#MusicMondays is on hold temporarily, at least for the next 7 weeks. Usually, I'll break down an entire album or even an artist in general. But with this album, the depth at which the music has reached is far too great to summarize in one article. I will break down each song individually, and allow the listener to understand the message one may receive from the art itself. I may be biased, but this is the single most inspirational album I have ever experienced in my life.
Kids See Ghosts
As performed by Kanye West and Kid Cudi
Album artwork by Takashi Murakami
June 8th, 2018
Ten years ago, Kanye West and Kid Cudi linked up for one of the most polarizing art pieces of Kanye's career with 808s and Heartbreak. Most people were looking for the Kanye they were used to hearing, the one who would come in hard with those bars. They weren't looking for pianos and autotune and vocal solos, they didn't want to understand what he was trying to do. I actually always thought it was the most challenging thing any artist could do in the midst of their prime, going outside of their "box."
That album featured Kid Cudi on songs "Paranoid" and "Heartless." Since that point, many fans of both artists have been waiting for the day that these two would come together for a collaborative album, and a decade later, we got what we asked for. Kids See Ghosts is the duo we have all needed. The wait was incredibly worth it.
The first song of this series is "Feel the Love" produced by Mike Dean, Dot Da Genius, and Kanye West, with lyrics performed by Kids See Ghosts and Pusha T. Dot Da Genius has been producing music for Kid Cudi for over a decade now, and he and Cudi get the best out of each other. Any musical painting Dot has created, Cudi has been able to add the finishing touches too with his vocals. This song is a culmination of everything Cudi and Dot have created, as if fate has brought them to this point. To be able to start the album off with this message puts the listener into the mind state of a champion.
The beat starts out very simple, with no drums or bass coming in until a minute into the piece. The sounds represent the ups and downs that Kanye and Cudi have been through, as the beat fluctuates from smooth to high intensity and back. The production value is nothing short of perfection, which is always demanded by Kanye. His use of random, yet perfectly placed, sounds adds to the beat as a vocal form of drums, coming in hard and getting the listener to get hyped up.
The use of Pusha T as the narrator for what this album is about to bring perfectly aligns with the mood Kanye and Cudi wanted to bring to the table. He spoke the words for them when he said "We not worried 'bout no other niggas, WE them other niggas." This duo has forever been the outsiders, the ones who continuously have challenged the sound of music. Their stylings have left the world bashing them for ever trying anything outside of the lane the world feels they should stay in. People miss "the old Kanye" and "the Man on the Moon Cudi," but everyone forgets that in order to evolve these artists must continue to change.
Besides the sounds that Kanye brings to the beat, he only says one line when he asks "Where the chorus?" Only for Kid Cudi to come in smooth with words from the heart as he tells the world "I can still feel the love!" For those familiar with these two, their careers have been polarizing to say the least. People have called Cudi everything but a rapper or hip-hop artist since his release of Man on the Moon II. And Kanye West, well, he's Kanye West. Unless you have lived under a rock for over a decade, you probably know more opinions of his than you thought you needed to know. You're not alone.
Kanye saying crazy shit should be nothing new to the world by now, but it seems as if everytime he says something, the world cares to listen. But in order to understand his mind state, you must listen to his music to fully understand. One's opinions come and go and change, but the art itself will stand the test of time. To be living in the time when this guy is creating art for the world is inspirational. His use of words that sound like the sounds you made when you were in the middle school cafeteria, trying to sing a drum solo, give us that realization that Kanye is a man with vision. Truly harnessing the kid within himself, and the ghosts he sees are the ones who are helping him bring his vision to life.
Kids See Ghosts can still feel the love radiating from those who have continued to support their art throughout all the bullshit they have been through. These two are the ultimate example of people being able to accept the fact that none of us are perfect. But their ability to share their message and feelings with the world allow us into their world, if only for less than three minutes. This is just the beginning, and the listener is already fully engaged.
Just a man trying to make the most of his time on this planet.