In December, amidst the chaos of quarantined holidays, a global pandemic, and political uproar, there was a highly anticipated album released. One that some (myself included) thought might never come. After receiving Man on the Moon: End of Day in 2009 and the sequel, Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager in 2010, fans of Scott Mescudi eagerly awaited the third installment of the series. Instead we received albums that didn’t fully satisfy (Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’ in 2016 arguably did, but I digress). Scott, known as the artist Kid Cudi, left us wondering if we’d ever hear that Man on the Moon we fell in love with again. We were like the Israelites wandering through a musical desert complaining about these in-between albums as if they were subpar quail and manna from heaven. But in 2020, of all years, we reached the Promised Land.

Man on the Moon III: The Chosen was released on December 11, 2020. After years of wondering if the album would ever come, the Cudi fanbase received what they’d desired for so long. And he didn’t disappoint. Cudi was able to mix a balance of all his different styles from over the years. There were plenty of well written raps, classic Cudi style beats, and, of course, an abundance of hums. But more importantly, he gave us himself.

As usual, Cudi was vulnerable and honest on his album. He has never shied away from expressing himself in whatever state he finds himself in. In Man on the Moon: End of Day we learn about Cudi growing up without a father, being mocked and ridiculed as a loser at school, and the idea of being ‘solo dolo.’ Cudi’s music has long been for those feeling lost, lonely, and rejected. So much so that on his Indicud album he has a track entitled “Lord of the Sad and Lonely.”

When we get to Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager, we find out that Cudi has fallen deeper into the darkness. He’s picked up a cocaine addiction and grown in his talks of suicide. This album features a track entitled “Don’t Play This Song” with a hook that goes like this:

Want to know what it sounds like when I’m not on drugs?
Please, please don’t play this song

Of course, with Mary J. Blige as the feature it doesn’t come across as dark as it sounds, but the words are still there. The album also features other songs like “Trapped in my Mind” with lyrics about the poisonous state of mind he finds himself in. There’s also “All Along,” where he discusses his feelings that he’ll always be alone. We also see sprinklings of a desire for change, for something different. On “Don’t Play This Song,” he says:

Yeah stuck in my hell,
Writing my mom and I ain’t doing so well,
Lord let me in, I feel like he’s my only friend

But after that, the music declines in quality and we no longer see the Man on the Moon. Cudi falls deeper into the hole. Eventually checking himself into rehab in 2016 for depression and suicidal urges. From there we see something peculiar to say the least. Cudi finds himself closely acquainted with the one and only Kanye West.

Now, these two were friends previously, of course, considering Kid Cudi was an artist signed to Kanye West’s music label. But they were being seen together in loving embrace and performing together as well. Eventually they even released an album together: Kids See Ghosts. Cudi has lyrics on here that show his mindset has dramatically changed. He sings this hook:

I’m so, I’m so reborn, I’m movin’ forward
Keep movin’ forward, keep movin’ forward
Ain’t no stress on me, Lord, I’m movin’ forward

And:

Lord shine your light on me, save me, please (Hmm-mm-mm)
Stay strong

It should be noted, this is during a period where Kanye was extremely disliked and controversial (which could also be said for most of his career, but this was a peak period in 2018). What could make someone like Cudi get so close to someone like Kanye? Especially when no one else was desiring to be close to someone like Kanye. Perhaps, in the lowest of lows, Cudi has found a grace that, after receiving it, he can do nothing but extend it to other lowly sinners.

After trekking through a brief history of Kid Cudi’s journey, we finally land back at the long awaited album, Man on the Moon III: The Chosen. Has he figured it all out? Has he finally become what he is meant to be? Is he no longer lonely? Is he no longer struggling? Is he completely sanctified and righteous, in no need of grace anymore? We find out Cudi still deals with the same issues. He discusses how even when life gets better, he is still plagued by the demons of the past. But it appears he has a new way of dealing with it. In the past, he dealt with things differently, as he describes on his song “Marijuana” from Man on the Moon II; weed was there for him when no one else was:

Never left me lonely
It’s gon’ be okay
Trust me, it’s gon’ be okay

Years later, he has now switched the lyrics up on his latest song, “The Void”:

Oh, God, oh, God, thank you
You’ve been in my dreams, you’ve been in my dreams
Oh, I’m just trying to be the best man I can be, mmm-mmm
Thank you for listening
Thank you for never leaving me
It’s gon’ be okay
It’s gon’ be okay

I’m not arguing a case that Kid Cudi has been hunted down by the hound of heaven. Frankly, I’ll listen to him no matter what. But what I am arguing for is the power behind the message of a God who never leaves. A God who always listens. A God who is with you through the cocaine addictions, the suicidal thoughts, and the loneliness. A God who is truly the Lord of the sad and lonely. Who is truly a friend of sinners like Kanye, Cudi, or you and me. A Lord who does let you in, who does shine his light on us, and who does work in the business of being born again. Maybe, as Cudi hopes as well, it truly is going to be okay, and we can hum along joyfully with him.