Whether it’s his transcending hums or his vulnerability, Kid Cudi’s music has had a tremendous impact on hip hop since his first release. With everyone from fans, actors and other musicians crediting him for saving their lives, Kid Cudi’s contribution to music and storytelling will continue to inspire generations of creators. The Cleveland rapper also known as Scott Mescudi, catapulted to fame in 2009 after the success of “Day n Nite”.
He has since received countless awards and nominations, appearances and recurring roles on TV and films such as One Tree Hill, Don’t Look Up, and HBO’s We Are Who We Are. As he stretches his artistic capabilities with his latest animated film, Entergalactic, and the recent release of his blog-era 2008 debut, A Kid Named Cudi, for streaming, we support Cudi on any stage. In his music, he constantly battles and overcomes themes of darkness, yet is a pillar of light for so many. Last week Cudi was pelted with bottles while performing onstage during his Rolling Loud Miami set. Visibly upset, the artist walked off after being disrespected by the crowd. To show our appreciation, here are some of our favorite Kid Cudi tracks.
Day ‘N’ Nite
Released in 2008, with countless remixes to come after, “Day ‘N’ Nite” is to this day, Cudi’s most popular record. The single has sold over 5 million copies and the video currently has almost 200 million views. This song about constant loneliness, was created from Cudi’s own personal battles as well as inspired by “Mind Playing Tricks On Me” by the Geto Boys. It is a 1991 hit, and one of hip hop’s more popular songs about paranoia and mental health.
Pursuit of Happiness
Neck and neck with “Day ‘N’ Nite” for the most popular in Cudi’s catalog is “Pursuit of Happiness”. From the first installment of the Man on the Moon trilogy, this song details his internal struggles, while repeatedly reminding us of the end goal – happiness. Its optimistic title and sonics led the song to often be played at dance parties, with the inclusion of its popular Steve Aoki remix. This track hit home for millions of people who were done with fleeting happiness and eagerly trying to chase the real thing.
Of the many artists influenced by Kid Cudi, only one was so moved, that he used a part of his name. Travis Scott, born Jacques Webster II, created his stage name through a combination of the “two superheroes” in his life. His Uncle Travis, and Scott Mescudi. This collaboration between the two Scotts is not only a full circle moment but a celebration of that shared influence between artists. The Scotts is not only the name of their first single but the name of their rap-duo. The pair have a collaborative album in the works with an unreleased date.
The song is simple and effective. Over a blend of strings and drum patterns, Cudi sings of the struggles of finding and keeping love. “Kitchen” is lyrically repetitive, reiterating his points but finds complexity in the production. His voice is a highlight on the song as it is on the rest of the 2016 album, Passion, Pain, and Demon Slayin’. His hums add a soothing and romantic quality to the lyrical subject matter.
Cudi sticks with the theme of love for “Erase Me”, but tackles it differently through the recounting of a conversation with an old lover. He taps G.O.O.D. Music label founder and frequent collaborator, Kanye West for a verse. Together, they paint a picture of relationships in the limelight, and how breakups may be even more difficult, seeing the ex so often. “Yeah, cause I’m in the magazines, on the TV/ No matter where you are, you might hear me”.
Produced by Cudi, Unf***wittable makes the listener feel just that. Taking on an invincible and optimistic outlook, he raps “The world is filled with good vibes, and that is what I seek”. The song is a reminder to fans and to himself to remember your worth. Empowerment is a common theme in his third album, Indicud, and this bold statement is the perfect way to open the album.
A three-year call back to the 2013 song, “Unf***wittable”, Cudi released “Does It” in 2016 with Passion Pain and Demon Slayin’. He brings the same bravado he deserves to display, though rarely does, and leans into it this time. “God has a plan for everybody but I’m it, Chosen”. Kid Cudi delivers over four minutes of bars, another departure from his usual melodic songs but, not to worry, hums and vocals are included.
Running laps around these hoes (for years)/ Running the game with no cheat codes (uh)/ Unf***wittable with two T’s nigga, who else but Cud?Kid Cudi – “Does It”
Named after the drink used to commemorate completing the song, “Tequila Shots” perfectly opens up the final installment of the Man on the Moon trilogy, Man on the Moon III: The Chosen. In an interview with Zane Lowe, Cudi stated, “it sounds like you pick right back up where we left off ten years ago”. Cudi addresses his overall growth and continuous internal battles on the track, that time has allowed him to be better prepared to fight. “I’m not just some sad dude/ You can see my life, how I grew, I want serenity”.
It may seem normal for artists to open up about mental health issues or battles with darkness – both triumphant and not, and that is because of the groundwork Kid Cudi laid in 2008. He created a career that artists emulate and has amassed a following of fans who will support him on any stage and in any endeavor. He made talking about your emotions, in a genre celebrated for its machismo, cool. Kid Cudi continues to create beyond our imagination and connect to the youth. His success is proof that at your lowest, there is so much good to follow. And whether it is at a show, on Twitter, through buying merch or music, we will always find a way to show our appreciation and say ‘thank you’.