You did a song called “High Off Life.” Would you say that you’re high off life for the first time?
KC: Yeah, for the first time. I woke up, and I embraced the day. I was excited to see the sun. Maybe it was California, I don’t know, but it was just really dope, man. I started experiencing new things. I got my first car. I got a chance to have that freedom for the first time in a long time. I had my dog [Laughs.] I had a little life going. I had a family groove. I was just feeling it. I was in a place where just living my life was enough thrills for me, just going out the house. That was what was good for me.
[My daughter Vada] looks like a perfected version of me. She’s just a really, really cool, chill, happy baby. She’s a little prankster, too. It’s just exciting, man. I want to be super-dad. I want to have a family. I want to get married soon. I want to take on that responsibility.
You’ve said that you’ve had angels in your life, and last time we spoke Vada was just a little baby. Now that she’s growing up, and she’s talking, and you can buy her sneakers and stuff—how is that for you?
KC: Let me tell you something about Vada, man. She’s so cool. It’s the most wild thing. I love her to death, and every time I’m around her it’s a crazy experience, because she’s growing and learning right there in front of you.When I come and pick her up, she just screams out of control and runs at me. That’s a small thing that most people might not really... But for me that’s like, “Aw, shit! She’s excited to see me.” [Laughs.] It’s dope.
DDG: That’s love right there.
KC: Yeah. And she be checking for me. Like, I’ll leave the room, and she’ll be like, “Da da!” [Laughs.] She’s so cute, man, and she looks like me. She looks like a perfected version of me. She’s just a really, really cool, chill, happy baby. She’s a little prankster, too. It’s just exciting, man. I want to be super-dad. I want to have a family. I want to get married soon. I want to take on that responsibility.
Dot, what do your parents say when they see you two together now, and the success you both have had?
DDG: My dad was always just a positive man. So the way he moved with us was just like, “Y’all are going to make it. Y’all are doing something special. Something’s going to happen.” Down to, like, paying the studio time, buying studio equipment. He built out the studio we were working in. He always knew something was going to happen. He’s always been there, so to see the growth and to see what’s happening now, he and my mom are very excited about it. So when I go back to him, and I talk to him, and he asks me how things are going...
KC: You say, “Fucking amazing, dad. Guess what? Listen up. So I was in fucking Saint Tropez, right...?” [All laugh.] I had to make sure I pronounced it correctly.
People were really affected by the Ben Breedlove situation. The young man with the heart condition who saw you in one of his dreams after passing out in the hallway of his high school. He made a video saying you were his favorite rapper, and then sadly passed away a couple weeks after. That was some heavy stuff.
KC: That situation I don’t really even like to talk about, because if you could imagine how it would feel to be put in a situation like that? It was just such a powerful video, man. I’ve never been affected by something like that, ever.It really hit me hard. In life you come to that point where you’re just trying to love yourself a little bit better. Now I don’t feel like I love myself enough, and when the kids say that they love me, and they adore me in that way, it’s just overwhelming. Because it’s like, “Man, these kids really care about me.” It’s like, How could they love me so much, and they don’t know me? It’s really humbling and it makes me want to be a better person. That shit just fucked me up. I don’t even want to talk about it anymore.
Let’s talk about the Pink tattoo. People will look at it and say, “Oh, he’s a big fan of Pink Floyd.” But there’s more to it, right? There’s similarities between that Pink character and you.
When did you decide you wanted to get that, and what similarities do you see between that character and yourself?
KC: Well, I decided to get it right before we left for Australia. There was like two days of thinking about it, and then I finally just made up my mind and got it. A year and a half ago, I had my Pink moment. I connected with the isolation. I had a lot of times where I didn’t leave my house for weeks. In New York, I would just stay in the house, order in, just sit there and keep myself in this little cave, this cage, and I liked it there. It was just shitty conditions, and I shouldn’t have been doing that. I was just so afraid of the world and judgement and whatever—and the responsibility, that I shielded myself away from the world in the same way that Pink did. Pink didn’t make it out, but I did. Like I said, a lot of my heroes are dead. He was a fictional character, but it’s based on these band members’ real lives. I still feel like I’m doing it for Pink. He didn’t make it, but I did. I broke down the wall and got through it and survived, and I’m here.
ADDITIONAL CREDITS: (STYLING) Kyle Blackmon. (GROOMING) Lina Hanson. (COVER) ON CUDI: Shirt by Bathing Ape / T-shirt by Splendid Mills / Jeans by J Brand / Sneakers by Converse / Gold Bracelet by Cartier / Bracelets by Maisha Lin / Sunglasses by Mosely Tribes. Necklaces by Highly Endangered x Maasai Org. ON DOT: Blazer by Calvin Klein Collection, T-Shirt by Calvin Klein, Jeans by DNG, Shoes by John Varvatos. (BAND OF BROTHERS) ON CUDI: Headdress and boots by Palace Costume / Vest and t-shirt by Vintage Kelly Cole / Jeans by A.P.C. / Sunglasses by Mosely Tribes / Gold Bracelet by Cartier. ON DOT: Shirt by Prada / Jeans by Dior Homme / Shoes by Clarks Scarf worn on head by Canali / Necklace Dot's own.