Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi
January 30, 1984
|Awards||List of awards and nominations|
Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi (born January 30, 1984), better known by his stage name Kid Cudi (//; often stylized as KiD CuDi), is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer and actor from Cleveland, Ohio. He has widely been recognized as an influence on several hip hop and alternative acts. Cudi's first full-length project, a mixtape titled A Kid Named Cudi (2008) caught the attention of American rapper-producer Kanye West, who signed Cudi to his GOOD Music label imprint in late 2008.
Released in 2008, Cudi's debut single "Day 'n' Nite" was a worldwide hit. His debut studio album Man on the Moon: The End of Day (2009) was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In 2010, he released his second album Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager, and formed the rock band WZRD with his long-time collaborator Dot da Genius. Their eponymous debut album (2012) debuted at number one on the Billboard Top Rock Albums chart. Cudi has since released the solo albums Indicud (2013), Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon (2014), Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven (2015) and Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin' (2016). Cudi's joint album with West, under the eponymous name Kids See Ghosts (2018), was met with widespread critical acclaim and was named among the best albums of 2018. In 2020, Cudi earned his first number-one song on the Billboard Hot 100 with "The Scotts", a collaboration with American rapper Travis Scott.
Cudi has sold 16 million certified records in the United States and has won a Grammy Award. He has worked with numerous prominent artists in the music industry, including Scott, Jay Z, Eminem, West, Mary J. Blige, David Guetta, MGMT, Shakira, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar and Michael Bolton. After signing to GOOD Music, Cudi has since gone on to launch his own record label imprints, the now-dissolved Dream On and current independent label Wicked Awesome Records. Cudi also ventured into acting when he was cast in the HBO series How to Make It in America. He has appeared in several feature films, including Goodbye World (2013), Need for Speed (2014), Entourage (2015), and Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020). In addition, he has made appearances on television shows such as One Tree Hill, The Cleveland Show, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Westworld. In 2015, he was the bandleader on the IFC series Comedy Bang! Bang!
Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi was born on January 30, 1984, 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 mother, Elsie Harriet (Banks), is a middle-school choir teacher at Roxboro Middle School in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. His father, Lindberg Styles Mescudi, was a house painter, substitute teacher and World War II Air Force veteran. His father was of African-American and Mexican-American descent, while his mother is African-American.
When he was eleven years old, Cudi's father died of cancer; his passing had 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. His subsequent plan to join the U.S. Navy did not pan out because of his juvenile police record.
2003–08: 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 New York City to pursue a music career. Upon his arrival, he stayed with his uncle, Kalil Madi:
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.
Cudi's early work 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. In July 2008, Kid Cudi released his first mixtape, A Kid Named Cudi (executive produced by Plain Pat and Emile Haynie), in collaboration with New York street-wear brand 10.Deep as a free download.
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 West's R&B-esque 808s & Heartbreak (2008). Cudi's assistance on the latter includes co-writing credits and or vocals on "Heartless," "Welcome to Heartbreak," "Paranoid" and "RoboCop." Kid Cudi was a prominent songwriter and featured artist on 808s & Heartbreak, with "Paranoid" and "Heartless" being released as singles, while "Welcome to Heartbreak" charted as an album cut and peaked at number 87 on the Pop 100.
Kid Cudi's first television appearance was at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards, alongside Travis Barker and DJ AM. 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 titled "MCs To Watch In 2009".
2009–10: Man on the Moon series
In late 2008, Cudi was revealed to be included in XXL's 2009 annual Freshman Class. He was 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.
In February 2009, Kid Cudi also made a cameo appearance next to Solange in the video for her song "T.O.N.Y.". On March 16, 2009, Kid Cudi performed on mtvU's Spring Break special, and the following day he performed three songs on NBC's Last Call with Carson Daly. Cudi teamed up with partner and record producer Emile Haynie, to produce 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! In June 2009, he made a cameo in The Black Eyed Peas' video for "I Gotta Feeling", alongside David Guetta, where the two met for the first time and subsequently recorded their international hit "Memories". In 2009, he had also been on two magazine covers, Complex (August/September 2009) and URB (August 2009).
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 electronic rock 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, and its 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. In late 2009, Kid Cudi was featured on the highly anticipated Jay-Z album The Blueprint 3, on the song "Already Home". On September 14, 2009, BET premiered their Rising Icons profile of Kid Cudi. During the 30 minute show Cudi performed "CuDi Zone", "Mr. Solo Dolo", "Day ‘n’ Nite" and "Make Her Say". Cudi also discussed his childhood, his move to New York to begin his career as an artist and more.
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 in both the U.S. and in Europe. The second single released 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. Common was also featured throughout the album, as the narrator.
In September 2009, Cudi co-headlined 50 Cent's "50 Fest" concert, along with fellow American rapper Wale. In a late 2009 interview, Cudi announced that the follow-up to his debut album would be a compilation album entitled Cudder and the Revolution of Evolution, which would have many collaborations. 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. Kid Cudi was nominated for three 2010 Grammy Awards, for his singles "Day 'n' Nite" and "Make Her Say".
In January 2010, Cudi released Man on the Moon: The End of Day's third and final single "Pursuit of Happiness", which was eventually certified platinum by the RIAA. In 2010, Kid Cudi was featured on Snoop Dogg's re-release of Malice n Wonderland, titled More Malice, on the lead 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 would not be Cudder and the Revolution of Evolution, but 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 in 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", features Kanye West and was produced by Jim Jonsin. The song 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).
2011–12: 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, then he would release a short film, directed by Shia LaBeouf, inspired by his song "Maniac", with Cage, 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." In 2011, Cudi landed a songwriting placement on English singer Natalia Kills' debut album Perfectionist, for the song "Free".
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 would no longer be releasing the A Man Named Scott mixtape, so that he can focus on his rock project and his third solo album Man on the Moon III. Kid Cudi released the music video for his second album'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, Cudi 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. This 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 his Twitter feed: "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 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'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 late 2013, Kid Cudi went on tour in support of Indicud on The Cud Life Tour 2013. The tour was announced on July 15 with tickets going on sale the following day. Supporting acts on the tour included fellow American rappers Big Sean, Tyler, The Creator and Logic.
2013–14: Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon
While on tour, on October 16, 2013 Kid Cudi announced he would be releasing an extended play (EP), sometime in the next three months. Cudi also revealed he would be producing it alongside Dot da Genius and that frequent collaborator King Chip, would appear on the EP. He then called the EP a prelude to his fourth album Man on the Moon III, which he announced would be released in 2015. On October 19, 2013, Cudi revealed "Going to the Ceremony", a song he had released via online audio distribution platform SoundCloud, earlier in July, would be included in the EP. Cudi would also go on to reveal a remix of his hit single "Day 'n' Nite, which was briefly previewed on the intro of his 2008 breakout mixtape A Kid Named Cudi, would also appear on the EP.
On November 25, 2013, via his Twitter, Cudi revealed the title of the EP to be Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon. On December 16, 2013, Kid Cudi once again utilized SoundCloud to release "Satellite Flight", the EP's title-track. On January 27, 2014, Kid Cudi revealed on Twitter that Satellite Flight: Journey to Mother Moon would no longer be an EP, but a full-length album instead. In a February 2014 interview with MTV News, Cudi discussed the EP's transition to a full-fledged album and called the project his best work yet: "I'm really excited because it's my best work, and it's a surprise. People weren't really expecting it. I've never done two albums within a year of each other."
On February 25, 2014, with only few hours' notice from Cudi, Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon was released exclusively to digital retailers. The album debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 87,000 digital copies in the United States. On March 4, 2014 Cudi appeared on Chelsea Lately, where he was interviewed by Oscar-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe, to promote Satellite Flight and the 2014 film Need for Speed. On March 12, 2014, Cudi released a song titled "Hero", a collaboration with American singer-songwriter Skylar Grey, recorded for the soundtrack to Need for Speed. On March 15, 2014, Cudi appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show, where he promoted the album, discussed the state of hip-hop, suicidal thoughts, Need for Speed, and performed the song "Internal Bleeding", from the album.
In April 2014, Cudi appeared on the cover of the inaugural issue of Fat Man magazine. On April 24, 2014, while being honored as a mental health advocate by Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, Cudi offered a special performance during their annual Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards. On May 2, 2014, it was announced Cudi would headline Chicago's North Coast Music Festival, along with West Coast rapper Snoop Dogg. On May 11, 2014 Cudi revealed he would be writing and directing a short film for the Satellite Flight album cut "Balmain Jeans": "Developing a short film for "Balmain Jeans", a story about a spontaneous electric connection between two strangers."
2015–16: Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven
In a January 2015 interview, at the Sundance Film Festival, Kid Cudi expressed the possibility of releasing another album before the release of Man on the Moon III: "I'm always making music. The beauty in that is that I have a lot of material. And I'm actually thinking that it would be good to release something in the meantime, before Man on the Moon III comes out. Another Kid Cudi album, it's just kind of along the lines of what I did with Indicud or Satellite Flight, which is just its own standalone thing but still a Kid Cudi album. The Man on the Moon III album is something that's gonna take some time but I know the fans are gonna be patient and I really appreciate that guys, thank you for your patience. But Man on the Moon III is coming, there may be an album before that just to tide you over."
On March 3, 2015, Cudi officially released his first song since his album Satellite Flight, was put on the market. The song, which is titled "Love," was originally recorded for Satellite Flight, and samples Ratatat's "Sunblocks" and has been received with positive reviews. On April 4, 2015, Cudi announced via Twitter that he would be releasing a new album titled Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven. On October 27, 2015, Cudi announced the new album will be released on December 4, 2015. He also leaked two songs off the project, "Wedding Tux" and "Judgemental Cunt". In November 2015 Cudi announced an Especial Tour, that will bring the rapper to various theaters all across the United States. On December 1, 2015, Cudi announced the cancellation of his Especial Tour, due to various reasons, such as production and personal issues. To make up for postponing the concert tour, Cudi released the album's title-track as the second single.
2016–present: Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin' and Kids See Ghosts
In March 2016, Kid Cudi performed at McDowell Mountain Music Festival in Phoenix, Arizona. In an early April 2016 interview with Billboard, when asked about Man on the Moon III, Cudi responded with: "I came up with Man on the Moon when I was a young man. People change their vibe! We can follow the same template and do the five-act split. Sonically, I’m still going to be where I’m at. Honestly, I was ready to live up to the obligation and do 'Man on the Moon III. I haven’t been dicking around. I was planning on doing it after Speedin' Bullet. But the Speedin’ Bullet response tore me up. It made me realize what’s most important. I’m getting back on the bike again and doing what I do best: me." On April 22, 2016, Kid Cudi announced he would be releasing a new studio album, slated for a summer unveiling.
On May 11, 2016, amidst rumors that he was set to release Man on the Moon III, Cudi revealed the title of his sixth solo album would be Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin', through online mobile video-sharing and social networking service Instagram. On June 1, 2016, Cudi announced that he has two upcoming albums. One set to be released in the summer, while the other would be released in the fall. He added that one of them is completed. On September 26, 2016, Kid Cudi unveiled the track-list for Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin' via Twitter, which revealed guest spots from Travis Scott, André 3000, Pharrell Williams and Willow Smith.
Although there was a discrepancy between him and Kanye West, West later made an offer of peace and a song featuring him and Cudi subsequently surfaced online. Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’ was announced to be issued first via digital distribution on December 16, 2016, with the physical release on December 23. Cudi has also shared the song "Baptized in Fire," which features Travis Scott (with whom Cudi collaborated extensively with on 2016's Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight). On March 1, 2017, Kid Cudi performed the song "Kitchen", with a string orchestra, live on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. On August 15, 2017, Cudi announced a national concert tour by the name of Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin' Tour; with the first date on September 30 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In 2018 Cudi and Kanye West formed a duo known as Kids See Ghosts, and produced an album with the same name, Kids See Ghosts, which was released on June 8, 2018. On October 23, 2018, in response to a fan on Twitter, Cudi revealed he had begun working on his seventh solo album. Although he said he would be taking his time to create his forthcoming LP, Cudi projected a 2019 release. In July 2019, Kid Cudi announced his next album, Entergalactic, which will soundtrack an upcoming Netflix "adult-focused animated music series" co-created by himself and Kenya Barris.
On April 24, 2020, Cudi collaborated with Travis Scott under the name "The Scotts", to release a song under the same name, "The Scotts". It was hinted that the duo would be releasing more music in the future. The song debuted atop the Billboard Hot 100, becoming his first number-one hit.
Later on April 24, Cudi also revealed that he was still working on new music for a future WZRD release, joking that "we take a decade off between albums." On July 9, 2020, his daughter Vada announced via social media that he was releasing a song with Eminem called "The Adventures of Moon Man & Slim Shady" the coming Friday. The song was released on July 10, 2020.
On October 26, Cudi revealed a teaser on his official Twitter account for the long awaited Man on the Moon III, the third album in his Man on the Moon series. Details on when it is likely to released was not revealed.
In 2010, Kid Cudi made a guest appearance on American television drama One Tree Hill, starring as himself and performing his Man on the Moon II single "Erase Me", during the episode. In 2010, Kid Cudi also began starring in the HBO comedy series How to Make It in America, as part of the main cast, being credited by his birth name Scott Mescudi, until its cancellation after two seasons. On October 31, 2010, Kid Cudi released a short film, directed by Shia LaBeouf, in which he and fellow American rapper Cage, star as French-speaking serial killers. The short film, titled Maniac, was inspired by Cudi's song of the same name, from his 2010 album Man on the Moon II and is an homage to the 1992 Belgian black comedy crime mockumentary, Man Bites Dog. In May 2012, Kanye West premiered a short film he directed, titled Cruel Summer, at the Cannes Film Festival. According to MTV, Kid Cudi is the lead character, playing a "car thief who falls for a blind Arabian princess." The film was shown on seven different screens that turned on and off, giving various angles of each shot.
In October 2012, it was announced Cudi would star in an indie romantic comedy titled Two Night Stand, alongside Analeigh Tipton and Miles Teller. Also in 2012, it was revealed Cudi would star in an indie thriller film titled Tacoma, alongside Patricia Clarkson. In 2013, Cudi guest starred in the animated TV series The Cleveland Show, voicing a character named Devon, in the Season 4 episode "Brownsized". In 2013, he also guest starred on the FOX comedy series Brooklyn Nine-Nine, where he played a criminal named Dustin Whitman. In 2013, it was revealed Cudi would then star in Goodbye World, alongside Adrian Grenier.
In January 2013, Cudi was cast in the film adaptation of Need for Speed. Need for Speed, which is Cudi's feature film debut, was released by Touchstone Pictures on March 14, 2014. In June 2013, it was revealed Cudi would appear in Mark Webber's film The Ever After, alongside Teresa Palmer and Melissa Leo. On November 10, 2014, Cudi guest starred on the CBS American television series Scorpion, as Peyton Temple, a musical prodigy who created a controversial algorithm that generates the perfect hit pop song, who later helps Scorpion investigate the murder of his friend who was a music industry blogger. In February 2014, it was announced Cudi would appear in Entourage (2015), the film adaptation of the popular HBO TV series of the same name.
On April 11, 2014, it was announced Cudi would star in a film titled James White, alongside Christopher Abbott and Cynthia Nixon. In addition to starring in the film, it was revealed Cudi would also be curating the film's score as well. In January 2015, Cudi revealed he played a homosexual character in James White: "This was way different than anything else I've ever done. It was dope to do that. I felt like I had a responsibility to present a different walk in life from that world." Although his character's sexuality is not outwardly discussed during the film, the original script included a coming-out scene and a kiss between Cudi and a male friend, played by David Call: "I didn't flinch. I'm secure with mine," Cudi told an audience after the film's premiere. "I'm an artist—it's all about playing characters that are intriguing and stimulating."
Also in January 2015, Cudi revealed he had just finished filming a movie titled Vincent-N-Roxxy, alongside Zoe Kravitz and Emile Hirsch. When speaking on Vincent-N-Roxxy, Cudi said: "this movie that I have coming out soon that’s my first villain role. It’s very violent and very disturbing […] I play kind of like a drug lord." Cudi took over the mic duties for Reggie Watts, on IFC's television series, Comedy Bang! Bang! on July 10, 2015. As the in-house disc jockey, Cudi crafted original music for the show and appeared in several skits throughout season four. The December 10 Christmas edition of Comedy Bang! Bang!, marked the season finale and Cudi's final episode as bandleader.
In July 2016, it was announced Cudi would join the cast of FOX's Empire, debuting in the third season of the series as "an independent musician who is a rival to Hakeem (Bryshere "Yazz" Gray) both in the studio and in life." Cudi later left the project due to creative differences.
In 2019, Cudi had small roles in Drunk Parents, directed by Fred Wolf, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, directed by Kevin Smith; and, playing himself, in Jexi directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. In 2020, he co-starred in Bill & Ted Face the Music, directed by Dean Parisot, opposite Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter. He is set to appear in Dreamland, directed by Nicholas Jarecki, and in We Are Who We Are, an eight-episode miniseries for HBO directed by Luca Guadagnino.
Kid Cudi's musical style has been described as "an atmospheric take on melodic rap, with a dollop of charming, off-key singing". He has also been called "introspective, with the ability to lay his insecurities on record and expose his fallibility." In 2015, Kris Ex of Billboard, wrote "he's always been an emotional artist, dealing with expansive and nebulous feelings in acute and often destructive ways." Kid Cudi's sound is what inspired and led Kanye West to create his cathartic 808s & Heartbreak (2008), with West later stating 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." West also complimented Cudi by saying, "His writing is just so pure and natural and important." In March 2014, Cudi talked about wanting to provide guidance for young listeners with his music: "my mission statement since day one […] all I wanted to do was help kids not feel alone, and stop committing suicide."
In a 2013 article for The BoomBox, the author wrote: "On [A Kid Named Cudi], Cudi raps and croons over samples and interpolations of Gnarls Barkley, Paul Simon, Band of Horses, J Dilla, Nosaj Thing, N.E.R.D. and Outkast. He melded indie rock, electronica and dubstep seamlessly with hip-hop without pandering or reaching. Before Drake broke through with 2009’s So Far Gone, rapping and singing over Swedish indie poppers Lykke Li and Peter Bjorn and John, Cudi tweaked with multi-genre covers and seamless transitions between singing and rapping." In a 2009 interview with HipHopDX, when speaking on his debut album Cudi stated: "Well one thing I wanted to do was combine sounds that really bring out intense moods."
Kid Cudi's music has also been described as trip hop. Furthermore, he is known for harmonizing and humming in his music, which helps formulate his signature sound. On 2011's WZRD and 2015's Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven, Cudi incorporated the use of screamed vocals, and can be heard yodeling on his 2016 album Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin'. Throughout the years he has also incorporated elements of psychedelia, R&B, electronica, synthpop and grunge, in his music.
Kid Cudi's earliest influences include alternative hip hop groups such as The Pharcyde, A Tribe Called Quest and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. Cudi also cites rappers such as The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, Run-DMC, Kurtis Blow, LL Cool J, Salt-N-Pepa, Queen Latifah, Kid 'n Play, N.W.A., Naughty By Nature, Onyx and Public Enemy, as his hip hop influences while growing up. Cudi has also credited fellow Ohio native Camu Tao, as an influence. He has also been inspired by the sounds of The O'Jays, Ratatat, MGMT and The Postal Service. In 2010, he began experimenting with rock music; rock acts that inspired Cudi include the Electric Light Orchestra, Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, the Pixies and Pink Floyd.
In September 2009, Kid Cudi teamed up with Japanese clothing company BAPE, for a collaboration that saw Cudi's likeness featured on graphic T-shirts, with the Japanese label's mascot, Baby Milo. As of 2014, he has had five t-shirt collaborations with BAPE.
Cudi wore a men's kilt to a 2010 New Year's Eve party in Miami.
In February 2011, Kid Cudi announced a collaboration with Parisian brand Surface to Air. In the fall of 2011, he released a leather jacket collection in collaboration with the fashion label. Taking cues from the modern biker jacket, the "Thriller-inspired" lineup offered two men's styles. He can be seen wearing the jackets in music videos such as "All of the Lights and "Mr. Rager".
In a January 2013 interview, Cudi revealed that he had stopped smoking marijuana two years earlier, both for the sake of his child and due to frustration with constantly being associated with the drug and stoner culture. In that same interview, Cudi said that while he believes in God, he considers himself spiritual but not religious.
In a March 2013 interview, Kid Cudi talked about how his initial sudden and unexpected fame drove him to alcohol and drugs:
"For me, I just got to this point, and especially up until recently, I gave up liquor, I don’t drink anymore, it’s been five and a half months I’ve been sober. The booze was a new thing for me, I didn’t realize I was an alcoholic all these years. I had a problem, I think with any addiction you have to be ready to make the choice, whether it’s cigarettes or anything. You have to just commit and you just have to stick with it. I stopped everything cold turkey. When I had my cocaine problem I stopped cold turkey, I didn’t go to rehab. I don’t believe in these things. Some people need the extra help, not me. I wasn’t a drug addict before this crap, I wasn’t doing cocaine, I wasn’t getting wasted every night because I didn’t want to be alone. I wasn’t this dark person before the madness, I was a whole other dude. I don’t even think I smoked weed as much ‘cause we couldn’t afford it... You just have to make the choice and decide the person you wanna be and stick with it. You get to a certain age where the people around you are not gonna be on that rollercoaster all day long ready for you to go up, ready for you to go down, and stick with you through all the madness. People want you to be one person and stick with it and I chose to be clean and be sober and get my life together. For myself, for my health, for my daughter, for my family."
In a 2013 interview, Cudi revealed he had suffered an addiction to anti-depressant medication, which had been prescribed to help him deal with an "emotional breakdown" following a failed relationship. In a 2014 interview, Cudi spoke on his struggles with depression and suicide throughout the years: "I’ve dealt with suicide for the past five years. 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."
On March 26, 2010, Cudi's daughter, Vada Wamwene Mescudi, was born. Throughout 2012, Cudi was in a custody battle over his daughter. 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 judgment; 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 "voluntarily 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.
On April 8, 2014, Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services announced that it would recognize mental health advocates Kid Cudi, Ronda Rousey and Natasha Tracy, during its annual Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards on April 24, at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. Committed to helping depressed and suicidal youth through the power of music, Cudi joined Didi Hirsch's Erasing the Stigma Efforts as a Mental Health Ambassador.
On February 7, 2015, Kid Cudi partnered with TED to give a TED Talk at his former high school Shaker Heights, to help inspire the students with his story, for the school's independently organized "TEDxSHHS" conference.
Kid Cudi has also been a volunteer for Musicians on Call (MOC), a charity with the mission of bringing live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in healthcare facilities. In December 2015, Cudi arranged a dance party for the teenage participants of the Children's Hospital At Montefiore's (CHAM) B-N-Fit program, in the Bronx. Kid Cudi also hosted a group of young patients and their families from CHAM, at his sold-out Roseland Ballroom shows in April 2016.
In 2009, Cudi began dating entertainment attorney Jamie Baratta. They were in an on-again, off-again relationship, and were a prominent 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 as a member of the alternative rock duo, WZRD.
Cudi's cultural impact reverberates through the vulnerable lyrical exploration of his mental health battles that defined his catalog and inspired Travis Scott (the "Scott" of his stage name is derived from Cudi's first name) to deem him "one of the realest rappers alive." In a genre where the term "real" is so often reserved for hypermasculine, seemingly bulletproof depictions of black manhood, Cudi has subverted those norms and epitomized the term through ever-relatable reflections of his existential frailties.
IBTimes writer Alex Garofaro states "Since the beginning of Cudi's career, his music has been extremely influential. His unique blend of dark, introspective lyrics, melancholy melody, psychedelic instrumentation and stoner cool made him a crossover sensation with rap, R&B and indie music fans alike." Luke Hinz of HotNewHipHop said "Cudi has inspired a generation of young artists to be unafraid to explore a wide array of emotions, and many have sought to adapt elements of Cudi’s music into their own. Never caring to fit into the conventional boundaries of music, Cudi became a voice for those who felt unrepresented and alone."
Revolt writer Preezy Brown noted "His knack for displaying vulnerability and addressing bouts with mental health has made him an inspiration for a long list of artists including Juice WRLD, Logic, Lil Yachty, and other leaders of the new school." Eric Diep of Complex said "Cudi is an omnipresent figure in pop culture who has inspired many. He’s a voice for young creatives who don’t fit in. He’s a therapeutic light for people who need a helping hand. He’s a fashion icon. He’s more than a cool cameo in television and movies, but a full-fledged actor."
Uproxx stated "Compared to modern icons like Drake, West, and Wayne, Cudi doesn’t have a boatload of sales, or a room full of accolades, but his weighty impact is reflected in adulation from the people, which is the intangible, everlasting achievement that most artists live for. He’s one of the first artists to be unabashed about his depressive ruminations and did so in a melodically intriguing manner that progressed alternative rock aesthetics into the hip-hop world one cadence at a time.
Kid Cudi has gone on to influence and inspire several artists himself, such as rappers Kanye West, Travis Scott, Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Chance the Rapper, Childish Gambino, Logic, ASAP Rocky, ASAP Nast, Allan Kingdom, Raury, Key!, Kevin Abstract, and Jaden Smith, as well as singers Jhene Aiko, Lissie and Tinashe, among others. In a 2010 interview with Billboard, Kanye West called Cudi his "personal favorite artist in the world right now. His whole take on the game is just unfiltered, uncensored artistry." In a 2015 article titled "KiD CuDi – A Forgotten Influence on Psychedelic Introspection in Hip-Hop", the author wrote "Cudi helped bring about a new era of electronic, psychedelic driven production. And his dark, drug-riddled approach to introspection has already taken hold in the up-and-comers in the hip-hop world."
In 2009, Drake shared his admiration for Cudi on Twitter with a picture of him holding both his and Cudi's projects stating "We are rarely proud when we are alone. But to have another artist who pushes me and inspires me is a blessing." In 2016, Kanye West called Cudi "the most influential artist of the past 10 years". West Coast hip hop duo Audio Push also praised Cudi in 2016, saying "The thing I love about Cudi is he's unapologetically real. He birthed so much of, not even the new generation of artists, but a lot of [your] favorite artists wouldn't be [your] favorite artists if it wasn't for Cudi." In November 2016, Atlanta-based rapper OG Maco, who has cited Cudi as a major influence on several occasions, released an EP titled For Scott, as a tribute to Kid Cudi.
In October 2018, Pharrell Williams talked about Cudi in an interview with Complex, he said "He's so inspiring, and I'm only as good as my collaborations anyway. I love the stuff that we did. Love, love. I like music that I want to go to later, you know? A year from now I wanna play it. Or like three months from now I want to play it. You know, we're on an island somewhere, I wanna play it. Like, I'm that guy. So to me, Cudi is a GOAT. His melodies and his concepts—he's a timeless alien." In another interview from Complex, he also stated "Cudi, on one hand, represents the freedom to be into many things and have a really serious, informed opinion about those things to take what he likes in terms of inspiration and be able to turn it into a solid thought or concept. That’s who he is as a person. On the other hand, he also marches to the beat of his own drum.His confidence is not in how good he is. His confidence is how authentic his conviction is. You know, what he thinks is fundamentally wrong is wrong, and what he thinks is fundamentally right is right. And whether you agree with him or not, you can tell he believes that, and his belief in his convictions and his consistency in his convictions gives him the taste that he has, but it also is what his fans love about him so much. When they say Cudi is the GOAT, they’re talking about the consistency of his convictions and how that’s played out into the choices that he makes, the taste that he has, and the tone that he takes with everything that he does. That’s my idea of Cudi."
- Studio albums
- Man on the Moon: The End of Day (2009)
- Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager (2010)
- Indicud (2013)
- Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon (2014)
- Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven (2015)
- Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin' (2016)
- Entergalactic (2021)
- Man on the Moon III (TBA)
- Collaborative albums
- WZRD (with Dot da Genius as WZRD) (2012)
- Kids See Ghosts (with Kanye West as Kids See Ghosts) (2018)
Awards and nominations
|Maniac||Twisted Killer||Short film; also screenwriter, composer|
|Cruel Summer||Rafi||Short film|
|Goodbye World||Lev Berkowitz|
|Need for Speed||Benny / Maverick||Credited as Scott Mescudi.|
|The Ever After||Scott|
|Two Night Stand||Cedric|
|James White||Nick||Also composer|
|Vincent N Roxxy||Suga|
|Drunk Parents||Scottie Tow Driver|
|Jay and Silent Bob Reboot||Rapping Officer|
|Bill & Ted Face the Music||Himself|
|Malcolm & Marie||Post-production; Executive producer|
|106 & Park||As himself||Celebrity guest; performed a cappella version of "Soundtrack 2 My Life"|
|Late Show with David Letterman||As himself||Musical guest; performed "Pursuit of Happiness"|
|One Tree Hill||As himself||Episode: "Lists, Plans"|
|Late Night with Jimmy Fallon||As himself||Musical guest; performed "Maniac"|
|How to Make It in America||Domingo Dean||Main cast; 16 episodes|
|The Cleveland Show||Devon (voice)||Episode: "Brownsized"|
|Jimmy Kimmel Live!||As himself||Musical guest, performed "Immortal"|
|Brooklyn Nine-Nine||Dustin Whitman||Episode: "48 Hours"|
|The Arsenio Hall Show||As himself||Musical guest, performed "Internal Bleeding"|
|Scorpion||Peyton Temple||Episode: "Risky Business"|
|Comedy Bang! Bang!||As himself||Co-host/bandleader; 21 episodes|
|Talking Dead||As himself||Episode: "Knots Untie"|
|The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon||As himself||Musical guest; performed "Kitchen"|
|Saturday Night Live||As himself||Cameo appearance, musical guest; performed "Ghost Town" with Kanye West and 070 Shake|
|Red Table Talk||As himself||Episode: "Confronting Mental Illness"|
|We Are Who We Are||Richard Harper||Main cast|
|Kids See Ghosts||Kid Fox||Post-production|
- The Great Hangover Tour (with Asher Roth and B.o.B) (2009)
- The Cud Life Tour (2011-2013)
- The Especial Tour (2016)
- Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin' Tour (2017)
- Glow in the Dark Tour (with Kanye West) (2008)
- The Monster Ball Tour (with Lady Gaga) (2009)
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