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Kid Cudi spotlight

Monthly music

Kid Cudi at the “Westworld” season three premiere. Courtesy of Kathy Hutchins.

At last, Monthly Music is here, the magazine edition! I have decided to dedicate this edition of Monthly Music solely to Kid Cudi, so you can fully understand and appreciate him the way that I do. I was also inspired to write about Cudi because of his documentary titled “A Man Named Scott” which was released Friday, Nov. 5. 

In the early 2000s, most of the popular rap music did not focus on  emotions, instead favoring rapper’s journeys to wealth and fame. Rapper SchoolBoy Q talks about this in Cudi’s documentary, noting how Cudi’s discussion of mental health was extremely influential to the future and development of rap. 

In 2007, Cudi was living in New York, experimenting with beats and wrote “Day ‘N’ Nite” with producer Dot da Genius. “Day ‘N’ Nite” blew up on MySpace and caught the attention of Kanye West. 

Later in 2008, Mescudi signed with West’s GOOD Music Label, prompting Cudi to produce one of the most influential hip-hop albums of all time: “Man on the Moon: the End of Day” (2009).

This album is a metaphor for Cudi’s thoughts and internal dialogue. It follows the story of a man who wants to achieve all of his hopes and dreams, but is caught in worry and doubt, shown through nightmares. The only escape from his own mind is going to the moon, but he isn’t able to due to his anxieties. Some of the tracks have narration at the beginning or end that lead into the next, explaining if the song is a pleasant dream, a nightmare, a progression, or a setback in Cudi’s emotions.

Through the post-release and tour of “Man on the Moon: the End of Day,” Cudi began abusing cocaine. 

The album “Man on the Moon: the End of Day” is home to Cudi’s most popular song, “Pursuit of Happiness.” In Cudi’s documentary, he discusses that “Pursuit of Happiness” is genuinely his most sad song, and Steve Aoki’s remix of the song entirely destroyed the original purpose. “Pursuit of Happiness” was made to call out to the broken and the lost, and with the upbeat remix, people ignored what the lyrics were actually saying.

Later in 2010, Cudi went to rehabilitation for the first time, and when he returned, he collaborated with Dot da Genius and released an album titled “WZRD” under the stage name WZRD. This album was more of a mixture between rock and rap, which foreshadowed another rock/rap album by Cudi in 2016. This was Cudi’s first album he made entirely sober, which he discusses through “Teleport 2 Me, Jamie,” where he feels a genuine love connection with a woman and is not blinded by drugs. 

Only one year later, Cudi released “Man on the Moon II: the Legend of Mr. Rager.” The difference between the first and second installment is that Cudi’s depression had gotten much worse. Cudi relapsed at the beginning of the production for this album, and discusses his abuse of cocaine and marijuana to escape his pain.

Following the release of “Man on the Moon II: the Legend of Mr. Rager,” Cudi released “Indicud,” and “KiD CuDi presents: SATELLITE FLIGHT: The Journey to Mother Moon,” and in 2016 “Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven.” All three of these albums discuss how smoking marijuana has been his only escape since he was sober of cocaine.

Throughout Cudi’s documentary, “A Man Named Scott,” he talks about his discography, his mental health, and how each album displays those emotions. When the interviewer asks him to talk about “Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven,” Cudi says, “I don’t want to talk about one song on ‘Speedin’ Bullet.’ That was the worst time of my life.” After the release of this album, Cudi was arrested for cocaine use and went back to rehab.

In the documentary, Cudi discusses that after rehab he wanted to take a break from music, for at least a couple years until he could fully recover. However, Kanye West had the idea for “KIDS SEE GHOSTS,” the long awaited, official collaborative album between Kanye and Cudi. The most notable song on this album is titled “Reborn,” in which Cudi sings about feeling reborn after overcoming drug use and Kanye outlines  coming to terms with being bipolar.

Afterwards, Cudi took a break for two years, and then released the third piece of the “Man on the Moon” trilogy, “Man on the Moon III: the Chosen.” This album discusses the progress that Cudi has made in his mental health, like finding healthy ways to cope.

In the documentary, Cudi states “I’m done putting out the sad songs. That life is behind me. I’m on a new path of growth, and I really do feel reborn.”

This mindset is displayed in “Man on the Moon III: the Chosen” through songs like “the Void,” or “the Pale Moonlight,” where he discusses the progress he’s made with his mental health and how he will never go back to the state he was in. 

I hope I was able to educate you on how Kid Cudi correlates his emotional health with his music, and maybe now you can see why I love him so much. Although I wish I could show you some videos from his performance, you can listen to Cudi on your own. And, since I love my readers so much, I’ve crafted a list of Cudi recommendations for specific moods. 

My Cudi recommendations: 

SADNESS: “Man on the Moon” or “Pursuit of Happiness” 

HAPPINESS: “love.”

RELAXATION: “By Design” or “Red Eye”

EXCITEMENT: “Enter Galactic (Love Connection Part I)” or “Surfin’”

WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL HEARD: “GHOST!”

LONELINESS: “Solo Dolo Pt. III”

EMPTINESS: “Reborn,” “Mr. Rager,” or “The End”

WHEN YOU WANT TO CONQUER: “The Pale Moonlight” or “Heart of a Lion (Kid Cudi Theme Music)”

WHEN SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS YOU: “Soundtrack 2 My Life”

WHEN YOU FEEL PRODUCTIVE: “The Adventures of Moon Man and Slim Shady” or “Sky Might Fall”

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