Album Review: Kid Cudi – Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon3 min read
Kid Cudi is a dreamer. One that looks up to the skies and longs for space investigation. His solo albums have always had an intergalactic theme to them, with Cudi throwing up more space jams than Michael Jordan. His latest exploration, however, takes it to the next level… or the next galaxy perhaps.
Stylised as KiD CuDi presents SATELLITE FLIGHT: The Journey to Mother Moon, his fourth release is an experiment in instrumentation and genre development, as well as spelling and capitalisation. Initially known to Mother Universe as Scott Mescudi, he first hit the rap scene with his 2008 mixtape A Kid Named Cudi. It pricked the ears of many in the industry, including Yeezus himself, Kanye West. West picked him up on his GOOD Music label, and from there Cudi dropped his breakout single Day ‘n’ Nite, which also featured on his debut album Man on the Moon: The End of Day in 2009. The next year he released the sequel album Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr Rager, and with both these albums hitting gold status, the theme was beginning to consolidate.
The spaceman came back into orbit for a rock project, WZRD, before releasing his third hip-hop album in 2013, Indicud. You might have thought he had left the space theme behind until closing track The Flight of the Moon Man. In hindsight that established where the next record would take off, and for what was initially meant to be an EP, once it was time to liftoff the writing rocket couldn’t be stopped.
Satellite Flight unleashes the expected straight away, with opening track Destination: Mother Moon doused in synth layering, creating an eerie alien landscape. What is surprising though is that it turns out to be an instrumental, one of four on the album that laser cut the collection into several parts, which manage to stay harmonious with a strong theme. Following tracks Going to the Ceremony and Satellite Flight both commence with old audio clips discussing space life and the universe, before opening into rockier guitars and distorted layering respectively, along with Cudi’s own style of free rapping and quasi-singing.
After more instrumental explorations, Balmain Jeans saunters in with Raphael Saaqid in tow to add sexy soul, with suggestive intergalactic references to a special kind of ‘zooming’ whilst a strong horn section adds depth and emphasis. Too Bad I Have to Destroy You Now sees Cudi launching heat on the haters amongst twinkling stars synths; seemingly he has more doubters than the moon landing. The record is brought back to earth with a hip-hop beat and piano keys, before a spacey instrumental outro leads to Internal Bleeding. The title suggests a brutal affair, but it is a surprisingly low-key track, allowing Cudi to showcase the emotion he is able to convey in his rapping. Final track Troubled Boy has the least gravity, with not much more than an acoustic guitar and Cudi’s softer side of his vocals. It echoes into the abyss before the chord is abruptly pulled and all is silent, leaving you to ponder what comes next.
Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon sees Kid Cudi continue his abstract brand of rap, floating ever further away from the established atmosphere of hip-hop. This latest offering is intense and relatively concise, but has enabled him to display his production skills in creating atmospheric synths and sharp drum beats beneath his distinct vocal styling. The Buzz Lightyear wannabe believes that it’s his best work yet, but the cliffhanger ending is “to be continued”, presumably by a third part in Man on the Moon series.