When we think of Kid Cudi and his 10 years in the game, a lot of memorable moments comes to mind. Some may be funny and hilarious, while others doesn’t show him in the best light. But whether you love or hate the Cleveland native, one thing we all can agree on is this: the industry wouldn’t be the same without him. As we think of Mr. Rager on his 34th birthday, we count down 10 of his most memorable moments during his career.
Kanye West surprises Kid Cudi at his A Kid named Cudi release party:
Before anyone knew who Kid Cudi was going to blow up to be, Kanye knew and apparently Vashtie did too. After meeting Kanye West at the BAPE store (Yes! The same one on Prince street) that he once worked, Cudder left a lasting impression on the Ye God. An impression that blossom into years of friendship and collaborations, on both separate and joined projects. But it was on one fateful night in July of 2008 that sealed the deal between the two. During a release party for his mixtape “A KiD Named CuDi“, sponsored by Fools Gold and 10 Deep, Kanye surprises both Cudi and the party-goers with an unexpected visit. Bo$$ Lady tells her firsthand experience of the memorable night, you can read all about it here.
KiD CuDi premieres “Day N’ Nite” on 106 & Park with Kanye West:
Back in the day, it was monumental to premiere your music video on 106 and Park or TRL. With the hopes of their video reaching number one on the countdown, Musicians would sit among music-loving teenagers and answer questions from the fans live. After working on Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 3, and co-writing four (“Heartless”, “Welcome to Heartbreak”, “Paranoid”, and “Robocop”) hits on Kanye’s 808s and Heartbreak album, Kanye signs Cudi to G.O.O.D. Music. It was during this time, Cudi was known as the “budding protegee” of Kanye, and the duo appeared together on BET’s 106 and Park. Cudi free styled his verse from “Soundtrack to my life” from his Man on the Moon album, which was released seven months later. Kid Cudi also appeared on the XXL’s 2009 Freshman class, alongside B.O.B., Charles Hamilton, Cory Gunz and Ace Hood. (Where are they now?)
KiD CuDi drops debut album, Man On The Moon Album:
After the release of his mixtape, Man On The Moon released on September 2009, debuting at number four on the Billboard 200 and Billboard’s Top Rap albums chart, selling over 100,000 copies in its first week. MOTM became Cudi’s first album to go double platinum with hits: “Day N’ Nite”, “Pursuit of Happiness”, “Make her Say” and “Cudi Zone.” Named 2009’s best debut album by Entertainment Weekly, MOTM’s accolades preceded the expectations of Kid Cudi. It was during this time, that Cudi toured with Lady Gaga on the first leg of her The Monster Ball Tour, where he performed Make Her Say, a remix of her “Poker face” hit. However, during this tour, Kid Cudi learned that sometimes fans act inappropriately during shows.
Kid Cudi VS. The Fans:
There is no doubt that Kid Cudi loves and adores his fans. Many of times, Cudder has shared emotional moments with fans who he has helped during their lowest of times and vice versa. However, some fans have shown their admiration in ways that has triggered the appearance of Mr. Rager. During The Monster Ball Tour, while touring with Lady Gaga, Kid Cudi had his first taste of Bad Romance with his fans. During a solo performance in Vancouver, a fan decided to throw a wallet on stage, to draw attention from the rapper. Although it didn’t phased him in the beginning, simply throwing the wallet back into the crowd, it was when it was thrown a second time that caused the commotion heard everywhere. It was confirmed that the fan who caught Cudi’s fist with his face was actually innocent. Cudi later apologized and hung out with the fan.
It is no secret that “Pursuit of happiness” holds a special place in the hearts of the Cudifam. Many artists have covered the single, including Folk-Rock singer Lissie , who performed a rock version of the song with Cudi in France in 2014 and Rapper Kyle, who covered the song in September of 2017. However, any time Cudi performs the song, a commotion would break out. During his Ohio homecoming show in 2010, a fan rushed on the stage, but quickly taken down by security. It is unclear to this day, if Cudi had intentions to speak to the fan Mano a Mano or apologize on the behalf of security, you be the judge.
Kid Cudi Mourns over the death of Ben Breedlove:
Death is one of the most painful experiences we will ever have to face. And we all mourn for those we love and care about in all different ways. During the promotion of his second album Man on the Moon II: The legend of Mr. Rager, Kid Cudi learns of the passing of one of his fans, Ben Breedlove. Ben was 18 years old when he passed away on Christmas day of 2011 of Cardiac Arrest. Breedlove was diagnosed with Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition that causes part of the heart to thicken, making it almost impossible to pump blood effectively.
In one of the two YouTube videos posted up by Breedlove before his passing, the young Cudi fan silently held up cards telling his life story of living with the heart condition. He explained how he “cheated death” three times: the most recent time, when EMTs used shock pads after his heart stopped. He described a vision that he had during this moment of being in a white room with his “favorite rapper, Kid Cudi” wearing white suits and feeling “happy and peaceful” and he “couldn’t stop smiling.” He ended his videos with a card that read “Do you believe in God and angels? I do.”
Kid Cudi wrote on his then-blog that he “broke down” over the death of Breedlove who passed away a few weeks after his videos went viral. “I am so sad about Ben Breedlove. I watched the video he left for the world to see, and him seeing me in detail, in his vision really warmed my heart. I broke down, I am to tears because I hate how life is so unfair. This has really touched my heart in a way I cant describe, this is why I do what I do. To Ben’s family, you raised a real hero, he’s definitely mine. You have my love.” Kid Cudi went on to dedicating his next album Indicud in the memory of Breedlove stating: “My journey shall continue in your honor. Never forgotten.”
Kid Cudi transforms into Scott Mescudi the actor:
Kid Cudi is a man of many talents, with a multitude of many skills. Acting is one of them. Taking a step away from his first love music, Kid Cudi expanded his name onto the silver screen. From appearing in HBO’s How to make it in America to the Box-office hit Need for speed, Scott Mescudi the actor was born. Whether he was playing Allen, the assistant to Ari Gold in HBO’s Entourage or a psychopathic mass murderer in the short film, Maniac, directed by Shia LaBeouf , no role played was the same as the one before. This also opened the doors for Scott to appear as the Co-host and Bandleader of IFC’s Comedy Bang! Bang!‘s entire fourth season. In many interviews, Cudi spoke openly about wanting to branch out in writing his own screenplays and pilots for Tv shows and movies. He even spoke about show that he is currently working on during an interview with Pee Wee Herman’s Paul Reuben in 2016.
Kid Cudi VS. The Industry (Rap Beefs):
Rappers beefing with each other is a common attribute in the hip-hop community. Whether it is over money, power or respect, rappers are going to talk that talk either on wax or in person. But in the most recent years, social media has become the medium (and cause) for most rap beefs to escalate to bigger and badder problems. Kid Cudi has had his share of rap beefs with different artists, although Cudi will tell you that as a musical anarchist, it is all apart of day’s work.
Back in 2014, the beef between Lupe Fiasco and Cudi apparently started, when Cudi criticized Lupe for charging fans for a rap verse. Charging $500 for a personalized verse, seemed a little sketchy to Cudi, who didn’t hesitate to say so online. It was shortly after Lupe explained on his twitter account that his price wasn’t to “swindle” the fans but to give them control over what they wanted to hear. The back and forth between the two rappers continued for years, with Lupe vowing to never forgive Kid Cudi. And then forgiving him, but still throwing subliminals online to this day.
The two former G.O.O.D Music label mates have always shown a level of loyalty and respect towards one another. Appearing on joint projects with each other, a lot of fans were surprised (and not surprised) to see the two had fallen out. Stemming from the news of his long-time friend Dot da Genius and Jhene Aiko‘s separation, Kid Cudi chose the friendship with Dot over the friendship with Sean. While the news broke of the couple’s impending divorce, the budding relationship between Aiko and Big Sean became the talk on the internet. But it wouldn’t be of Cudi to not voice his opinion on it. In a since-deleted tweet to his friend Dot, Cudi tweeted: “The funny thing is, we ain;t sweatin these bum b*tches and these corn ball ass n*ggas. We too busy making better music.” Big Sean make reference to the situation on his record, “No more interviews”, where instead of firing back at Cudi, he states that he continues to pray for him. “When I put you on that song with Nas you had told me that you was forever grateful/ And that we brothers, so it hurt to hit the internet to find out that me and you don’t f–k with each other/ Over a miscommunication that probably could be fixed with a five-minute conversation, I’m still praying for ya.”
Drake and Kanye West
The beef between Drake and Cudi is one of those type of beefs that is ominously silent until eruption. During the Saint Pablo Tour of Kanye, once again Kid Cudi spoke his mind on his twitter account about something that was puzzling him. In a barrage of tweets, Kid Cudi spoke about rappers using ghostwriters to write their rhymes. Stating “Everyone thinks they’re soooo great. Talkin top 5 and be having 30 people write songs for them.” It wasn’t a moment of Cudi mincing his words, as he said his tweets applies to whoever they apply to. Kanye quickly responded by saying “I birthed you” while on stage at a tour stop in Tampa, Florida, before noting, “I’m so hurt. I feel so disrespected. Kid Cudi, we’re two black men in a racist world.” It was a few days later, West sympathized with Cudi and attempted to squash the beef at a Houston show. “I just wanted to take time out to say Kid Cudi is my brother.” Kanye even called Cudi “the most influential artist of the past 10 years, and I hope he’s doing well.” During the Sacramento show, Cudi appeared on the Saint Pablo tour and the two hugged it out.
However, this did not mean that the beef between Cudi and Drake was over. It was during this time, that Kid Cudi announced that he was going to spend some time in rehab for Anxiety and Suicidal thoughts. While most of the industry, including Kanye, sympathized with Cudi and even sent their best wishes, Drake continued the beef by releasing “Two birds, One Stone”. On the infamous track, Drake spitted, “You were the man on the moon, now you go through your phases/Life for the angry and famous,” referencing Cudi’s 2009 debut album The Man on the Moon: End of Days. Drake was also under fire for making references to Cudi’s mental health history, which opened a dialogue on boundaries in rap beefs.
Kid Cudi takes on role as Mental Health Advocate:
It wasn’t a title that he set out to find, but instead it found him. From the very beginning of his career, Kid Cudi spoke candidly about his bouts and struggles with drugs, depression and suicidal thoughts. It was the death of his father at a young age, that sent a young and lost Scott into a spiral of finding himself in the world. Through his thoughts and his lyrics, a lot of young people found him relatable and even deemed him as their “Big Brother”. In 2014, Kid Cudi was honored by the Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services at the 18th annual Erasing the Stigma Awards. After helping depressed and suicidal youth through the power of music, Kid Cudi is recognized as a Mental Health Ambassador.
During an appearance on the Arsenio Hall show, Cudi spoke on how the feeling of worthlessness and loneliness, plays a huge part in depression and suicidal urges. “I’ve dealt with suicide for the past five years,” he said. “There wasn’t a week or a day that didn’t go by where I was just like, ‘You know, I wanna check out.’ I know what that feels like, I know it comes from loneliness, I know it comes from not having self-worth, not loving yourself. These are things that kids don’t have music that can coach them and give them that guidance. I didn’t have that, I had to listen to Jay Z and take certain things from it and the other shit I just didn’t know what he was talking about. Now I’m 30 I’m like, “Oh that’s what Hov was talking about, I get it now.’ But what about the kids—you never really had an artist where you connected with them all across the board? I think that that’s my job, I’m really just trying to guide people and help people. Loneliness is a terrible, terrible thing, man. If you don’t know how to conquer it, it can eat you alive.”
Kid Cudi… a hip-hop fashion icon:
Whether you call him Cudi, Cudder, Mr. Rager, Scott Mescudi or even Kid Mescudi (Super throwback), you can’t deny that he has influenced hip-hop fashion. Long before Cudi became the face of BAPE x Kid Cudi collaboration, he was once an employee of the Japanese clothing line. It was at the BAPE store in New York, where Cudi met his soon-to-be mentor and friend Kanye. A moment that changed his life forever. The BAPE x Kid Cudi capsule over the years included; Kid Cudi x Milo T-shirt, a limited Edition Rager T-shirt (to commemorate the release of MOTM II), Limited edition Kid Cudi x Milo party tee, and the 10th anniversary BAPE collection, featuring Kid Cudi, Travis Scott, Big Sean and more. This wasn’t the only time that Kid Cudi worked with a notably known clothing line. Giuseppe Zanotti designed a futuristic sneaker during his Spring/Summer 2015 and named it after Cudi. It was during one of Cudi’s concerts, the designer found the inspiration behind the concept of the sneaker. During his last music tour, PPDS, Kid Cudi collaborated with Off-White’s Virgil Abloh for a limited edition “Mr. Rager” collection. The collection debuted at the Camp Flog Gnaw festival in October 2017, where Cudi headlined. Apart from working with different designers, Cudi’s sense of fashion has always been of his own style. From his Cleveland Chief Wahoo fitted cap to his memorable fashion moment at Coachella with his red crop-top in 2015, Kid Cudi marches to his own beat, in music and in fashion.
Kid Cudi takes on Fatherhood:
There are a lot of things that Kid Cudi accomplished in the ten years of his career. He is a Grammy-winning artist, he has appeared on both TV shows and movies, he has sold over 5 million digital copies worldwide, and formed a Rock band with his friend Dot da Genius. But the one accomplishment that Kid Cudi seems to be most proud of is being a father to his daughter Vada Mescudi. Born in March of 2010 during the rise of his career, Scott kept his daughter close to his heart, in order to give her the privacy he felt she deserved. However, on the occasion, the proud father shares his daughter with his fans, during performances or on social media. The seven-year-old made an appearance at her Dad’s PPDS tour in last year, during his two date show in Chicago. Although, Kid Cudi did not bring his daughter out on stage, he did give her a beautiful shoutout and asked his fans to do the same.
Whether you choose to watch your favorite Kid Cudi music video or listen to his entire discography, not only do we celebrate his birthday, but we celebrate his longevity in the industry. We celebrate his strength to push through the obstacles of drugs and depression. We commend his efforts and achievements in speaking on the behalf of the youth who has suffered in silent. Happy Birthday, Mr. Rager.