KC: See, here’s the thing; These songs are more bright and positive. So one may think that they’re less emotional, because it’s not talking about sadness and loneliness—the really dramatic emotions. But for me, this is the most emotional, because I was so excited about this feeling I was having. That’s why all the songs are so uptempo and they have energy. And how I’m singing, I’m really pushing myself to another level, just singing that way. Like, I remember I played “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” for my sister, and she didn’t even know it was me. She didn’t even recognize my voice, because she said, “The sound is so different.” I’ve never pushed it to this level before, and that’s what I like to do. I always like to take it to the next level, and then expand my palette of different styles. So I definitely feel like it was my most emotional, man. When you listen to “Efflictim,” that song is like...
DDG: It’s heavy.
Hip-hop is a really lucrative business. A lot of people get into it to make money and ain’t nothing wrong with that either. It’s a positive business venture. Why not? But at the same time, that’s all music has turned into. The artistry is lost in the cracks.
KC: I woke up one morning, I grabbed my guitar. It was like, 9 a.m. I sat on my couch in my drawers and started playing this melody. I started singing it, and I was all emotional and shit—to tears—and I was like, “This has got to be on the album.” Like, “We’ve got to have this.” It wouldn’t be a Kid Cudi project if we didn’t have some type of sad-ass tear-jerker. It’s always going to be a really personal song for me, and when I’m performing, it’s going to get me really emotional. It’s just really powerful.
Dot, is it more fulfilling for you to work with someone who puts so much emotion into their music, as opposed to someone who’s maybe rapping about cars...
KC: Bitches and hoes [Laughs.]
DDG: Nah, it’s more fulfilling working with anyone who puts some thought into what they’re saying and actually thinks about their message and how people are going to interpret it. Because rapping about things that are obvious doesn’t strike emotion. The songs that transcend through time are the songs that evoke some kind of emotion in me, whether it makes me mad or sad. So I feel like with Cudi, there’s a madness to his method.
Cudi you Twittered, “Ain’t nobody really saying shit in today’s music.” Just “hoes, money, swag and bullshit.” Do you guys both feel that way?
KC: Yeah, man. The tweet said it all [Laughs.].
DDG: There’s a lot of music out right now that... you’re puzzled. You’re like, “Damn. People are really feeling this song right here?” But music evolves. There’s a lot of great artists doing a lot of good things out there too.
KC: What really makes me more passionate about it, more than ever, is the fact that I’ve got a seed. But it’s not like I make, like, Christian music [Laughs.]. I’m just saying people don’t really even try, man. They don’t try to push themselves as artists. Hip-hop is a really lucrative business. A lot of people get into it to make money and ain’t nothing wrong with that either. It’s a positive business venture. Why not? But at the same time, that’s all music has turned into. The artistry is lost in the cracks. You have to search for it. You have to really look and dig deep—and that’s the kids that are online, looking at websites and blogs for new music. It’s really intense, and I wish that more of the music that’s under the radar would be brought to the forefront. Like Dot said, there’s a lot of artists out there that are doing something, that are saying something. Music is a very powerful medium, and you could really use it for some good, and affect a lot of people in a really, really positive way and save lives. I’ve had my share of raps and talking my shit—and you’re probably still going to hear me laying down raps, talking my shit. But at the end of the day, when you think of Kid Cudi, you know the basis of my shit, my whole theme is telling my tale and inspiring people and helping people. That’s the mission, and I feel like other people should find their missions, because it’ll take your whole shit to another level. Your whole mind will go to a whole other place and a whole other space. I feel like I understand my purpose now, as a human being on this planet.
DDG: I feel exactly how you summed it up.
KC: It’s really tough. Like, the old me would have been like, “Yeah, man. Niggas is weak.” I mean, you know, there’s songs that aren’t good—flat out. But I’m not a critic, and I hate critics. I just know it’s true. And sometimes something just needs to be put out there in the universe. Maybe somebody will be like, “Fuck that nigga,” but in the back of their mind, they’re like, “Maybe I should step my game up.” Like, if I can inspire one motherfucker...