Kid Cudi is one of my favorite artists ever. I still think Man on the Moon, Vol. II: The Legend of Mr. Rager is one of the most ambitious and brilliant forays into the mind of a person struggling with mental health issues. It’s got layers. When Kid Cudi decided that he needed to step away and get his mind right, I was happy for him because sometimes you just need to get away.
Kanye West is Kanye West. No matter how ridiculous his “real time” Twitter philosophy book is, we always know that when he drops (June 1 for his solo project, according to his Twitter), we’re going to get some game-changing art. He never disappoints. I hate Yeezus and can still acknowledge it for being brilliant. I may never listen again and I think it’s his worst album, but I also think Kanye’s worst is better than most people’s best. Kanye gon’ Kanye.
So the fact that Kid Cudi and Kanye are releasing an album together on June 8, as per Kanye West’s Twitter, under the moniker Kids See Ghost? Shut my mouth wide open. I’m so here for it.
I happen to think that Kid Cudi brings out some of the best in Kanye. I cannot be unconvinced that Cudi influenced Kanye’s shift on 808s & Heartbreaks. I feel like he heard “Day ’N’ Nite” and his life changed. And by “he,” I mean Kanye. He even had Cudders on “Welcome to Heartbreak.”
When Cudi shows up on records, he elevates them all. I’ve long held that Kid Cudi is one of the best accessories in hip-hop. You add him to your record, and it becomes 10 times better. I truly believe this. I will be a Cudi truther/defender till my last breath.
Despite this, my biggest criticism of Cudi has always been that I’m not sure he’s as talented as he is ambitious. He has grand ideas and he’s talented, but he’s so much more of an artist than I think he can pull off without a strong producer to bring out the best of him. Enter Kanye West. Think about “Gorgeous.” Or “All of the Lights.” Cudi was present on those songs in small doses and unforgettable. Entirely.
I think that with Kanye directing traffic and figuring out where to let Cudi do his thing and just express and create, we might get an album that taps into the introspective mind of Cudi with the musical brilliance of Kanye, and who knows where we end up?
I want Kid Cudi to be one of those artists people talk about when they talk about expanding genres and creating not just hip-hop, but music and art. I’m not saying he’s Kanye; there can only be one. But I think Cudi is one artist who needs a really strong producer to help bring out the best of him so that we may all truly see out his vision, and that’s what I hope we get in a Cudi-and-Kanye project.
Some producers have that ability. When I think of rappers like MURS, his projects with 9th Wonder stand out because of how focused they were. And MURS has lots of great projects. Or even how Kendrick Lamar keeps the vast majority of his production in-house because they know his tendencies and strengths.
I think Kanye knows Cudi’s strengths (why else would he have been around for the past decade) and how to make music that transcends.
Do I think we’re about to get the greatest album of all time? Who knows? What I do think is that we’re going to finally get an album that I hope taps into the best of Cudi and Kanye, that ends up being what I’ve always thought they could make together.
Besides, J. Cole went platinum with no features, so anything is possible, right?
KOD. April 20.