Written by Dominic Wright, September 13th, 2017, at 8:12 p.m. Tweet to @Groovycap
Hip-hop to me has and will always be a work of art. From the way that artists connect with their fans to the way, they talk about serious issues not only within themselves but the people they reach. Music along with other art forms have that ability. One thing that I know for sure is that numerous artists use their fame/platform to speak out on these issues that not only affect them but the people who are hurting as well.
There is no other artist who comes to my mind more when speaking about mental illness than Kid Cudi. Last year, Cudi showed vulnerability and great strength when opening about the demons that he’s facing through an open letter.
His letter sparked numerous people to speak on their battle with mental illness. Some of those people were SNL’s very own, Pete Davidson, and rapper Logic on his song Anziety. On an interview with the breakfast club, Pete Davidson says “Kid Cudi saved my life, I would have killed myself. If you’re 25 and under I truly believed that Kid Cudi saved your life”.
Not only did Kid Cudi explain his demons through that open letter but it was in some of his songs as well. A lot of us may have overlooked this within his lyrics but, they spoke to the people who were facing the same ultimatum as him. For example, Cudi’s song, The Prayer, spoke about his issues. Within that song he says
“So if I slip away if I die today. The last thing you remember won’t be about some apple bottom jeans, with the boots with the fur.”
Through this line, Cudi is saying that he wants his music to have an impact on lives. Rather than wanting to be known for materialistic values or club music, he wants his music to generally help people. Which he has and through that, saved numerous lives of young adults. Shortly after that line Cudi says
“Maybe how I dreamed of being free since my birth. Cursed, but the demons I confronted would disperse”.
Kid Cudi toggles with his wordplay in this line. Through Cudi’s music, he was notorious for wanting to always be happier than what he truly was. We saw it through his debut album, “Man On The Moon”. So, the first part of that line he uses the word “free” as a replacement word for happy. When he says “Cursed, but the demons I confronted would disperse”, he means he tried confronting those demons once before but they always came back. By using the word “cursed” he is speaking about his ability to not be happy.
So, the first part of that line he uses the word “free” as a replacement word for happy. When he says “Cursed, but the demons I confronted would disperse”, he means he tried confronting those demons once before but they always came back. By using the word “cursed” he is speaking about his ability to not be happy.
This is something that we commonly see within Cudi’s lyrics, especially within numerous songs on Man On The Moon. Songs such as Day “n” Nite, Soundtrack 2 My Life, In My Dreams, Up Up & Away, Pursuit Of Happiness, Cudders Anthem, etc.
One of my favorite songs within Man On The Moon: The End Of Day, has to be Day “n” Night. This may sound like a cliche’ but the way he uses freedom in the song interests me. In the hook of the song he says,
“Cause day and night, the lonely stoner seems to free his mind at night. He’s all alone, through the day ‘n’ nite. The lonely loner seems to free his mind at night, at, at, at night. Day and night, the lonely stoner, seems to free his mind at night. He’s all alone, some things will never change. The lonely loner seems to free his mind at night. At, at, at night.”
This hook that Cudi has interests me in numerous ways. This hook he explains how sad he truly is at night while he is smoking. Going back to how he uses the word “free”, he uses it the same way in the song, The Prayer. Using the word free, Kid Cudi is referring to free as happy. Within the song, Day “n” Nite, Cudi seems to only be free while his head in the vapors.
In conclusion, mental health in hip-hop isn’t a joke. These rappers are using their platform to bring light to a subject that can be dark. We may think that our favorite artists are invulnerable due to the high celebrity and lifestyle, but they are human. They face things that many of us have a hard time talking about not only with people but ourselves.