Kanye West and Kid Cudi’s Complicated History: A Timeline
Kids See Ghosts is the latest new project from Kanye West, following the critically acclaimed Pusha T record DAYTONA and the significantly less critically acclaimed Ye. It’s the first official album from Kanye and Kid Cudi, and it will be Cudi’s first full project since 2016 (other than a stray song for Rampage). Despite it being their first album together, Cudi and Kanye have worked together on and off since 2008. Below, find a timeline of Cudi and Kanye’s professional relationship.
2006: Kanye and Cudi first meet in a Virgin Megastore, as Cudi recounted in a 2009 SPIN interview: “I was looking at CDs, saw the gleam of a Jesus piece in the right side of my eye, looked up, and it was Kanye West,” Cudi said, adding that he introduced himself and offered Kanye some of his music. Kanye politely refused but Cudi said he was undeterred. “I said, ‘We’ll be working together one day soon.’”
2008: Cudi releases “Day ‘n’ Nite” as part of mixtape A Kid Named Cudi before the single is rereleased on independent hip-hop label Fools Gold. The song impresses Kanye, and Cudi is invited to work on the massively influential 808s & Heartbreak, co-writing songs like second single “Heartless” and “Welcome to Heartbreak.” Cudi and others would reveal eight years later that both were originally meant for Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 3 before Kanye decided to take them for himself.
September 15, 2009: Cudi’s Man On The Moon; The End Of Day comes out, with Kanye, Emile Haynie, and longtime Cudi collaborator and former Kanye manager Plain Pat are all listed executive producers. Additional production comes from Ratatat and Dot Da Genius, showing Cudi’s eclectic taste. Kanye guests on “Make Her Say” and co-produces “Sky Might Fall.”
2009-2010: Kanye works on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in Hawaii, where Cudi provides backing vocals on “All of the Lights” and co-writes and features on “Gorgeous.” He is one of dozens of artists and producers in the sessions for the album. Cudi’s sophomore album for G.O.O.D. Music, Man On The Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager comes out on November 9, 2010, with Dark Twisted Fantasy following November 22. Standout track “Runaway” was produced by longtime Cudi collaborator Haynie, while Plain Pat handled additional production on “Monster.” Kanye returned the favor by guesting on Mr. Rager’s alternative-rock leaning lead single “Erase Me.”
2013: Following Cudi’s side project WZRD, Kid Cudi’s Indicud comes out on April 12th, 2013 under G.O.O.D Music with Kanye’s Yeezus following a couple of months later. Just before Indicud’s release, however, Kid Cudi announces that the album would be his last on the label and that he is no longer a part of G.O.O.D Music. “[Kanye and I] were talking on the phone the other day and these are things I’ve been wanting to talk to him about,” Cudi told Los Angeles radio station Power 106. “Me starting my own direction, and he got it because he’s trying to start his new path and try new things as an artist and he was just like, ‘Man, I feel you as an artist. It’s cool, whatever.'”
2015: Kid Cudi releases Speeding Bullet 2 Heaven, produced by himself and Plain Pat. The album is lambasted for its poor production, songwriting, and lack of structure throughout. Cudi defends it and Kanye praises it.
May 2016: Kanye releases The Life of Pablo, his infamously scattershot seventh album with a seemingly bottomless list of credits. Among them is Plain Pat and Cudi, who contributes to “Waves” and “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1.”
September 2016: In an extended Twitter rant, Cudi lashes out at Kanye, Drake, and others who “think they’re soooo great. Talkin top 5 and be having 30 people write songs for them.” Days later, Kanye fired back at a concert in Tampa Bay: “I birthed you. We all dealing with that emo shit all the time… don’t try to say who I can do songs with. You mad ’cause I’m doing songs with Drake? Can’t nobody tell ‘Ye who to do songs with. Respect the God!” Days later, Kanye walked back those comments, saying “I just want to take this time and say Kid Cudi is my brother and I hope he’s doing well tonight.”
October 2016: Cudi announces a stay in rehab via Facebook post, stating: “I guess I give so much of myself to others I forgot that I need to show myself some love too. I think I never really knew how. Im scared, im sad, I feel like I let a lot of people down and again, Im sorry. Its time I fix me.”
November 2016: Cudi posts a Facebook note about his experiences in rehab, thanking Kanye, Pat, and several others; his album Passion Pain and Demon Slayin’ comes out a month later. The same day Cudi shares his letter, news breaks that Kanye has been hospitalized following the cancelation of his Saint Pablo tour.
2017: The next year is mostly a quiet one for both artists, though in May, Cudi appears on Travis Scott’s “Way Back” off Birds in The Trap Sing McKnight, alongside a Kanye sample. In November, Cudi brings Kanye on stage to the audience’s delight. Aside from rumors that Kanye is holed up in Wyoming with Cudi and co., things continue to be dormant until…
April 2018: Kanye makes his return to Twitter, and among his other antics, reveals the name of this long-in-waiting project. Kids See Ghosts is the first time Cudi and Kanye have released a joint album together, and their shared past suggests we have something melodic and rock-influenced in store for Friday.
April 21st, 2018: Kanye posts art possibly related to the project. The anime-inspired concept art is designed by Takashi Murakami, who also designed the album for Kanye’s Graduation and directed the video for “Good Morning.” Separately, it’s announced that the project will also be accompanied by a short film directed by Dexter Navy, who has directed for the A$AP Mob and the Neighbourhood.
Murakami vibes pic.twitter.com/T0H74MSyB7
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 21, 2018
June 1st, 2018: Kanye posted the near-complete tracklist on Twitter. In keeping with the other G.O.O.D Music releases from this year, it has seven tracks, and likely won’t exceed the 24-minute timeframe.
1. “Feel the Love”
2. “Kids See Ghosts”
3. “4th Dimension”
4. Untitled (formerly “Ghost Town”)
5. “Kudi’s Montage”
6. “Devil’s Watch”
The 070 Shake-featuring “Ghost Town” became a fan favorite on Ye (released the same day), and the psychedelic rock influence hints at some of what this next project has to offer. 070, in an interview with Complex, also hinted that she may end up on Kids Sees Ghosts. “We worked on a lot of stuff, and you never really know what’s going to make it. All I know is Kids See Ghost is coming out soon.”
June 6th, 2018: The official album art is released.
KIDS SEE GHOSTS ALBUM ART pic.twitter.com/MVt5vIzlA1
— The Chosen One (@KidCudi) June 6, 2018
June 8th, 2018: Kids See Ghosts is scheduled to be released.