Kid Cudi’s last album, Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven is a bummer. The spirit of the December 2015 set it is straight demoralizing and somber—even for Cudi. Which is saying a lot, because as a fan I know that he’s never been the smile-for-no-reason type musically. Still, Bullet, a rock album immersed in depression, drugs and doubt is especially sad.
So imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon this Ted Talk with him up on stage speaking at his old Cleveland high school to students and saw a lively Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi smiling and—dare I say—happy? I had to know how the hell he went from sounding like a guy that was one pill or drink away from having an #RIP hashtag in front of his name on social media to this guy seemingly past his darkest days.
I reached out to Billboard and told them what I wanted to do: Interview Cudi to find out if my wishful thinking was true. And they were with it. So a few weeks later I met up with Cudi at a recording studio in Los Angeles, where he spent the first 5-10 minutes playing me “Frequency” just hours before he’d release it to his fans via SoundCloud.
It’s a refreshing take on that Cudi most of his followers fell in love with eight or so years ago thanks to his first two Man on the Moon albums and offshoots like Indicud. Waning hums lead to a woozily sung hook, followed by tight raps that are lifted by a galvanizing “I’m done up ’til sun up!” chant.
Once the music stopped, Scott spoke. A lot. About:
- getting over depression.
- how he tried to use cocaine to help.
- reconnecting with Kanye West.
- not being interesting in making Man on the Moon 3
- ejaculating on doubters.
I’ve interviewed him a bunch in the past and he’s always been candid. But this time I’m less proud about the more headline-grabbing quotes I got from him and more that he’s speaking about choosing to be happy. It really is a choice that eludes many.