The protégé who helped Kanye West create the self-pitying singsong style of last fall’s uneven 808s & Heartbreak develops that sound to much greater effect on his own debut, Man on the Moon: The End of Day. The album surrounds his smash single ”Day ‘N’ Nite” with an arcane story line, but you won’t have to follow it to be impressed by Kid Cudi’s introspective persona, ear for melody, and eclectic taste in beats — including two excellent collabs with the electro duo Ratatat. Cudi turns out to be that rarest of rap phenomena: a hyped upstart who really does represent a promising new phase in the genre’s evolution. A?
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