In an unlikely and uplifting interview with Arsenio Hall last Friday, Kid Cudi revealed a thoughtful and provocative version of a hip hop artist seldom seen in an industry so often overflowing with superfluous machismo. He was there to discuss his new album Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon, but ended up discussing oh so much more instead. Candidly opening up about his own dark bouts with demons and his dream of helping others break free from their own suffocating thoughts of dying, Kid Cudi declared war on both the outdated and shallow hip hop ideology of “dollars and hoes” and the pervasively spreading tragedy of suicide.
Kid Cudi has a lot going for him right now. He currently co-stars with Aaron Paul in the recently released box-office buster, Need For Speed. He also has a new and very highly anticipated album out to promote. So why on earth is he so depressed? According to Cudi, an artist has a responsibility to use his or her influence for benevolent and inspirational purposes. The hip hop stigma of bragging about money and other meaningless and monetarily acquired possessions is only holding Black people back he says. He wants hip hop culture to evolve and shed itself of its superficial shackles before it inevitably ends up dead and forgotten in the unforgiving ground.
For at least five years, according to Cudi, not a day went by where the thought of killing himself did not cross his morose mind. Explaining this darkness as a result of loneliness and lack of self-love, he has emerged now with a renewing desire to spread what he went without for so long to others in need. His refreshing message is not misogynistic, it is not degrading, it is a genuine manifestation of talent and passion put to good use. To propel his poignant point even further, Cudi even made a friendly jab at Drake, wondering where the Canadian rapper would be if he could not sing about his material worth. Hopefully Drake will not take it too personally; after all, Cudi is fighting for the continuing survival and relevance of not just himself, but for all his peers as well. Kid Cudi is effectively declaring war on suicide and the archaic dogma of shallow and ineffectual hip hop, and the global climate towards hip hop would suggest it is about time.
It is certainly a break from the hip hop mold to hear a rapper discuss social diseases like suicide and promoting a positive message while doing it. While Kanye West only seems to be concerned with ruling the world, and would never divulge a secret sense of self-hatred that would negate his ethereal persona, here sits Kid Cudi bearing darkness and all to whomever will watch. His hopes are that fans will embrace his kind-hearted plight and others in his industry will follow suit soon after. In an era so prevalent with dark deeds and selfish endeavors, he plans on being a guiding and somewhat selfless light.
Following his provocative interview with Arsenio, Kid Cudi solidified his successful appearance with a live rendition of his new song “Internal Bleeding.” An appropriately titled work considering the topics just discussed. Whether the hip hop culture will accept Cudi’s new manifesto or not, the subject has been placed in the forefront for debate, and that is all he can hope for in a days work. It is up to fans now to continue Kid Cudi’s declared war against shallow hip hop and suicide, and only time will tell the victor.
By Brandon Duringer