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Kid Cudi
Kid Cudi 2010 2 (crop).jpg
Kid Cudi in 2010
Born
Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi

(1984-01-30) January 30, 1984 (age 40)
Education University of Toledo (no degree)
Occupation
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • actor
Years active 2003–present
Agent Dennis Cummings
Television
  • Entergalactic
Title
  • Founder of Mad Solar and Wicked Awesome Records
  • CCO of Encore Studio
Children 1
Awards Full list
Musical career
Genres
Labels
  • Wicked Awesome
  • Republic
  • Dream On
  • GOOD
  • Fool's Gold
  • Universal Motown

Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi (born January 30, 1984), better known by his stage name Kid Cudi (/ˈkʌdi/ KUDD-ee), is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, and actor.

Early life

Kid Cudi was born Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi in Cleveland, Ohio, on January 30, 1984. He grew up in Shaker Heights and Solon. He has two older brothers, Domingo and Dean, and an older sister, Maisha. His mother, Elsie Harriet (née Banks), is an African-American 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 of African-American and Mexican descent.

When Cudi was 11 years old, his father died of cancer; his passing had a significant effect on Cudi's personality and music. Cudi attended Shaker Heights High School for two years before transferring to Solon High School. He was expelled from the school, and would later earn his GED. He studied film at the University of Toledo, but dropped out after a year. His subsequent plan to join the Navy did not pan out because of his juvenile police record.

Career

Kid Cudi Summerstage Central Park
Cudi performing at Summerstage in July 2008

Cudi first began rapping in 2003, towards the end of his time in high school, and was inspired by alternative hip hop groups such as the Pharcyde and A Tribe Called Quest. He later moved to New York City to pursue a music career. After leaving Cleveland in 2005 with $500 and a demo tape, he moved in with his uncle, accomplished jazz drummer Kalil Madi, in the South Bronx. He worked at a couple of Manhattan clothing stores, before eventually sharing an apartment with friend and collaborator Dot da Genius in Brooklyn.

In 2006, Cudi would run into his future mentor, rapper and producer Kanye West, in a Virgin Megastore. He recounted in a 2009 SPIN interview, "I was looking at CDs, saw the gleam of a Jesus piece in the right side of my eye, looked up, and it was Kanye West." He introduced himself and offered West some of his music. Cudi would later run into West again while working at the BAPE store in New York, and recalled: "I remember Kanye coming in one time and I was helping him get a couple things. I forgot to take a sensor off of one of the jackets he bought and I had to run out the store to catch him before he left. Pretty funny me chasing after him in SoHo."

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Cudi performing in August 2009

Cudi gained first major recognition following the release of his debut single "Day 'n' Nite", which he initially self-published on his MySpace page. The song went on to become a worldwide hit and served as the catalyst for Cudi to team with American record producers Plain Pat and Emile Haynie, to record his first official full-length project, a mixtape titled A Kid Named Cudi (2008). The mixtape helped Cudi rise to prominence and establish a fan base, and it caught the attention of high-profile musician Kanye West, who subsequently signed Cudi to his GOOD Music label imprint by late 2008.

Cudi's commercial debut single was later remastered and featured on his seminal debut album, Man on the Moon: The End of Day (2009), which was certified quadruple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The album also included the singles "Make Her Say" (featuring Kanye West and Common) and "Pursuit of Happiness" (featuring MGMT and Ratatat), the latter of which achieved diamond status (10x platinum) by the RIAA. In 2010, Cudi released his second album, Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager, which also attained platinum status and features the singles "Erase Me" (featuring Kanye West) and "Mr. Rager". Later that year he formed WZRD, a rock band, 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 would go on to release the self-produced solo album Indicud (2013), which was certified gold by the RIAA and spawned the platinum-selling single "Just What I Am" (featuring King Chip). He would continue to produce the bulk of his own records, including the avant-garde music albums Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon (2014) and Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven (2015), the latter of which was led by the grunge-inspired single "Confused!". In 2016, the release of his sixth solo album Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin', was supported by the lead single "Surfin'" (featuring Pharrell Williams). Cudi's joint album with Kanye West, under the eponymous name Kids See Ghosts (2018), was met with widespread critical acclaim. In April 2020, Cudi earned his first number-one song on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart with "The Scotts", alongside fellow American rapper Travis Scott. His seventh album, Man on the Moon III: The Chosen (2020), was highly acclaimed and a commercial success, having been certified gold by the RIAA. Cudi issued his eighth album Entergalactic (2022), coinciding with the release of a adult animated special of the same name inspired by the album, which was critically praised.

Monster-ball-poker face acoustic
Lady Gaga and Cudi performing a piano version of "Poker Face" and "Make Her Say" on The Monster Ball Tour in November 2009

After signing to GOOD Music, Cudi has since gone on to launch his own vanity labels, the now-dissolved Dream On and current label imprint Wicked Awesome Records. Cudi also ventured into acting in 2010, when he was cast in the HBO series How to Make It in America. He has since appeared in several feature films, including Goodbye World (2013), Need for Speed (2014), Entourage (2015), Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020), Don't Look Up (2021), and X (2022). 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! and in 2020 was added as a cast member for the HBO mini-series We Are Who We Are. In 2020, he launched Mad Solar, a production company for film and television, which produced a documentary titled A Man Named Scott (2021), storying Cudi's music career. Cudi is also founder, creator, and director of the clothing line "MOTR", which he launched in 2022.

Kid Cudi Coachella 2014 1 (cropped)
Cudi performing at Coachella in April 2014

In April 2022, Cudi was cast in the John Woo-directed action-thriller Silent Night, starring alongside Joel Kinnaman. Moreover, as announced in 2019, Cudi starred in his own animated TV special, Entergalactic, at Netflix, a companion piece to his eighth solo album of the same name, release on September 30, 2022, in which he co-produced with Kenya Barris, and wrote alongside Ian Edelman and Maurice Williams. In June 2022, the voice cast was announced; Cudi stars alongside Timothée Chalamet, Macaulay Culkin, Laura Harrier, Jessica Williams, and more.

Kid Cudi has been widely recognized as an influence on several contemporary hip hop and alternative acts. His lyrics are often autobiographical and describe his childhood hardships of depression, loneliness and alienation, and themes of spirituality, heartbreak, dissipation and celebration. The majority of his impact stems from his ability to display vulnerability and address bouts with mental health. He is also noted for his experimental nature, combining elements of psychedelia, R&B, electronica, synthpop, punk and indie rock, in his music. Cudi has sold over 22 million certified records in the United States and has won two Grammy Awards from five nominations. He has worked with numerous prominent artists spanning several different genres in the music industry, namely Jay-Z, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, David Guetta, Steve Aoki, MGMT, Mary J. Blige, Shakira, Ariana Grande and Michael Bolton, among others.

Artistry

Musical style

Kanye West's 808s & Heartbreak @ The Hollywood Bowl - Night 1 (09-25-15) (21736815375)
Kanye West and Cudi performing 808s & Heartbreak at the Hollywood Bowl in September 2015

Cudi's musical style has been described as "an atmospheric take on melodic rap, with a dollop of charming, off-key singing". Kanye West complimented Cudi by saying, "His writing is just so pure and natural and important."

His 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. Throughout the years he has also incorporated elements of psychedelia, R&B, electronica, synthpop, punk and grunge, in his music.

Cudi was gifted a guitar by his manager in 2011, encouraging Cudi to learn. Cudi taught himself how to play the guitar and went on to utilize the instrument in his rock music throughout his career. Cudi is also a self-taught music producer. In 2021, Cudi appeared on American TV talk show The Shop, where he spoke on his writing and recording process. Cudi mentioned for his early albums he would sit down and write entire verses. However, while working on Kids See Ghosts and Man on the Moon III, he adopted Kanye West's writing process. Instead of writing to a beat, he records a reference track for himself, where he freestyles and hums his way through the beat to get a melody, and fills in the lyrics as they come to him. In 2021, during Songwriter's Roundtable for The Hollywood Reporter, Cudi called his music "space punk rock".

Other ventures

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Cudi performing in July 2009

Fashion

[File:Kid Cudi MOTM Performance.jpg|thumb|Cudi performing in September 2009]]

In September 2009, Japanese clothing company BAPE printed Cudi's likeness on T-shirts. As of 2014, he has had five t-shirt collaborations with BAPE. In 2021, Cudi and BAPE collaborated on a series 20 pieces logos and other things.

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..

In August 2014, Giuseppe Zanotti designed an exclusive sneaker inspired by Kid Cudi's style.

In February 2019, Kid Cudi partnered with French fashion brand A.P.C.. The capsule collection included denim, sneakers, and t-shirts.

Kid Cudi announced a partnership with Adidas in March 2019. On December 10, 2020, Cudi unveiled his Adidas sneakers. They are the self-named VADAWAM 326's which would be released on December 17, 2020.

Kid Cudi 2010 1
Cudi in April 2010

On May 20, 2020, Kid Cudi announced he was partnering with American designer Virgil Abloh, to release an exclusive "Leader of the Delinquents" t-shirt. The design on the black and white "PULLING STRINGS" t-shirt features Kid Cudi puppeteering a smaller version of himself, hence the name of the t-shirt release. The art is meant to reference Cudi's infamous TMZ moment from 2012, in which he posed like the puppet on the shirt. "Leader of the Delinquents" is written across the back of the t-shirt in text reminiscent of Jean-Michel Basquiat's handwriting.

Just hours before releasing his long-awaited Man on the Moon III album, Cudi rolled out a small batch of merchandise in support of the album. The range was made in collaboration with Cactus Plant Flea Market, and consists of short- and long-sleeve T-shirts, pullover hoodies, and sweatpants—all of which feature graphics that reference MOTM3 tracks.

In April 2021, Kid Cudi performed on Saturday Night Live wearing a floral-print sundress, created by Virgil Abloh. On April 11, Cudi confirmed that he would have an upcoming collection with Italian luxury fashion label Off-White, with the floral dress serving as one of the pieces.

In late April 2021, it was revealed Kid Cudi had teamed up with the NFL to release a limited-edition Starter jacket commemorating the 2021 NFL Draft, which took place in Cudi's hometown of Cleveland.

Members of the RAGE

On January 26, 2021, Kid Cudi announced on Twitter that he would be starting his own clothing line and the first pieces would be available sometime in 2021. In February 2022, Cudi launched his very own clothing line titled called Members of the RAGE. The clothing line is described as a fusion of "90s grunge with the soul of hip hop and elements from a distant future." Its UFO logo was co-designed by Cudi and Japanese fashion designer Nigo, while the retro-inspired website was designed by Cudi himself. The first piece that was issued was a t-shirt created in collaboration with Nigo's Human Made. Created for NBA All-Star Weekend, the shirt comes in white and features the Members of the RAGE logo in Cleveland Cavaliers colors and the Earth replaced with a basketball.

Modeling

In 2010, Cudi modeled for a campaign run by American fashion house Calvin Klein. In January 2015, Coach, Inc. announced Kid Cudi as the new face of their brand, along with actress Chloë Grace Moretz, to front its Spring campaign. In September 2021, Cudi partnered with Cadillac, for the campaign for their 2023 Lyriq. In January 2022, Cudi modeled for the Levi Strauss & Co. campaign titled "The Number That Changed Everything." In March 2022, Cudi was featured in a jewelry-focused campaign from French fashion house Louis Vuitton. The LV Volt campaign sees Cudi, Alicia Vikander and Jin Chen, modeling a range of pieces from the unisex collection.

Dream On

Dream On was an American record label founded in 2009, by Cudi alongside his managers at the time, Patrick Reynolds and Emile Haynie. In February 2011, Cudi announced the label had been dissolved. The label went on to release the first two installments of Cudi's Man on the Moon series.

Wicked Awesome Records

Global Dance Fest 2011 @ Red Rocks
Cudi performing at the 2011 Global Dance Festival

Wicked Awesome Records is an American record label founded by Cudi in 2011. It is distributed by Republic Records. In a 2013 interview Cudi said "Wicked Awesome was there officially when I did WZRD. That was the first project that I did on Wicked Awesome and it was an outlet for me to just branch out on my own, and creatively and business-wise take things to a different space for me. Wicked Awesome..where do I see it going? Right now it's just the music but who knows? Wicked Awesome is maybe gunna be beyond music it could be movies, it could be a lot of things, producing T.V. shows." Cudi continued, explaining the motivation behind his label. "The whole motivation is just bringing authenticity back to the forefront. Bringing real content, bringing real emotion [...] Wicked Awesome is about being a real human being, making real music, talking about real things that people deal with on a day-to-day basis." In January 2021, Cudi tweeted that he is prepared to sign artists and producers.

Mad Solar

On November 17, 2020, it was revealed Cudi teamed with Dennis Cummings and Karina Manashil to found production and music management company Mad Solar, with the backing of Bron Studios, which provides corporate back office and production support, including financing, marketing, and sales. In a statement Cudi said, "Beyond excited to be launching my production company Mad Solar and partnering with Bron, whose creative vision and storytelling has transformed the industry." When speaking on the collaboration, Bron chairman Aaron L. Gilbert said "Scott Mescudi's growth as a creative and an entrepreneur has been impressive. For Bron, the strategic relationship with Mad Solar is key in our efforts to support the entertainment industry's top creatives, as well as expand Bron's access to the best in class music and sports talent through Mad Solar's management division."

On December 9, it was announced Mad Solar banner is developing a film adaptation of the coming-of-age campus novel Real Life, with Cudi set to star. Bron Studios acquired the rights to the 2020 Booker Prize-shortlisted novel with Mad Solar. Real Life is the semi-autobiographical novel debut for writer Brandon Taylor. It follows an introverted, queer, Black scientist in a predominantly white, Midwestern PhD program as he navigates complex friendships, romantic relationships, betrayals and mercies, all over the course of one weekend. Mad Solar is also producing the upcoming Netflix animated series Entergalactic, which Cudi co-created alongside Kenya Barris. Based on original music by Cudi, the series, which Cudi writes, executive produces and stars in, follows a young man on his journey to discover love. Additionally, Mad Solar has teamed with A24 and Bron Studios on the horror film X. Written and directed by Ti West, X stars Mia Goth, Cudi and Jenna Ortega. Cudi is an executive producer on the film, which will begin production early 2021.

Encore Studio

In October 2020, it was announced Cudi teamed with screenwriter Ian Edelman and startup veteran Jonathan Gray to launch Encore Studio, a mobile-based platform to help artists monetize their connections with fans. "The current streaming model puts artists in competition with one another and only rewards the top 1% of artists who collect 90% of the money," a press release announcing the app explains. "Encore offers an all-new format that encourages collaboration amongst artists and makes it easy for up-and-coming and established artists to manage and grow a direct relationship with their fans. Artists can drop new music, chat with fans and host live shows from anywhere in the world." Encore enables live music experiences through smart phones, fan interaction, community centered content and merchandise offerings to give fans new ways to reward the artists they love. "The energy from a concert is undeniable, both for the fans and artists. I am excited to launch Encore to help bring the live music experience back to our fans. Encore is committed to empowering both established and new artists and delivering the best mobile music experience out there," Cudi says. Earlier in 2020, Encore closed a $2 million seed round led by global investment firm Battery Ventures.

In 2022, it was revealed Encore Studio was backed by $9 million funding led by Battery Ventures along with investments from 468 Capital, Parade Ventures, Nomad Ventures, Moving Capital, Kayak Ventures, and Gaingels, with Cudi issuing a statement "My number one priority has always been inspiring others and providing them the space to tell their own stories in an authentic and meaningful way," Cudi said in a press release. "We created Encore as a space for artists to share their art, build community, while also being able to pay their rent."

Memoir

In September 2022, Cudi revealed that he had begun working on his memoir, when he announced he’s started writing the first chapter of his first book. "Started writing the first chapter of my book. Its comin together really well," Cudi wrote on Twitter. "Tellin my story in my own words is scary, but I feel like it needs to be told. I feel like everything will make a lil more sense as to why you all met such a troubled boy in the beginning."

Personal life

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. 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; 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.

Relationships

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. In 2020, Cudi wrote "Sept. 16", a song titled after the birthdate of his girlfriend at the time, costume designer and actress Raquel Deriane, to whom the song is dedicated.

Philanthropy

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 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 school, Shaker Heights High School, 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 2019, Kid Cudi teamed up with delivery service Postmates to deliver $10,000 worth of Popeyes takeout to the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission. Hundreds in need at the Indio shelter were presented with Popeyes' chicken, biscuits, mashed potatoes, and fries the evening before Cudi's second set at Coachella.

In June 2022, at an event organized by Tory Burch, Brent Saunders, and Anna Wintour, supporting the New York-Presbyterian Hospital’s Youth Anxiety Center, Cudi led the conversation on youth anxiety, depression, and the importance of self-care and treatment.

Impact and legacy

A number of publications have noted Kid Cudi's impact on contemporary hip hop music since his mainstream debut in 2009. 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."

Several artists have gone on to credit Kid Cudi as influence or inspiration, such as rappers Kanye West, Travis Scott, Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Chance the Rapper, Childish Gambino, Logic, ASAP Rocky, ASAP Nast, Allan Kingdom, Kyle, Isaiah Rashad, Raury, Key!, Denzel Curry, Kevin Abstract, Saba and Jaden Smith, as well as singers Willow Smith, 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 2016, Kanye West went on to call Cudi "the most influential artist of the past 10 years".

Discography

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)
  • Man on the Moon III: The Chosen (2020)
  • Entergalactic (2022)

Collaborative albums

Awards and nominations

Filmography

Kid Cudi has been featured in several feature films and television shows. He is often credited by his birth name Scott Mescudi.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Kid Cudi para niños

  • Kids See Ghosts
  • WZRD (band)
  • List of artists who reached number one in the United States
  • List of American Grammy Award winners and nominees
  • List of neo-psychedelia artists
  • List of alternative hip hop artists
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