4 Things About ‘Kids See Ghosts’ You Might Have Missed

Did you only give a cursory listen to Kanye West and Kid Cudi's Kids See Ghosts album? If so, there's a lot you may have missed. Here's a quick primer.

Kanye West and Kid Cudi perform on stage

Image via Getty/Daniel Boczarski

Kanye West and Kid Cudi perform on stage

While the unofficial return of G.O.O.D. Fridays might not hit you the same way it did in 2010, this run of seven-track albums Kanye West has us on, in addition to all of the other singles, EPs, and albums that are being released by people who aren't Yeezy, means that it can be hard to really sit with a project the way you'd want to. That usually means that, when Kanye West and Kid Cudi decide to start the listening party for Kids See Ghosts something like three hours late, you might end up giving it one real listen before calling it a night. For an album as dense as this one, that isn't nearly enough time.

Don't fret, though; while we won't spoil the album entirely, there are a number of moments that stick out after repeat listens. From sample sources and references to current events to the producers who crafted the project and the featured guests (both credited and uncredited) on the seven-track album, here are four things you probably missed on your first listen to Kids See Ghosts.

Notable samples

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Let's start at the ending. On the final track, "Cudi Montage," a guitar riff from Kurt Cobain's "Burn the Rain" is utilized throughout the track. The song came from Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings, which was a compilation of Cobain's, well, home recordings that was released in 2015 (hence the title of this song). While Cobain's original felt more like a rumination on drug addiction, "Cudi Montage" is a bit different, with Cudi and Kanye looking towards faith to power past the struggles of the world, whether it be drug addiction of violence in black communities.

Kanye and Cudi kick off "Freeee (Ghost Town Pt. 2)" with an excerpt from a Marcus Garvey speech.

May I say something to you to give you a true knowledge of yourself and life

Man in the full knowledge of himself is a superb and supreme creature of creation

When man becomes possessor of the knowledge of himself, he becomes the master of his environment

The words of the Pan-African leader (who also inspired the name of another great hip-hop duo, Black Star) fit perfectly with the sequel to "Ghost Town," which deals with loosing yourself from societal constraints and living free.

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That same track also gets some of its drive from, um, chopping up a song by Mr. Chop: his 2008 track "Stark."

While Louis Prima is listed as a featured artist on "4th Dimension," what you're actually hearing is a sample from his 1936 recording "What Will Santa Claus Say (When He Finds Everybody Swingin')?" There's no real correlation, aside from adding an eerie effect to the track.

Kanye's Alice Johnson reference

Donald Trump and Kim Kardashian

On the aforementioned "Cudi Montage," Kanye ends the second verse with a reference to Alice Johnson.

All growin' up in environments

Where doin' crime the requirement

They send us off to prison for retirement

Hopefully Alice Johnson will inspire men

For those who don't recall, Johnson is the woman who was serving life without parole for a first-time, non-violent drug offense. Kanye's wife, Kim Kardashian, inspired by seeing a video about Johnson, recently met with Donald Trump to speak about prison reform, and Johnson's case in particular. The meeting resulted in Johnson being freed after serving 21 years of her sentence.

It seems likely that this verse was laid after Johnson's commutation (which happened on Wednesday), which mainly speaks to how 'Ye and Cudi must have been working on this project down to the wire.


Mos Def attends VEVO's G.O.O.D. Music party on March 19, 2011


Andre 3000 performs on stage during the 2016 ONE Musicfest

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