrace who he is and the perspective it has given him in “Heart of Rose Gold.” With one of the first upbeat melodies on the album, “Sad People” is all about Cudi becoming more introspective and his fighting to continue living. He knows the condition he’s in isn’t perfect, however he’ll do his best to keep moving forward. Rather than succumbing to his depression, Cudi chooses to recognize the importance of his self-worth and existence. 

In a bold fashion, the fourth and final act, “Powers,” ends the album on a high note with Cudi feeling optimistic and thankful for his life. In his final track, “Lord I Know”, which reflects the internal strength Cudi has discovered, is a sentiment toward the elements within Cudi’s life that make him feel appreciative of his life. Compared to the start of the album, Cudi seems to be a different person, as he no longer feels controlled by his depression. This could also signify that the creation of the album was a key component to helping him cope and express the turmoil of emotions within him, which is what ultimately saved him. 

While Cudi’s “Man On The Moon III: The Chosen” seemed to end in the typical “happily ever after” fashion, its purpose was to demonstrate the struggle and perseverance it takes to finally reach that point. It highlights the importance of undergoing a battle within ourselves in order to overcome internal challenges and to remember who we’re fighting that battle for. If we can do this, Cudi shows us that we will view our struggles from a new viewpoint and emerge stronger than ever before.