How do you feel about the "emo" label?
Kid Cudi: DMX is emo and he's one of the realest niggas in the game. Emotion is what hip-hop thrives on. Don't you want your music to have emotion in it? People like to always throw some negative cloud over it. Doesn't even make sense. Jeezy is emo. When that nigga be rapping, you feel it. You know that nigga's talking some real shit.
Do you think it keeps your songs from going as mainstream as they could?
Kid Cudi: People are quick to judge my singles one by one, and when the album drop, those be the assholes that are like, "Oh shit, I totally underestimated Cudi, this shit is crazy." I told you, dumbass: You can't look at snippets from an Oliver Stone film and be able to critique it.
Is that in general or talking about a song like "REVOFEV"? People heard "REVOFEV" and said, "This won't work on the charts."
Kid Cudi: When people heard "REVOFEV," it's like, "C'mon, that's not a rap song." I don't give a fuck. I don't make jams for the charts. My whole point is to make the music indescribable. I like baffling motherfuckers.
Speaking of which: Another song, "Wylin' 'Cause I'm Young," has crazy drug references.
Kid Cudi: Kids respect an honest motherfucker. I fuck up so I can show you about what not to do. I told you do blow? No, Cud did that, so hopefully you won't have to go through that. [Laughs.]
How heavy did the drug use get?
Kid Cudi: I started doing cocaine to get through interviews, 'cause people wanted to know a lot about my personal life and I wasn't prepared for a 60 Minutes interview every time. Doing bumps I was able to get through the day, but then I would smoke weed to calm me down—it was the only way I could get through the day without people noticing I was doing it.
Did you ever feel like you had a problem?
Kid Cudi: I never thought it was a problem, but I was definitely high-fiving death a couple of times. It took a lot for me to talk about shit like this on the album. I don't feel like I need to explain myself to anyone besides the fans. My fans don't believe shit until they hear me say it. And those are true Kid Cudi fans. I want them to know the story.
With all that's happened, do you feel like the full story still isn't known?
Kid Cudi: All they know about me is hitting somebody or being a maniac and being arrested. I never knew the media would be so interested in my personal life.
A lot of people jumped on you for hitting that fan, too.
Kid Cudi: Even Perez Hilton said some shit about me. He might be a good person and have a good heart, but he does a lot of fuckhead shit. Who are you to talk about people? That's not cool. That's why the world is so fucked up, because of hate. And he's gay? I just don't get that. The gay people I know are about peace and love and coming together. That shit doesn't register with me. He's a chump and a coward, and it's fucked up because I met dude so many times and he had nothing but love to show me. Then when that shit happened with Lady Gaga kicking me off her tour, he had to run his mouth and judge me on that shit.
Was that tough for you?
Kid Cudi: It was. I apologized to that young man I hit—we hung out, he's the coolest kid in the world. But she's going to kick me off the tour because she didn't want that negative type of energy at her shows? Word? I never did nothing to that girl. Every time I saw her I gave her mad respect, showed her mad love. It didn't matter, I still got paid. She spent all her money on her shows, so I probably made more off her tour than she did. That's the "ha ha ha, isn't it ironic?" moment.
My daughter was the wake-up call. No more mistakes. It's time to stop fucking around.
Kid Cudi: There's another thing people don't know. I have a daughter, born March 26th of this year. Her name is Vada, and she's fucking awesome. That was eating me up, and it was stressing me out that nobody knew about her. I was trying to escape from that, too. Just trying to figure it out and make everyone happy, it's a lot for somebody my age to handle. I was manning up and dealing with it in what I thought was the right way, but it was the wrong way. I want to be around for her. I can honestly say she was the wake-up call. The reality that it's bigger than just you now—you have a responsibility and there's no more time for mistakes. It's time to stop fucking around.
Kid Cudi: I was scared as fuck. I need to be a dad now, and I'm not with the girl—how does that work? Because having money isn't it. I just wanted to be a great dad, and I didn't think I was capable. Then I thought: When she gets here it's either nut up or shut up. She's my best friend and she doesn't even know it. That's why I always told myself I'm going to make these songs for my kids, so they can follow along and know my story, if something was ever to happen to me. No matter what motherfuckers are saying or haters are putting in their ear. She can put on my records and be like, "Fuck all that other shit, my dad was like this." But I might make sure she doesn't listen to this album until she's 40. [Laughs.] I'm excited about watching her grow, I'm excited to be a papa.