Album Look Back #5: KIDS SEE GHOSTS’ ‘KIDS SEE GHOSTS’

I believe that I’ve talked elsewhere about how I was first introduced to Kanye West’s music, but for a quick recap:

  • First heard Kanye on his album Late Registration (2005) – my mom bought it for me on my ninth birthday.
  • I FELL IN LOVE with that album, and it was my introduction to listening to and pursuing music (listening) on my own.
  • I’ve loved Kanye ever since.

Kanye has been is the artist that I’ve listened to the longest out of every other person I listen to currently, second is Lupe Fiasco. Which is absolutely wild to think about. I don’t really have much to say about Kanye’s music other than that it means a lot to me – sans Yeezus (2013) because….that album was basura. Every time I listen to a new Ye project – again, sans Yeezus lol – I get that same rush of excitement I got as a child. His voice and his beats were the background to my bike rides around my neighborhood; I would risk getting a whoopin’ from my mom by smuggling Late Registration and my CD player with me to school. It’s impossible for me to not remember all of that when I hear one of his songs.

I had one like this!!!! RIP!!!!!

Similar to Kanye, I found Cudi pretty early in my life; back then, I still listened to the radio (lol the internet wasn’t really poppin’ like that yet), and “Day ‘N’ Nite” would come on every once in a while. That was 2008, so I was only 11 and didn’t actually know what the song was about LOL, but I loved how it sounded like being on a spaceship at the beginning. I didn’t really start listening to him consistently, though, until high school, where I started having some real difficulty with self-esteem/self-doubt, general angst, and some anxiety. Cudi seemed to know exactly how it felt to live with those things and gave my feelings words. Listening to “Heart of a Lion” from Man on the Moon: The End of Day (2009) was one of the things that I did to make myself feel better! (LOL while I’m typing this, Cudi just came on – my Spotify is on shuffle and I did NOT play him on purpose – !!!! Cudi is still in my soul!!!!!). He made me feel less lonely and stronger; if one of my favorite artists can survive, so could I. So allow me to be #348,9692,532 in the Cudi Saved My Life Club!

He and Kanye also just have a strong musical (and personal) relationship that was beautiful to see. I love when my favorite rappers are the favorite rappers of my favorite rappers! So I was very much here for every Cudi-Kanye collab – “Erase Me,” “Welcome to Heartbreak,” “Make Her Say,” (just to name a few) – all perfect! They just worked effortlessly together.

So it was a TRAGEDY to see a pretty public riff in their friendship develop around 2016, of which you can read here because we’re about Cudi-Kanye positivity around here lol

Luckily, they were able to start the healing process in their relationship, and through that work came KIDS SEE GHOSTS (2018) – to finally get to the reason we’re all here lol. KIDS SEE GHOSTS, a part of a quintet of albums from the Wyoming Sessions (the others are Pusha T’s DAYTONA, Kanye’s ye, Nas’s Nasir, and Teyana Taylor’s K.T.S.E.), is the first that sees Kanye and Cudi on an entire collab project. I enjoyed ye (2018), but there were a few songs that fell a little short – “All Mine” and “Wouldn’t Leave.” And there just….wasn’t enough Cudi lol. So I was VERY excited for these two to revisit some of those similar vibes on a project where it’s focused on the two of them.

NOTE: There are NO official music videos for KSG, which is a shame, so I’ll just be including some of my favorite Kanye and Kid Cudi-related videos to fill the space lol

Even though KIDS SEE GHOSTS is only seven songs long, clocking in at around 23 minutes, we see Cudi and Kanye at their best on it. The project starts off with the Pusha T-assisted “Feel the Love,” that introduces us to the rock/indie fusion vibes that the project is built on. “Fire” continues the energy (and brings us some good ol’ Cudi hums), with a short verse from Kanye and an even shorter one from Cudi. The song makes me feel like I’m watching a Western, and Cudi and Kanye are going to start a gun battle at any moment. And honestly, what a visual that is!

The next two songs, “4th Dimension” and “Freeee (Ghost Town Pt. 2),” are my favorites from the project. I think the production on both is absolutely AMAZIN’ and Cudi’s bars on “4th Dimension” are what I’ve been waiting for!! I also LOVEEEE the psychedelic vibes on “Freeee,” and Ty Dolla $ign is always a welcomed addition to any song. It’s just such a song for Kanye, and it’s great to hear him in this realm of music that we don’t typically get from him.

The next two, “Reborn” and “Kids See Ghosts,” are my next two favorite songs. “Reborn” has my favorite Kanye lines on the entire project (Very rarely do you catch me out / Y’all done “specially invited guest”‘d me out / Y’all been tellin’ jokes that’s gon’ stress me out / Soon as I walk in, I’m like, “Let’s be out”). Kanye’s so vulnerable on this song, talking about his mental health and the ways public conversations about him have taken a toll on him, and I love that. We don’t get a lot of super vulnerable Kanye, and I think this was the perfect project to give us that on. Cudi’s verse and chorus give me very much “Heart of a Lion” vibes, where I feel like I can tackle the world after listening to it. And it’s such a testament to the journey of healing the two of them have been on before and during the creation of this project. “Kids See Ghosts” – I’m really just here to share my love of the production and Yasiin Bey(‘s chorus)!!!!

The project ends off on “Cudi Montage,” which, again, sees Cudi in the spotlight. LOL (another very meta moment incoming) I love moments where I’m typing and writing about a song or a project and I learn something or hear something different, and it just shakes me in my little boots! I’m looking back and forth from the Genius lyrics for “Cudi Montage” and I had NO IDEA that Mr. Hudson was in this song!!!! I love that!!!!! All this time I thought it was just Cudi, so I never felt the need to look up the lyrics or find out who it was, but wow. What a surprise. Let’s finish this up before I start crying.

KIDS SEE GHOSTS is really just great. Kanye’s forever-amazing production is matched equally with great bars and Cudi holds his own on songs like “Reborn” and “Cudi Montage,” where he’s able to be more prominently in the spotlight. And I think that’s another really important thing that this project gets right. Oftentimes, instead of actually having a verse on a Kanye song, Cudi provides the hook/chorus or some of those gorgeous Cudi hums to round out the song. And while those things are great, Cudi is a lot more than just a featured artist, and he has hours worth of released material that proves that he can hold down a verse or two. And with the album having such a folk/rock/indie influence, Cudi is right at home on it. I hope that we can expect another Cudi and Kanye album soon! The world really needs it.

Featured Image Credit: https://genius.com/album_cover_arts/211178, edited by me 🙂


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