|Birth name||Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi|
January 30, 1984 |
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
|Origin||Brooklyn, New York, United States|
|Genres||Hip hop, rock|
|Occupations||Rapper, singer-songwriter, guitarist, record producer, actor|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, Maschine production system|
|Labels||Wicked Awesome Records, Republic Records (present)
GOOD Music, Dream On (past)
|Associated acts||WZRD, Common, Dot da Genius, Kanye West, King Chip|
Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi (born January 30, 1984), better known by his stage name Kid Cudi (pron.: / / KID KUD-ee, often stylized KiD CuDi), is an American hip-hop recording artist and actor from Cleveland, Ohio. A rapper, singer-songwriter, guitarist and record producer, Cudi is signed under his own record label, Wicked Awesome Records and Republic Records. He first gained major attention after the release of his first official full-length project, a mixtape titled A Kid Named Cudi (2008). This resulted in him signing with Kanye West's record label GOOD Music, in late 2008. In 2009, his debut single "Day 'n' Nite", reached the top five of the Billboard charts. "Day 'n' Nite" was included on the mixtape as well as his debut studio album Man on the Moon: The End of Day (2009), which was later certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In 2010, he released his second studio album, Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager, preceded by the release of two singles "Erase Me" and "Mr. Rager", which were released to moderate success.
In 2009, Cudi, alongside record producers Plain Pat and Emile Haynie, launched record label Dream On in partnership with Universal Motown and Kanye West's GOOD Music. In October 2010, Cudi announced that he was teaching himself how to play the guitar and that he would be forming a rock band, now known as WZRD, with frequent collaborator and longtime friend Dot da Genius. On February 26, 2011, Cudi announced that the Dream On label had been dissolved due to creative differences. In April 2011 while performing at New York City’s Roseland Ballroom, Cudi announced he was launching his own label, Wicked Awesome Records. WZRD ultimately released their eponymous debut album on February 28, 2012. The album debuted at #3 on the US Billboard 200 chart, #9 on the Canadian Albums Chart, and at #1 on the Top Rock Albums and Top Alternative Albums.
Kid Cudi has sold over 4.6 million digital singles and has worked with artists such as Kanye West, Jay-Z, Common, Mary J. Blige, David Guetta, Shakira, MGMT, Ratatat, Snoop Dogg and Michael Bolton. With his originality and creativity, as well as the emotion he conveys in his music, Cudi has amassed a large cult-like following among high school students, college students and stoners alike.
Kid Cudi was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and grew up in Shaker Heights and Solon. He is the youngest of four children, with two brothers, Domingo and Dean, and a sister, Maisha. His father, a house painter, substitute teacher and World War II Air Force veteran, was Mexican-Native American, while his mother, a middle-school choir teacher at Roxboro Middle School, in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, is African-American.
When he was eleven years old, Cudi's father died of cancer; his passing would have a significant effect on Cudi's personality and subsequently his music. Cudi attended Shaker Heights High School for two years before transferring to Solon High School. He was expelled from the school for threatening to punch his principal and would later earn his GED. Cudi studied film at the University of Toledo, dropping out after a year; he was determined to join the US Navy but was denied due to his juvenile police record.
2003–2008: Beginnings in New York
Cudi first began rapping towards the end of his high school career, inspired by alternative hip hop groups such as The Pharcyde and A Tribe Called Quest. He moved to Brooklyn in New York City to pursue a music career. Upon his arrival, he stayed with his uncle:
"I was working at this restaurant in Cleveland. There was this white dude in his 40s who was cool as shit and would tell me, "You’re funny and people like you. You need to move the fuck out of Ohio and just do this." My uncle told me I could come out there and stay with him in the South Bronx until I got on my feet. I’d never met him; this was my father’s older brother, the last of my father’s siblings, so I wanted to make that connection anyway. I moved in 2004 with my little demo and maybe $500."
"I discovered what BAPE was when I moved to NY, the store opened up shortly after I moved from Cleveland. I was always a fan of the brand but it just wasn’t something I could afford back then. I remember working there my first couple of weeks in the same uniform cause I didn’t own anything prior to being hired. So it was a dream come true to be able to work at the store I dreamed of shopping in one day. Over a couple of years I might have applied at the store 3 or 4 times before the last attempt that got me hired. I fell in love with BAPE because of their color selection and artwork. I love the style of their cartoons."
While working there Cudi met future mentor Kanye West, for the first time after forgetting to remove an anti-theft device from a jacket West had purchased. His uncle later kicked him out, leading to his writing "Day 'n' Nite":
"My uncle that I lived with passed in 2006. We were actually beefing because he forced me out the house when I didn’t have another situation set up, so I was bitter. I never apologized for it, and that kills me. That’s why I wrote "Day 'n' Nite." If he wasn’t there to let me stay with him those first few months, there would be no Kid Cudi. It fucked me up watching him go, but it was like, "I have to fulfill this destiny now for sure." Things were moving but they weren’t solidified yet. I had "Day ’n’ Nite," we were just getting started, and I was like, "This shit has got to pop off." I wasn’t taking no for an answer."
In July 2008, Kid Cudi released his first mixtape, A Kid Named Cudi, in collaboration with New York street-wear brand 10.Deep as a free download. The mixtape caught the attention of Kanye West, whose then-manager Plain Pat, had introduced Cudi's music to him, subsequently leading West to sign Cudi to his GOOD Music imprint later that year.
Kanye West first called upon Cudi to reference hooks for American rapper and mogul Jay-Z, and while in the studio Cudi and West went from working on The Blueprint 3 (2009) to 808s & Heartbreak (2008). Cudi’s assistance on the latter includes co-writing credits on "Heartless," "Welcome to Heartbreak," "Paranoid," and "RoboCop." West later stated that he and Cudi were "the originators of the style, kinda like what Alexander McQueen is to fashion…. Everything else is just Zara and H&M." Kid Cudi was a prominent songwriter and featured artist on 808s & Heartbreak, with "Paranoid" and "Heartless" being released as singles, while "Welcome to Heartbreak" peaked at #87 on the Pop 100.
Cudi was promoted as an artist to watch for in media such as Rolling Stone, Vibe, The Source, XXL and BBC News's 2009 Sound of poll. MTV News reported on Cudi on a series of reports MCs To Watch In 2009. His first television appearance was at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards, alongside Travis Barker and DJ AM.
2009–2010: Man on the Moon series
In late 2008, Cudi was revealed to be included in XXL's 2009 annual Freshman Class, featured on the cover alongside fellow up-and-coming rappers Asher Roth, Wale, B.o.B, Charles Hamilton, Cory Gunz, Blu, Mickey Factz, Ace Hood and Curren$y. On February 17, 2009, he appeared on Snoop Dogg's MTV talk show Dogg After Dark, performing "Day 'n' Nite" at the end of the show. Two days later on February 19, 2009, Cudi appeared on BET's 106 & Park, alongside Kanye West to debut the music video of "Day 'n' Nite". On February 25, 2009, Cudi self-leaked a "teaser trailer" for the upcoming Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen film, using his song "Sky Might Fall" in the background; later he posted that he made the trailer himself and was in talks to possibly making it official.
Kid Cudi also made a cameo appearance next to Solange in the video for her song "T.O.N.Y." in February 2009, and later in The Black Eyed Peas' video for "I Gotta Feeling", with David Guetta. On March 16, 2009, Kid Cudi performed on mtvU's Spring Break special, and the next day he performed three songs on NBC's Last Call with Carson Daly. With producer Emile Haynie, Cudi produced an exclusive single, titled "Switchin Lanes", for the video game Midnight Club: Los Angeles, part of its "South Central Premium Upgrade" downloadable content (DLC), which came out March 19, 2009, for the PlayStation 3 and March 27, 2009, for the Xbox 360. He has also appeared as a musical guest on the Late Show with David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. He has also been on two magazine covers, Complex (August/September 2009) and URB (August 2009). Bape awarded Cudi his own t-shirt in September 2009, in reward for his music and past employment there when living in New York City.
He revealed information about his future plans via his blog, saying that a possible collaborative album with Chip tha Ripper could be followed with a collaborative project with electrorock duo Ratatat. On May 5, 2009 Iranian-American progressive house DJ Sharam, released "She Came Along", the lead single from his debut studio album, Get Wild (2009). The song, featuring Cudi, charted for 15 weeks on the Bulgaria Singles Top 40. It entered the chart on position 40 on week 30/2009, it's last appearance was on week 44/2009. It peaked at number 11, where it stayed for 1 week. During the summer of 2009, Cudi joined fellow up-and-coming rappers Asher Roth and B.o.B for 'The Great Hangover' concert tour. Kid Cudi was featured on the highly anticipated Jay-Z album The Blueprint 3 (2009), on the song "Already Home".
Cudi's debut album Man on the Moon: The End of Day was released on Universal Motown Records on September 15, 2009 and sold 104,419 copies in the first week and charted at #4. The album's lead single "Day 'n' Nite", Kid Cudi's greatest commercial success thus far, charted well both in the U.S. and in Europe. The second single was "Make Her Say" (originally titled "I Poke Her Face"), which features a sample from Lady Gaga's hit single "Poker Face" and performances by Kanye West and Common.
In a late 2009 interview, Cudi announced that the follow-up to his debut album would be a collaboration album entitled Cudder and the Revolution of Evolution. He stated he had already recorded songs with Snoop Dogg, Travis Barker, Clipse, Cage and Pharrell and would also like to work with Drake, Green Day, Kings of Leon, Robin Thicke, The Killers and The Postal Service on the album. It was also rumored that Man on the Moon: The End of Day would be followed up by a sequel titled Man on the Moon: The Ghost in the Machine and that the Man on the Moon series would be a trilogy, but was not confirmed. Kid Cudi was nominated for three 2010 Grammy Awards for his singles, "Day 'n' Nite" and "Make Her Say".
In 2010, Kid Cudi was featured on West Coast hip hop veteran Snoop Dogg's re-release of Malice n Wonderland, More Malice, on the single "That Tree". Cudi also teamed up with independent artist Johnny Polygon to remix Polygon's "The Riot Song" which appears on his mixtape, Rebel Without Applause (2010). On April 20, 2010, Kid Cudi announced that the name of his second album has been changed from Cudder and the Revolution of Evolution to Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager. On June 11, 2010, Kid Cudi was arrested in the Chelsea neighborhood of the Manhattan borough New York City and charged with felony criminal mischief and possession of a controlled substance. Despite his arrest, he was released and made it to Manchester, Tennessee in time to play at Bonnaroo.
The lead single from Cudi's second studio album, titled "Erase Me", featuring Kanye West and produced by Jim Jonsin, debuted on a Cleveland radio station June 30, 2010, and was officially released to Rhythm/Crossover radio on August 17, 2010. The title-track "Mr. Rager", was released as a promotional single shortly before the album's release. The album, released November 9, 2010, debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 169,000 copies. In its second week it crossed the 200,000 sales mark. In 2010, Kid Cudi appeared on several songs for Kanye West's weekly free music giveaway, GOOD Fridays, including "Good Friday", "Christian Dior Denim Flow" and "The Joy", the latter of which later became a bonus track on the Jay-Z and Kanye West collaborative album, Watch the Throne (2011).
2011–2012: New direction and WZRD
In October 2010, Cudi had announced that he would be forming a rock band with frequent collaborator Dot da Genius, tentatively called Wizard. In early 2011, he announced that he would be releasing a mixtape titled A Man Named Scott, reminiscent of his A Kid Named Cudi title, prior to the rock album. On February 26, 2011, Cudi took to his Twitter account to announce that Dream On, the record label he launched back in 2009 with partners Patrick “Plain Pat” Reynolds and producer Emile Haynie, has been dissolved. However in an interview with Complex Magazine Cudi explained they were all still on good terms: "I wanted to try something new, and I wanted to take control of things myself. Those are still my guys, Pat and Emile, and I'm still going to work with them in the future. When we start working on Man on the Moon III I’ll be calling them up to see if they want to be a part of it. I know Emile is definitely down. We had an issue, but we’re men and we were able to figure it out and move forward. There’s no hard feelings." In March 2011, Cudi announced that a music video for "Marijuana" would be released in the spring, followed by a music video for "Mr. Rager" in the summer, as well as a short film inspired by his song "Maniac" with Cage, directed by Shia LaBeouf in October 2011.
In April 2011, while performing at New York City’s Roseland Ballroom Kid Cudi announced he was launching his own record label. The new label, which he will be releasing his third studio album on is called Wicked Awesome Records. He also renamed his band on the same occasion to 2 Be Continuum, renaming it from the original Wizard. Kid Cudi explained his reasoning saying: "I needed something more original, something different, but it’s still wizardry at its finest." On August 12, 2011, Kid Cudi released the music video for "No One Believes Me", directed by Fright Night director Craig Gillespie. The song produced by Dot da Genius, features Cudi singing and contains elements of rock music. On August 21, Cudi announced that he is no longer releasing the mixtape A Man Named Scott so that he can focus on his rock project and his third solo album Man on the Moon III. Kid Cudi released a video for Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager's title track "Mr. Rager" on September 8, 2011. The video has received all-positive reviews from critics and fans alike.
Despite saying he will not do many more features for other artists in Complex Magazine's October/November 2011 cover story, he had appeared on Bryan Greenberg's second studio album We Don't Have Forever (2011), Travis Barker's Give the Drummer Some (2011), The Knux's Eraser (2011), and Wale's Ambition (2011) respectively. On October 30, 2011, Cudi released MANIAC, a short horror film co-starring Cage and directed by Shia LaBeouf, through his blog. On November 13, 2011, a previously unreleased mixtape of material Cudi had recorded from 2002-2003, under the pseudonym Kid Mescudi, titled Rap Hard leaked online. On November 18, 2011 Cudi renamed his band for the second time to WZRD (pronounced W-Z-R-D). He also announced that the upcoming rock project would be released on his 28th birthday, January 30, 2012.
In late 2011, Cudi was mentioned in a viral video by vlogger Ben Breedlove, about his near death experiences. After Breedlove's death on December 26, 2011, Cudi commented on his thoughts about inspiring the young kid. "I am so sad about Ben Breedlove," Kid Cudi wrote on his Tumblr blog. "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. Why I write my life, and why I love you all so much. Life is really f---- up sometimes, but I know Ben is at Peace, and I hope he gets a chance to sit and talk with my Dad. We love you Ben. Forever. Thank you for loving me. To Ben’s family, you raised a real hero, he’s definitely mine. You have my love."
In January 2012, Cudi appeared on two songs from Chip tha Ripper's mixtape Tell Ya Friends, "Ride 4 You" which also featured Far East Movement and "GloryUs" which credited the duo as they are collectively known, The Almighty GloryUs, which led to speculation that a long-awaited project from the two was underway. On January 31, Cudi announced through his Twitter feed that he had completed WZRD and that his next album was the collaborative effort with Chip tha Ripper. In 2012, Cudi was featured on the soundtrack to the film The Hunger Games, crafting an original song for the film titled "The Ruler and the Killer". Referring to "The Ruler and the Killer",Cudi wrote on Twitter: "I could not have done it without my producing partners on the project for the film, The legendary and Godly T Bone Burnett and Greg Wells!".
While working on the band's self-titled debut, Cudi claims he had writer's block for almost 5 months because of his new sobriety; something that had never happened to him for such an extended period of time. According to Kid Cudi, bands that inspired the album include Electric Light Orchestra, Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana and Pink Floyd. The album includes a song titled "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?", a cover of the same titled song by Nirvana, who in turn were inspired by blues guitar legend Lead Belly's rendition of the traditional folk song. Following WZRD's release on February 28, 2012, the album debuted at #3 on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 66,000 physical and digital copies in the United States. The album also debuted on the Top Rock Albums and Top Alternative Albums at number one, and at #9 on the Canadian Albums Chart respectively.
In April 2012, in Geneseo, New York, Cudi performed before a sold out crowd and premiered a hip hop song, his first since 2010. During his set, he performed a new record, tentatively titled "The Leader of the Delinquents", which he did a cappella. On April 25, 2012 Cudi was officially back to rapping with the release of "Dennis, Hook Me Up with Some More of That Whiskey!". The song, the first ever solely produced by Cudi himself, samples his 2010 song "Ghost!". In June 2012, Cudi was seen in the music video for "Mercy," the lead single from GOOD Music's compilation album Cruel Summer, in which he, along with other GOOD Music recording artists were featured on. Cudi was ultimately featured on two songs from the compilation, "The Morning" and a solo track originally meant for Man on the Moon II (2010), titled "Creepers", produced by Dan Black.
In the summer of 2012, Cudi announced the title of his third studio album to be, Indicud when he tweeted: "My new album is entitled indicud, it will be my version of The Chronic 2001, some songs i'll produce, others i'll feat &/or play songwriter". On June 8, 2012, Cudi announced Indicud, will be a double-disc album. On August 12, Kid Cudi released the lead single from Indicud, a song titled "Just What I Am", featuring his friend and longtime collaborator and King Chip (formerly Chip tha Ripper). The album was announced to be released in early 2013 with Cudi focusing on scoring movies, followed by the third installment of the Man on the Moon series. Cudi then added that Indicud "will feature more uptempos and that it will consist of at most 17 new songs." The music video for "Just What I Am", which marked Cudi's directorial debut, premiered November 6, 2012 on VEVO and was shot in Los Angeles with fans invited to participate in the video’s shoot. On November 7, he revealed the album's second official single's title to be "Immortal", and that it again was produced by himself like the two previous releases, "Just What I Am" and "King Wizard". He claimed the song "will make you feel amazing in the heart and soul." The song was officially released via iTunes on March 14, 2013.
On March 14, 2013 Kid Cudi performed at MySpace’s South by Southwest (SXSW) secret show in Austin, Texas and after performing his many hits, he previewed a new verse from Indicud. He also revealed that the album would feature 18 tracks, while officially confirming ASAP Rocky and Michael Bolton as featured guests. On March 16, Cudi announced that he would release the album's tracklist and cover art on April 2. Three days later, Kid Cudi announced via Twitter that the album had officially been completed and turned in to his label, Universal Republic. On March 26, the album's cover art and tracklist was unveiled by Walmart and later Complex. Later that day, Cudi appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and performed the album's lead singles; "Just What I Am" and "Immortal", as well as premiering "Mad Solar", which he performed a cappella.
On April 2, 2013, Kid Cudi announced on Power 106, that he was no longer under Kanye West's GOOD Music imprint. Cudi revealed he left the label on good terms, with him saying West respected his decision and will always be "big brother". Cudi also stated he knew about this for six months, saying he made the decision to tell West after speaking with Jay-Z on the matter. Cudi's decision to move forward without West, was his desire to focus on his own imprint, Wicked Awesome Records and his friend, fellow rapper King Chip. After Indicud leaked online in its entirety on April 9, 2013, Kid Cudi decided to push the album's release date up to April 16. The album went on to debut at #2 on the charts by moving 140,000 copies.
In 2010, Kid Cudi made a guest appearance on One Tree Hill, starring as himself and performing in the show. Kid Cudi also starred in the HBO comedy series How to Make It in America, as part of the main cast, until its cancellation after 2 seasons.
In 2009, Cudi began dating model and environmentalist Jamie Baratta. They were in an on-again, off-again relationship, and were a prevalent couple in the music industry. They ultimately broke up in 2012, but not before Cudi dedicated a song to her titled "Teleport 2 Me, Jamie", which he recorded with his rock band WZRD.
On March 26, 2010, Cudi's daughter, Vada Wamwene Mescudi, was born. Throughout 2012, Cudi was in a quiet but bitter custody battle with the mother of the child. Reports surfaced that Cudi gave up custody after his child's mother accused him of being an absentee father, as well as having violent tendencies and a "long history of consistent drug and alcohol abuse." These claims were disputed by Cudi and his attorney in a statement, which noted: Cudi did not give up custody but reached an amicable agreement with the mother; that "both parents are fit and proper persons to have custody of their child," as stated in the final custody judgement; results came back negative for drugs in a drug test voluntarily taken by Cudi; and that the court acknowledged Cudi attempted to establish a relationship and visit his child since her birth and "voluntary provided financial support, including child support, rent and other monthly payments, for his daughter since her birth until the time that a child support order was entered as part of the normal course of the case." Details of the official custody agreement remain private. Cudi has since purchased a property in Chicago to be close to his daughter.
- Man on the Moon: The End of Day (2009)
- Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager (2010)
- WZRD (2012) (with Dot da Genius as WZRD)
- Cruel Summer (2012) (with GOOD Music)
- Indicud (2013)
Awards and nominations
||Maniac||Serial killer||Short film, directed by Shia LaBeouf|
||Cruel Summer||Rafi||Short film, directed by Kanye West|
||Goodbye World||Lev Berkowitz||Post-production|
||Two Night Stand||TBA||Post-production|
||Need for Speed||Benny||Filming|
||One Tree Hill||Himself||Episode: "Lists, Plans"|
||How to Make It in America||Domingo Dean||Main cast, major supporting role|
||The Cleveland Show||Devon (voice)||Episode: "Brownsized"|
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Kid Cudi|
- Official website
- Kid Cudi at Allmusic
- Kid Cudi at the Internet Movie Database
- Kid Cudi on Myspace
- Kid Cudi on Twitter