So you’re managing yourself now?
I have been for a minute now. It’s fun!
You just have an assistant, a lawyer, an accountant, a publicist—
Yeah, and it’s easy ’cause I don’t live the life of a celebrity. My to-do list is limited to just two things: touring and studio. I record from home, so I don’t need to set up studio time. I book my own shows directly with my agent. I don’t do features with anyone, really. Other than Jay and Kanye, or if something cool comes along, like the Knux thing. And those are things that I’m really enthused about.
I'm not interested in being somebody's look. I don't like most people musically, so it's tough for me to be a part of people's projects.
So not a lot of features in your future?
I'm not interested in being someone’s look. And that’s what it is nowadays—a look. It’s hard for me to charge people, because I do my stuff for free. I do all my stuff with Jay and Kanye on the house, because it’s a brotherhood. Besides them, I can’t really hit nobody with a fee, because then that’s a dispute. What I want to charge, motherfuckers might not have a budget for!
On top of that, it’s a commitment when you do a song with somebody. Like, “We need a single, we need the video.” And then—like I said in the last interview, being that I don’t fuck with most people musically—it’s tough for me to want to bend and be a part of people’s projects.
Speaking of people you don’t fuck with musically, you coined that phrase in Complex last year talking about Wale, but now you guys have peaced it up and you’re doing a feature for him.
Wale is the homie, and I like the record he wants me to get on. This is my redemption for those comments last year. I definitely want people to see that we can create music together.
He’s been talking it up, too. He asked you about finishing up your part the other day—
I know he’s excited. I’m working on it. But I’ve got to do it at the proper time. I haven’t had time and he knows that. I’m happy to do this one, but I’ve been busy touring and working on my project.
Let’s talk about your number one commitment, the Wizard album. What made you want to take a break from the MOTM series to do something different?
After I got off the drugs I was like, I need a fucking hobby. I can’t be chillin’ in the house playing video games all the time. And I can’t be in the clubs, ’cause that led to the disaster. So what am I going to do? Why don’t I try to pick up an instrument?
I always wanted to play guitar. I tried it as a child and failed, tremendously. I tried to play the trumpet, the fucking clarinet, violin. Back then, when you tried that in school they would want you to read sheet music. It wasn’t about, “Can you play by ear?” I’m not one of those musicians.
So I picked up the guitar last fall and I started fiddling with it. It came kind of natural to me. I’m not saying that the first time around I was shredding riffs. But I was able to pick it up and pick, and go up and down the neck, and find melodies. I was like, “Shit, I want to just make jams with this instrument.” It was something that I took very seriously.
Does moving from Kid Cudi the rapper to Kid Cudi the musician change your songwriting?
It makes the songs more personal. I have a connection with each record because I’m creating the bed to put lyrics on.
Is this your first time creating music not under the influence?
What’s that like?
Stressful. But I love the challenge. It’s like a kid learning to ride a bike—you can’t have those training wheels forever. I have to learn how to be inspired by other things than my turmoil and pain and stress. I have to learn how to sit in the studio, clearheaded, and make a jam.
Have you had writer’s block?
At times. You sit there, and you’re like, “Fuck,” because you know there’s people waiting. You work through it, though.