Kid Cudi

Kid Cudi

Kid Cudi is Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi, a Cleveland, Ohio, native of mixed ethnicity born to two school teachers in 1984. Cudi's father passed away when he was 11, leaving his mother to raise the children alone. Cudi first began rapping in high school, and after an unsuccessful stint studying film at the University of Toledo, he picked up and moved to Brooklyn to pursue music.


In New York, Cudi immediately fell in with Fool's Gold Records. Cudi's playfully smoked-out, half-sung, half-rapped sound was a perfect fit for Fool's Gold, whose roster also included alternative hip hop acts like Chromeo, Kid Sister and Flosstradamus. Cudi played a series of reputation-building shows around the world with the Fool's Gold crew, eventually hooking up with local clothing company 10Deep in 2008 to release A Kid Named Cudi, a compilation of all of his work up until that point.


A Kid Named Cudi featured Cudi rhyming and singing over tracks from Outkast, Band of Horses, Gnarls Barkley and more. Among the original productions on A Kid Named Cudi was "Day 'n' Nite," an ode to weed-induced paranoia and depression soundtracked by a spooky descending synth figure. "Day 'n' Nite" put Cudi on the map in a major way, garnering over 2 million digital downloads in the U.S. alone. The success and popularity of A Kid Named Cudi made Cudi a sought-after songwriting talent, and by the fall of 2008, he was in the studio with Kanye West, assisting with the writing of West's confessional sing-rap manifesto, 808s and Heartbreak.


West returned the favor, signing Kid Cudi to his personal GOOD Music imprint and putting him to work on a debut album. Man on the Moon: The End of the Day posited Cudi at the nexus between indie-rock and hip-hop. The album featured production from Kanye West, A Kid Named Cudi producer Emile, and Ratatat, with guest spots from Common and MGMT. The album continued in the vein of confessional "emo rap" Kanye put forth on 808s. Cudi detailed his struggles growing up as the youngest child in a single-parent home, his fears of not making it in the industry, and a laundry list of insecurities. But Man on the Moon also featured fun loving fare like the Lady Gaga-sampling single "Make Her Say," which looped Gaga's moans on a stripped down performance of "Pokerface" underneath a joyful ode to oral sex.


Cudi later assisted Jay-Z on his mammoth Blueprint 3 album, contributing vocals to the chorus of "Already Home." Work has begun on a sequel to Man on the Moon. Over the course of his career, Kid Cudi has established himself as a singular songwriting talent whose hangdog tales of overcoming sadness and adversity play a counterpoint to the money-hungry, jewelry-crazed drug rap that has overtaken much of hip-hop's mainstream. ~Craig Jenkins


Photo Credit: Ed Marshall/

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