Squandering an opportunity to live out your dreams is one of the most painful things a person can go through. It can break the mind of a human being beyond recognition leading to some form of mental illness arising from the fact that a person cannot let go of the past, due to their own ego and societal pressure. They can end up seeing things that are not there as a result of losing a grip on reality, spiralling down into a self-created hell from which they cannot escape because their own mind has betrayed them. This is the general theme in Kid Cudi’s collaborative project with the traitor that is Kanye west, amply named Kids see ghosts.
While there are some Cudi joints that will never come out of my playlist, most of his projects are holistically unsatisfying to my ears. His insistence of consistently blending elements of rock and hip-hop have not hit the proverbial mark in the past but with kids see ghosts, I have come to appreciate the man’s talents. His reverb soaked adlibs transport the listener to a dreamy landscape of meditation as he shares the lessons gained from being hospitalized for depression.
On the song Freeeee he jubilantly proclaims Feel out of my past life…I died and came back twice…no I’m Freeeeeeeee I want this song played at my funeral on repeat all day.
On the outro track Reborn he hypnotically chants Ain’t no stress on me boy…I’m moving forward…keep moving forward…keep moving forward which has become my soundtrack to life for the past couple of days. As a hip-hop fan I generally prefer my lyrics dense with content but with Cudi on this project I am fine with his simple bars because of the conviction with which he delivers them. On the song Freeeee he jubilantly proclaims Feel out of my past life…I died and came back twice…no I’m Freeeeeeeee I want this song played at my funeral on repeat all day.
The beats on this project are some of the most creative pieces of urban music I have heard in my life. The beat for 4th Dimension is a masterpiece of note. It starts off with an old Christmas jiggle which is then reversed as soon as the drums enter, combined with choir harmonisations in the background it is like peanut butter and jam for my ears, it should not work, but it does. On the same song the traitor delivers his bars as if he was still the old Kanye, which is generally the case throughout the entire project. It’s confirmed the traitor is back on form when it comes to his magic touch behind the decks. Cudi montage is another example of the traitor’s creativity with the sample machine and MPC, combining Country music guitar riffs with hip-hop drums and gospel harmonies to create a jam of note.
The sonic texture of this entire project is unique, you cannot fit it into one genre. This is usually a risky proposition because experimentation often compromises quality but that is not the case here, which is its primary drawback. People like to classify and fit things into neat, separate, boxes. So that they can know what is what. I suspect that outside of hardcore music fans this project will not gain much traction and for most people it will have low replay value, which has been the case for all Good Music projects thus far this season. I personally love this project and I believe it is Cudi’s best work. Hopefully he has exercised his demons through the journey of making this project and no longer sees ghosts.