Welcome To {Fan} Heartbreak: Kanye West & Kid Cudi

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Let me start this by saying: I am a Kanye West & Kid Cudi stan.

I started smoking weed around the time period when ‘Man On The Moon: The End of Day’ came out… 7 years ago. Needless to say, I had no choice but to become a Kid Cudi stan.

A couple days ago, Cudi went on a Kanye-esque tweet rant sharing his feelings on the current state of the music industry.

 

It didn’t end there. As a huge fan of both Kanye & Cudi, this broke my heart.

I’m sure you all can relate. It was such a moment of joyous fandom seeing those two together dancing to the debut of ‘Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1’ at the TLOP listening party at MSG.

 

After Cudi separated from G.O.O.D. Music for his own reasons, there were always rumors that the two had undisclosed beef. Oddly enough, Kid Cudi was featured on ‘Yeezus’ on the song ‘Guilt Trip’, which was well after his departure from the label. He explained that song was old and just a reference he did. Kid Cudi felt “underused” on the song, which led fans to believe the beef was official, and the two may never work together again. They didn’t, until Cudi’s voice appeared on two songs on ‘The Life of Pablo’.

All seemed well. The two artists who brought the best out of each other were back together, not only on good terms (no pun intended), but working in the studio again.

Let me remind you new kids. Music, hip hop specifically, as we know and understand it today would not be remotely the same without the work Kid Cudi has put in.

Let’s go back to 2008. Kid Cudi released his debut mixtape ‘A Kid Named Cudi’ and not too long after, his music was shown to Kanye West by his manager at the time, Plain Pat. ‘Day n Nite’ was one of the hottest records of the underground, and Kanye saw the undoubted potential in Cudi with his different rapping/singing style.

Next thing Kid Cudi knew, he was on a plane to Hawaii to hit the studio with Kanye West. As the story goes, Kanye gave him a jump drive of about 8 beats, and Cudi said 7 of them we’re used on the album. After about 10 minutes of vibing to the beats, Kanye eagerly interrupts asking if he has anything yet. That’s when Kid Cudi laid down the hook to ‘Already Home’ off Jay Z’s ‘The Blueprint 3’. (Side note: Jay Z is one of Kid Cudi’s all time favorite rappers.)

Right after he laid that, Kanye asked him what else he had. That’s when he laid down the first idea of the ‘Welcome to Heartbreak’ chorus. Cudi said after that, he still wasn’t satisfied with the work he’s done. The nerves of working with Kanye West had then faded, and Cudi was ready to bang out 10 better songs. To the fans who don’t know, this led to ‘808s & Heartbreak’.

This is not the time to really explain how important ‘808s & Heartbreak’ has been to music, but I’ll sum it up with this tweet below:

 

I’ll let the Kanye fans debate amongst themselves whether ‘The College Dropout’ or ‘808s & Heartbreak’ has been a more groundbreaking, innovative album. Either way, whether you loved it or hated it, ‘808s & Heartbreak’ is extremely important to hip hop, and pop culture in general. Without this album, we don’t have the Drake, Frank Ocean and The Weeknd that we have today, amongst many others. Hip hop and R&B have been meshed for years prior to this album, but the incorporation of electronic and experimental pop was something new to the genre, especially coming from a Kanye West, who was known for his soulful, sample-based music.

This album, along with ‘Day n Nite’, birthed Kid Cudi to the world. About 10 months after the release of ‘808s & Heartbreaks’ was the release of Kid Cudi’s debut album.

kid-cudi-man-on-the-moon-the-end-of.jpg‘Man On The Moon: The End of Day’ is a classic hip hop album. It brought forth a refreshing alternative sound, where elements of the album sounded similar to ‘808s & Heartbreak’ mixed with psychedelic rap and even rock. It is one of those albums where while listening, you catch yourself thinking, “well, what genre would this be?”

You cannot forget the anthems that were given to us on this album. ‘Soundtrack 2 My Life’ was an ode to all the sad kids around the world, letting them know they are not alone. ‘Solo Dolo’ gave all the loner, individuals a musical home. ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ was a worldwide anthem, due to its relatable lyrical content and all the remixes that came along with it, spreading it to all different musical ears around the globe.

‘Man On The Moon, Vol II: The Legend of Mr. Rager’ was a similar deal. To the fair-weather fans, it was a slight downgrade from his debut work. To the stans, this album is just as classic as, or maybe even better than, the first one. Kid Cudi showed a lot of growth in his range by expanding his sound even further into other genres outside of hip hop. To me personally, this album sounds less “hip hop” than his first work, which is not a bad thing. It showed the early stages of his separation from the genre by wanting to experiment outside the traditional sounds, which is what originally made Kid Cudi stand out to the people.

Kid Cudi has always been different. He will always be different. That’s why his cult-like fans love him so much. The sad boy persona was way different than the street rich and gangster rap that was popular at the time. That attracted an entire generation of kids who felt they finally had someone to relate to. A lot of people, teenagers especially, suffer from deep depression that they have a tough time bringing to light, and Kid Cudi’s music really helped them through those tough times. These were the kids that were picked on for dressing different, and listening to “weird” music that was not the popular radio music everybody else liked. Kid Cudi’s music and success helped these kids realize it’s totally okay to be different, and you should embrace who you are to the fullest. The world of individuals was there, looking for a voice to listen to, so Kid Cudi became the leader of the young, social outcasts.

Not only fans, but Kid Cudi influenced an entire wave of artists after his rise to stardom. Names like Travis Scott, Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, Raury, Childish Gambino, Jaden Smith and Logic, amongst many more, have taken influence from Kid Cudi in one way or another. Whether it is the deep introspection in their lyrics, or psychedelic wave in their sound, Kid Cudi opened up a door and innovated a new sub-genre of hip hop for a lot of talented people to ride off of.

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Let’s not forget, though. None of this would have happened the way it did without Kanye West. Kid Cudi definitely has the talent, drive and creative mind to thrive on his own, which “the lost black sheep of G.O.O.D. Music” has proven since after he dropped ‘Indicud’ and left the label. Kanye even said it himself in an interview in 2009, when he said “Cudi, he would have did it with or without me”. But did he? No, he did not.

In my opinion, ‘Indicud’ is the last Kid Cudi album that has any sort of musical relevance. Ironically enough, that was the last album that was (kind of) released through G.O.O.D. Music. He has taken a lot of creative risks with his music since leaving the label, but none of it compares, at all, to the music he made prior.

After Kid Cudi returned to working with Kanye for ‘The Life of Pablo’, he released a few new songs that have the Cudi sound we love.


I thought a lot more music would be coming between Kanye and Kid Cudi, especially after Cudi appeared on two songs on Travis Scott’s new album, who is Kanye’s new protégé. Travis Scott has openly admitted on numerous occasions his admiration for Kid Cudi, saying he’s been the number one musical influence in his life. So much that the “Scott” in “Travis Scott” is dedicated to Scott Mescudi, the birth name of Kid Cudi. Hopefully we’ll get to hear another Travis Scott collaboration on Cudi’s upcoming album, but we do know that Kanye won’t be featured on there. And after all this shit talking by Kid Cudi, the album better “wow” the listeners.

I believe Kanye has the right to feel hurt and disrespected. Looking as a fan, it appears that Kanye has done more for Cudi than vice versa. He gave him an opportunity, a platform to express himself and a fanbase that loves him to death. He put money in his pockets, and helped him develop the music career that he lived through. Yes, Kid Cudi was a major piece to arguably Kanye West’s most important album to date, amongst A LOT of other music, and helped give Kanye a style to run with, but Kanye was already Kanye at that point. Cudi was an artist on the come up from Cleveland, and now he is one of the most important hip hop artists to this generation, thanks to Kanye West.

Kid Cudi never seems to be fully appreciative of the opportunity he’s been given. There’s obviously a lot that goes on behind closed doors that the fans don’t know about, but it seems like Kid Cudi has had a personal tension with Kanye that he just never brought to light, until the other day. It almost seems like he’s spiteful of all the success and praise that Kanye receives, and Cudi feels like he’s owed more from it. Maybe I’m wrong, but I noticed it months ago:

 

Is all this just a promotional gimmick to sell both Kid Cudi’s upcoming album and the Kanye/Drake album? I sure fucking hope so.

Whatever it is, it needs to stop. Both Kanye West and Kid Cudi were not making the best music in either of their careers during their little hiatus, and that can’t be coincidence. As fans, we all know music is in a good place when these two are on good terms. If you say both of Kid Cudi’s appearances on ‘The Life of Pablo’ weren’t in the top 5 moments on the album, you’re lying to yourself.

Somebody (*cough* Travis Scott *cough*) needs to get these two in a room and work out their differences. Their relationship means too much to the fans (and evidently their own careers) for them to bicker over dumb, egotistical shit. These two guys need each other, and love each other unconditionally, whether Cudi wants to admit it or not. I know this because Kanye even supported Cudi at his worst. (see embed tweet below, then laugh)

 

The music these two have made together changed the world, and it’d be a shame to see their relationship end like this.

Welcome to the heartbreak of a music fan.  – Written by Collin P. Donovan

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