Kid Cudi has always had a me-against-the-world mentality, but the Cleveland native's demons pretty much take over his second album. The distorted synths and heartbeat drums that back the rapper on many of Man on the Moon II's tracks carry you into the 26-year-old Cudi's muddled mind, a place where he battles cocaine addiction and loneliness. He's at his best writing melodic diatribes about these struggles ("Don't Play This Song," "Mojo So Dope"), but Cudi's self-pitying attitude is almost too much to bear — especially since it's interrupted only for the occasional love song to his beloved weed. Cudi also doesn't seem to have much interest in rhyming here. When he does step up to the mic, his trademark mumbling flow is one-dimensional and often inaudible. Mary J. Blige and Cee Lo make strong cameos, and there are a few inspired bursts here and there, but Man on the Moon II is painstakingly slow and redundant. — Jordan Zirm
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