Complex: Where did the whole attitude shift towards Wale stem from?
Kid Cudi: I really don’t understand what’s up with this guy, but he’s just somebody I don’t click with anymore. I started making changes in my life and started to realize positive energy around me, and he never really had a good energy. I never felt like he wanted to see me prosper, it was just one of those niggas that was envious rather than happy for a nigga. I could be reading it wrong, but I’m not making beef and rearranging my life. It’s pretty obvious he feels some type of way about it. I’m not into peer mediation and working things out, I’m just trying to provide for my daughter and my family and making music for my fans. I vibe with certain people and some people I don’t.
Complex: Last September you shot a page for GQ’s Men of the Year issue with him and Drake; was everything cool then?
Kid Cudi: The whole time me and him and Drake were doing the GQ shoot, Wale was bitching and being aggravated that clothes weren’t in his size, just really not cooperating and being difficult, and just being a diva. The photographer was like, “Wale, c’mon, smile a bit” and he was like, “Man, I don’t smile, let these other guys smile.” I was like, what kind of shit is that? In my head I’m thinking, “man, this is GQ. If these niggas want you to smile, smile.” We just got picked for “Men of the Year,” that shit is awesome. It’s wack to be on that shit when you’re at a photo shoot, he shouldn’t be getting all riled up. There was tension throughout the whole shoot. Me and Drake have a rapport, we’re cool. We were automatically hitting it off, and kicking it, and Wale was just not trying to be in the situation. He was trying to be too cool. He was acting like he’s too good for the situation, and that’s how he always is. He always acts like he’s bigger than what he is, and I don’t fuck with that at all.
Kid Cudi: I always kept quiet when he used to say his little things, say his slick shit in the interview. Even the song we were supposed to do. Man, there was never a song that we were supposed to do. He heard a record and wanted it. It wasn’t meant for him to hear it, some bosses were talking. I just don’t understand how niggas get too big for their britches. I don’t get it. I don’t know it. Even at the GQ shoot he was sending little shots, talking about my skinny jeans, and saying Cudi’s size is “Schmedum,” trying to be funny. But I’m a goofball and a comedian, and was just joking, because he’s harmless to me, I don’t see him as a threat in any way, shape, or form, he’s just someone who has a chip on his shoulder. I have no ill will towards dude, I want to see him prosper, I wish that we could make records—however, I’m not going to feed into the bullshit, and I’m not going to be around people who I don’t feel right around. And when you start going talking about me in records, the silence has to be broken. I have to defend myself and talk about what it really is and show my side. You going to put me in your art, now it’s like you’re thinking about me, and I’m not thinking about you. It’s not like last year; I’m in another place. And if I was to think about reconciling, he’s probably talked so much shit about me, it’s too late to renege on anything. The guy obviously feels type of way. I just got done getting off coke, real problems. Competition? Freshman class? That shit is last year, we ain’t on that. I’m not in any class, I dropped out. I got my GED, I’m good. There’s no more categorizing competition, there’s no competition. I laid my pavement on my own road, and I have my crew of fans that follow, I have my own 104-thousand first week of fans that are right there with me. I’m happy with that. That nigga want to be No. 1, that’s why he has that song [“Number Won”]. Like I like being No. 2, No. 2 never gets old, it’s a solidified spot, No. 1 changes all the time. You always remember that one nigga that’s the ill myth in the underground scene, the nigga that you heard about with classic joints but hasn’t had mainstream success but you respect him as an artist. I’ll be that nigga.
Complex: Let’s talk about your getting kicked off the Lady Gaga tour. Was there tension between you and her?
Kid Cudi: There’s video of the first show we did where I come out to do “Make Her Say,” and she says “Cudi, if you’re ever fucking late for my show again, I’m going to kick your ass.”
Complex: Yeah, I remember that video.
Kid Cudi: Well, the story behind that is that we had a screen we were supposed to use that night, but her stage show was so elaborate that my screen had no room on stage for me to perform on. Basically, they told me I couldn’t perform that night. I was there on time, got the news, and waited. I was going to go back to the hotel, but they were like, “No, stick around, Gaga still wants to do ‘Make Her Say.’” I was there the whole time. Did you hear my response to her? “Sorry, I smoke a lot of weed”. This was one of those moments when I had to let it ride: “This girl just tried to play you, but you’re going to have to bite the bullet on this one.”
Complex: Switching gears, how was doing How to Make It In America for you?
Kid Cudi: I loved it. I took it seriously, I didn’t do any hard drugs during the filming. It was just one of those things I was happy to accomplish in life, it was one of my all-time things that I always wanted to do. I was doing it, and on something cool, not something that was lame. It was a good show, with cool characters, and a cool role that I created. That’s like unheard of. I just feel blessed to be here, to be talking—to be able to say “fuck you, I’m happy.” When I first came in the game, I didn’t expect nothing but awards. Now I don’t give a fuck. Those shits don’t determine if you’re dope or not.
Complex: Do you think there will be a time when you focus more on acting than music?
Kid Cudi: I have no desire to rap. It’s child’s play to me. I used to beat myself up about people saying that I couldn’t rap—but then I realized that my raps are so fucking advanced, I can’t expect people to get them. And people will still be like, “no, nigga, it’s because your raps are so weak.” I’m not trying to fancy you with different ways to speak the English language. I’m telling you some stories. If you don’t like the stories, okay, fine. But by no means is my shit wack; by no means can I not rap. And that’s why this shit is no fun to me. I’ve already proven to myself, “Scott, you’re good, you’ve delivered on the rap front.” I don’t need to prove that to anyone else. My fans will tell you all day that I can rap. That’s all I need.
Complex: Is that why you’re getting more into fusing rap with rock?
Kid Cudi: Yes, because it’s more fun, it’s a new thing for me to accomplish. It’s really dope people are riding with me, people are taking that journey, I know it’s hard for people to follow along with an artist like me, because I can do so much and have so many different styles.
Complex: Where do you see your third album going?
Kid Cudi: Oh, I plan on doing a rock album. I’ll probably start that shit now. Also, I plan on putting my music out for free. If I could right now, I’d put this album out for free. I don’t think it’s right to sell it, it’s too good, people just need to have it. It’s like the Bible. Why people sell the Bible when it’s supposed to be the word? A lot of people think I’m crazy, but if you think about it, I’m not making any money off that shit anyway. I make money off of shows. I’ll put my music out for free and tour for long as fuck. [Laughs.] I’m going to start my own band, and me and RATATAT are forming our own band, that’s its own thing. My next shit is going to sound like Boston, Cheap Trick, and Jim Morrison all thrown into one. It’s going to be real and authentic.
Complex: When you dropped “Cudder Is Back,” a lot of people got psyched about it. But you’re never one to really drop a lot of freestyles.
Kid Cudi: I just be doing that shit for fun, to show niggas I’m nice. I remember I heard Cam say that shit a long time ago. He was like “man, I just be rapping to show niggas I’m nice.” I thought that was so cool. I was like, “I can’t wait ’til I don’t feel like I need to rap because I’m too nice.” And just as I was telling you before, a lot of people that say I can’t rap or whatever, it just took me recently to realize that it’s not that I can’t rap, it’s that my shit is too advanced for niggas to even fathom or imagine it. You know what I’m saying? It’s like a couple years ago, niggas was just like, “aww, this fag and these tight pants!” You know what I’m saying? Niggas just couldn’t imagine everyone else wearing pants that were form-fitting. Now look. You know what I’m saying? So with the freestyles, I just do it for fun. If I hear something that I like, I’m rapping on it. Just like with the “All Talk” shit. Me and Big Chip were in the studio just doing shrooms, hanging out. You know we had some people there, just kicking it. That’s why my voice is like that. I’m fucked up. Like have you noticed my tone on the song? I’m so fucked up.
Complex: Do you think you’ll ever do a mixtape again?
Kid Cudi: Yeah, I’m sure. I just like making music. So anybody that tries to categorize me in one little box, it just doesn’t make any sense. Because I never came in this game telling motherfuckers I was one thing. Just because I’m a nigga and I rap they throw me into hip-hop, you know what I’m saying? But I’m not just hip-hop. I’m a plethora of things. I’m a fucking concoction of anything that’s beautiful sounding, whimsical. If it feels right, I’m probably into it no matter the genre.
Complex: On the last album, you had the dream sequence. Since this new one’s darker, are the darker songs all grouped together?
Kid Cudi: No, the whole album is my reality, none of it is a dream. The first album was more literally trippy psychedelic in the sense that you’re in my mind. This is like, I’m about to tell you some shit that happened one day. It’s like you’re following me, like you’re watching a movie based on my life. I’m mastering the art of the concept album. I’m trying to, you know? The wizardry is almost perfected. [Laughs.] We’re close.
Complex: Is there anything that you wish you can get a chance to talk about that you never did?
Kid Cudi: I don’t know, man. I kind of put it all out there. On some real shit, I didn’t hold back at all. I mean I probably could have gone in depth about a lot of things, but then the album would’ve been longer. You can’t have a short album when you’re talking about suicide and cocaine. That’s not going to be a short album. After I got arrested and shit, it was really like a game changer for me. It only took me to be in jail for 15 hours to get 20/20 vision on my life, at what was going on. One of the things that happened was that I lost my Vitamin Water contract. They had already paid me money and I spent it all on drugs and landscaping for my mom’s house. And I remember thinking “man, at least something good came out of this money.” [Laughs.]