There’s a video of you guys in 2006, you’re getting off the subway in East New York, and I think you just got back from a meeting with Atlantic records. Cudi is getting a loose cigarette and is saying to the camera: “You have to maintain, and shit’s going to pop. All we’re going to do is get our people out this bitch. The grind’s going to pay off.”
Six years later you guys are in a much better situation, and about to release a joint project. It seems like the grind is paying off.
Kid Cudi: It’s good, man. We still ain’t reach the goal yet. We just took great leaps towards it, and it’s a never-ending challenge. We always want to keep pushing ourselves and keep taking everything to the next level. We still have families to take care of, and we just have a lot more responsibility. We got ourselves up out, and we’re still trying to get our families right. It’s just cool to know that that was what, six years ago? We weren’t just talking shit. We weren’t just putting another video on the Internet. I put it on my MySpace. Remember?
Dot Da Genius: I’m trying to, because there was a couple of videos that we put out that were so under the radar that people probably still have never seen...
Dot's dad is the most amazing man I’ve ever met. I haven’t been that close to a father figure since my father died. So like, this man was the first real father I was around since my own.
Right. That’s what I’m saying. That was like a throwback clip. It still only has 68K views, which is pretty small.
DDG: It’s inspirational. Even when you see us back then, we look completely different. Cudi had golds in his mouth. [Laughs.]
KC: I had two parts and shit, before it became a trend. Way ahead of my time [Laughs.]. And I’ll never get credit [Laughs.]. Nah, I’m just fucking around, man. But yeah, the swag was different. We were young. We were just trying to figure out who we are as human beings. It’s cool that I can look back at that. I was 22 years old in that video—young as fuck. I’m 28 now.
DDG: We were like dreaming of what we could be. I was in college still. We actually went to my dorm and then went back to the hood after that.
KC: Yeah, to make music.
What were those days like for you guys?
KC: It was pretty cool. We were brothers, for a long time.
DDG: Pretty much. And that’s the vibe that we had in the house. The way my dad is, he didn’t hold back.
I understand your family pretty much took Cudi in...
KC: His dad is the most fucking amazing man I’ve ever met. I haven’t been that close to a father figure since my father died. So like, this man was the first real father I was around since my own. My dad was a stern dad. He was just like Dot’s dad in a lot of ways, as far as being strict and not fucking around. But like, the Nigerian culture is completely different. I took a lot of life lessons about being a man from watching his dad and learning from his dad and getting scolded by his dad. I’ll never forget that. It was just a really fucking intense time for us as young men, but we definitely had a strong role model. I envied that. I envied Dot’s family. It was really nice to be in such a loving home. It was dope.