If Weezy lives in outer space, Kid Cudi is looking for a house in the same neighborhood. The Brooklyn via Cleveland rapper has a delivery that's more croon than most hip-hop artists are comfortable with, and he explores sonic boundaries even as his melodies remain simple -- see blogosphere-favorite "Day 'n' Night" (off an EP of the same name, released by Fool's Gold earlier this year) as evidence. Cudi is on tour promoting his A Kid Named Cudi mixtape and building interest in his upcoming full-length. In his van before sound check at Club Love in the West Village, he talked about the meaning behind his melodies, his new album and his next career: acting.
On the track "Man on the Moon,” you say there’s no point in dense lyrics. Why’s that?
If you make it too complicated, people sometimes don’t catch it. If you make it too deep, people don’t catch it. The only way you can win is if you simplify it. Motherfuckers that wanna actually spit the real shit and make it intriguing don’t get props for it.
So the way that Jay does it isn’t worth it?
Jay-Z came from a time when lyrics mattered. People still care and lend an ear to what Jay-Z has to say. A new nigga, people ain’t really going to be that receptive.
Why do you feel separated or inhuman?
I feel like I’m so distant from what’s going on around me all the time. I’m completely oblivious to the whole Kid Cudi hype. It’s still unbelievable to me how far I’ve come and how big “Day 'n' Nite” has gotten. Sometimes I feel like I came from another world. I feel like just where I’m at mentally is just in a whole other realm, another place -- how I think as a person and the type of music I make. It’s all metaphorically speaking, of course. It's just the best way to explain it in laymen’s terms. Basically I feel like I’m in a place where no one else is around. In my own zone, alone.
Your next album comes out next spring. What producers do you have lined up?
So far it's Emile, Plane Pat, Dr. Genius, who produced “Day 'n' Nite,” Kanye, Alchemist, 88-Keys, of course. As we get further into the project, I’ll probably reach out to some others, but that’s it for right now. Oh, and Travis Barker! I’m definitely doing a couple of joints with him.
What do you think is the most attractive part of your sound?
The originality and melodic tone of the records and the vibe that it brings. All my records have intense feeling. Even when I’m just rapping, they all have an intense, intriguing feeling, that I think people grab a hold of.
How has Fool’s Gold been beneficial in helping you gain exposure?
I feel like Fool's Gold was definitely a stepping-stone for me to get into this game and be noticed. These days you have to come up under somebody with a name to get some type of recognition, which is wack. And it wasn’t my intention when I wanted to sign to Fool's Gold -- I didn’t want it to be about A-Track or the fact that I signed with A-Track and shit like that. I think that even though that’s how it is, people put that aside and became fans of my music because of me.
But it did open doors. A-Track's idea to do the Crooker’s remix definitely was one of the biggest things I could have ever done. It catapulted me in the club area, which was a place that I never thought would show me love. The natural feel of my records is moody and chill. I’m not that nigga who’s trying to make songs to make mothafuckers dance. If one day I wake up and say I want to make some up-tempo shit, then I’ll make up-tempo shit, but I’m not going out of my way to make club records. So it’s ill how “Day 'n' Nite” instantly became a club record. Not just the Crooker’s shit -- they play the original in the clubs, so the response is really ill.
Since your work is moody, melodic and chill, what do you think about “Love Lockdown”?
“Love Lockdown” is one of the most innovative records we’ve heard in some time. Being around when Kanye was creating that record, it was amazing to watch him put it together. I was happy when he chose to use it as his first single. People of his caliber, veterans in the game, don’t take chances like that. But with Kanye, he’s mastered everything else. He’s had three ill-ass albums, has multiple Grammys, has been recognized as one of the best MCs in hip-hop. When you’ve accomplished everything, what else is there to do? Fuck it, let me try something different and creative. “Love Lockdown” and 808s & Heartbreaks will be that, Kanye being creative and really digging deep and coming up with something awesomely dope.
What elements do you feel will transition best from the A Kid Named Cudi mixtape to the Man on the Moon album?
I tell everyone this: The mixtape is like the TV series, and the album is the feature-length film. Everything you heard on the mixtape will be magnified times ten on the album. Everybody is going to be blown away. Quote me: This will be the most magnificent album that people will hear for some time. The amount of creativeness and storyline, the vibe and intensity: People aren’t going to be ready.
I sit back and laugh sometimes, but also its nerve-racking at times, because you don’t know how people will react. But I know it's gonna be an ill-ass album, and I just hope people receive that shit and really fuck with it. Being that people fucked with the mixtape, it makes me confident when doing the album. The point of the mixtape was to establish my fan base and see if mothafuckers can get this shit.
Are you playing CMJ this year?
As of now, no, I have not been asked to do CMJ. I’m just trying to focus on my album after this tour. I got some other stuff going on; I’m working this acting thing I got going on. I might go on tour with Kanye, but that’s still up in the air.
I gotta keep it under wraps for now, but it’s a big deal. And it’s a main roll and I’m excited about it. I spoke to the director today and we’re supposed to meet up and talk about it more. It’s a good thing.