Kid Cudi, born Scott Mescudi, stepped on the scene, at first discreetly, with a feature on Kanye West’s ‘808’s and Heartbreak’ album on the track “Welcome to Heartbreak.” Not many knew who he was at the time, and not many more cared since he wasn’t busting out with the latest “dance craze” or rapping about Bentleys and breasts. But I believe he secured a place in the minds of hip hop fans everywhere with his debut video “Day N Nite” which premiered on BET’s 106 and Park on February 19, 2009. The video and the song completely connected. And in a time when artistes get more recognition for having the hottest club smasher over strong lyrical content and having a message, Kid Cudi takes a step up by actually focusing on the craft. He takes me back to the days where music was about talent and not all talk. I yearn for those days. I dream of the day where music will go back to its roots and make...MUSIC!
For me, Cudi really struck a chord on my favourite track ‘The Prayer’ off his debut album when he said:
“I’m thinking God made me special,
Here on purpose, so all the while till I’m gone,
Make my words important so if I slip away, if I die today,
The last thing you remember won’t be about some apple bottom jeans with the boots with the fur”
Even the hook for this song makes me feel like the music is about the art and the love for the fans:
“If I die before I wake I pray the lord my soul to take,
But please don’t cry, just know that I have made these songs for you.”
I’ve listened to this album several times, on good days and bad days and it always makes me feel happier with the mere thought that there is hope for music. Of course we have the greats like Rakim, Nas, Jay Z, Common, The Roots, Tupac and the other rappers who paved the way and set the standard for the forward movement of hip hop. But, let’s face it, they probably won’t be making records in 10 – 15 years because they’ll be old with families, settled down and resting easy on their contribution to the music industry, and maybe doing other things like charities, acting etc. The people who’ll be making records in 10 – 15 years are hopefuls like Kid Cudi, J. Cole, Gym Class Heroes, Kanye West, among others.
It’s time for new musicians to recognise that they will set the tone for the quality of music in the future. I don’t think some musicians understand that just as Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, James Brown and Prince influenced them, they will serve as influences for other aspiring musicians. So please stop making shit like “Stanky Leg”, “Get Silly” and all other variations of filth filtering onto our airwaves. Make music that means something. If you don’t have the talent then get a day job and stop making me despise the radio! I really wonder how people get record deals sometimes. For the “music” that I’m hearing now, I could get a damn record deal and talk about a bunch of shit and look cute and make money. When did it become all about the glam and the gimmick? There’s too much beef and chicken heads in the kitchen. Get your shit together people!
Now, on to one of the main reasons I like Kid Cudi. Hoeless music videos. I can dig it. The ‘Day N Nite’ video – hoeless (though there was a remix video where there was a white girl cop stripping down and 2 back up girls dancing, but you can tell it was for fun, that’s the difference), the ‘Make Her Say’ video – hoeless. I must say, I have a great appreciation for the lack of scantily clad “video vixens” and the lens is finally refocusing where it should be, on the ARTISTE. The spotlight is actually not on the girl in those black boyshorts who could make her ass jiggle like jello or about making it rain on them hoes. I hope this is an example that other rappers will follow. I look forward to the hoeless future of music videos. I understand that video vixens have their place in the world of music videos. But I prefer that they are used in a more theatrical way to tell a story. Hip hop needs to take tips from some R&B videos like Ne-Yo’s new video ‘Part of the List’ and Maxwell’s “Pretty Wings” video which is VERY sexy and guess what? No one’s half naked with breasts and ass hanging out! Yay! Kid Cudi, kudos to you. Please don’t make me have to take that back. Keep the focus on the craft and don’t get lost in translation. You’ve got my ears.
Your real music advocate,