‘I Couldn’t Live A Lie. I Couldn’t Pretend To Be Happy.’ Kid Cudi Talks Overcoming Depression And Getting Creative With Kanye
If there’s anything we’ve learned from these past few years in the music industry, it’s that mental health is a real issue for some of the most creative artists we’ve come to know and love. Michelle Williams, a former member of musical supergroup Destiny’s Child recently revealed she sought professional help for her mental health struggles. Kanye West has been extremely transparent in his latest works about being diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 39. And most recently rapper Kid Cudi is giving fans a look on what successfully tackling mental health issues can look like. After leaving social media in 2016 with a sobering letter posted to Facebook detailing his depression and anxiety, the “Day And Night” rapper revealed he’d be entering a rehab and taking a hiatus from music to work on himself. Fans expressed their concern and support as the rapper who was born Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi went incognito only emerging to butt heads with fellow controversial rapper Kanye West as they called out one another’s creative processes. In November 2016 when Cudi left rehab, the pair made amends onstage and earlier this year joined forces for Cudi’s latest album Kids See Ghosts, an album that was part of a larger G.O.O.D. Music rollout including albums from West himself, Teyana Taylor and Pusha T released around the same time.
Billboard recently sat down with the rapper who just turned 34 and covers the July 21st issue to talk finding his happy place, the up’s and down’s of dealing with Kanye West and fighting his fears. He shares that although his relationship with West can be tumultuous, once they are both in the studio, the creative process is quite seamless:
“We just have this chemistry that’s undeniable, especially when we have to fight for it with each other. It’s really easy for us. Kids See Ghosts did take us a little over a year-and-a-half to just get it tight and where we wanted it to be, but the actual songwriting process and putting the songs together wasn’t really hard. Me and Ye, we click like that musically.”
Fans would agree that the two heavily complement one another in the music department, in a way that stood out from the other artists included in the seven song per album rollout. Kids See Ghosts outperformed all the other G.O.O.D. releases but West’s in its first week. According to Nielsen Music, the album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and moved 142,000 units.
Cudi who is father to an eight-year-old daughter, Vada Mescudi, shares that making meaningful music is a crucial part to keeping his energy balanced in addition to surrounding himself with family and maintaining his health:
“I’m just creating a lot, with more love in my heart for what I’m doing and for myself. Living a healthy life, keeping my family around and staying on a mission, which is making music that means something. I’m focusing on my art again and throwing myself back into it and wanting to write something with more of a positive outlook on things, because I’ve written the dark so well for so long. I wanted to bring the opposite of that, you know? I’m at a place where I was able to do that. It took me so long to get to that place, and I was really excited to write from that standpoint when I got there.”
He says that when it comes to facing how his darkest moments fit into his life, he wants to be honest with his daughter and teach her that having problems and seeking help is nothing to be ashamed of:
“She’ll want to know, and I’ll have to explain, but she’ll understand. She ain’t going to judge me or nothing. It’d be different if she was living some crazy, messed-up life and shit, but like, no. She’s straight. She’s a happy little girl, and I’ll want her to know all of who I am.”
The rapper shares that he was scared after posting to Facebook for that final time in 2016, but felt a need to be honest with himself and fans about his struggles:
“I put it up, and I walked away. A couple of hours later, I saw that it was all over the news. Then I got really scared. I didn’t read any articles about it at first. I didn’t know how people were responding. I was asking Dennis [Cummings, his current manager] what the response was, and then I checked it [myself] a couple of days later and saw that the response was all love and support, and it really touched me. I was in a really bad place, and at the time, I felt like I was letting a lot of people down. It was really hard for me to even write that letter, but I needed to be honest with the kids. I needed to. I couldn’t live a lie. I couldn’t pretend to be happy.”
When it comes to fear, the same man who once referred to “suicidal urges” maintains that joy is the only thing on the agenda and that he expected a sense of wisdom to fall into his lap at age 30 which he discovered was a few years late, but better late than never:
“I have no fear, because I’ve been given a gift. I’m blessed.”
“It was this year, around my birthday [in late January]. I’m the best I’ve ever been in my life. I realized I was genuinely happy, and there’s nothing really going on in particular. Just being 34, to be still doing what I love. Taking care of my responsibilities, and my daughter’s good and my family’s good.”
“I’ve arrived at this point of feeling 34. When I was 30, I didn’t feel 30. I still felt younger than my age. I felt like I was going to get some type of wisdom, something was going to hit me when I turned 30. It didn’t happen. It came a little later for me, but it’s here, and it feels great.”
You can read the interview in its entirety here.