5 Takeaways from Kanye West and Kid Cudi's New Album, Kids See Ghosts
Just a week after Kanye unveiled ye around a bonfire in Wyoming, he released another new album, this time with longtime collaborator Kid Cudi. The duo premiered Kids See Ghosts during a listening party at a âghost townâ hours outside of Los Angeles. The event, like the albumâs digital rollout, was chaotic to say the least.
Shuttle busses bringing journalists to the secret location got stuck in hours of traffic, before media personnel were dropped off at a cold gravel lot. Meanwhile, celebrities and Kanye super fans gathered around a bonfire to actually witness the festivities. Those watching the eventâs live stream on the WAV app had a better vantage point than those actually covering it, assuming viewers were able to stay awake that long. Kids See Ghosts didnât start playing until nearly 1:45 a.m. EST.
Around 10:20 a.m. EST this mornin g, the project arrived on Google Play, then Tidal, Apple Music, and finally Spotify. At this point it became clear that, though the album was in the same order as last night, the songs titles were jumbled. The following analysis is based not on what the streaming services are currently claiming, but rather, our own 11 hours of listening; apparently our logic is the same as Geniusâ, for what itâs worth. UPDATE (1:45 p.m. EST): Westâs rep has confirmed a corrected tracklisting, it is reflected in what follows and will soon take effect on streaming services.
Complete with samples of Kurt Cobain and Marcus Garvey, ghoulish noises, and passionate testaments to faith, Kids See Ghosts marks a new chapter for both rappers. Hereâs what you need to know going in.
Cudi Comes Full Circle
Back in 2016, Kid Cudi bravely shared a public statement on Facebook, admitting that he had checked himself into rehab for depression and suicidal urges. Towards the end of the note, he wrote: âIâll be back, stronger, better. Reborn.â On Kids See Ghosts, Cudi shows the world that heâs made good on his promise. âIâm so, Iâm so reborn/Iâm movinâ forward,â he sings in the hook on âReborn.â Later in the uplifting track, he asserts that his inner turmoil is a thing of the past. âI had my issues, ainât that much I could do/But peace is something that starts with me,â he says.
The Power of Christ Compels Them
For Cudi, it seems like overcoming anxiety and depression goes hand in hand with a newfound commitment to spirituality. âItâs so many days I prayed to God/All this pain I couldnât seem to find a way,â he raps on âFire,â co-produced by AndrÃ© 3000. Though this subject matter is new for Cudi songs, itâs well-trodden territory for Kanye, whoâ"from âJesus Walksâ to âUltralight Beamââ"has explored the topic of Christianity throughout his discography. Despite thi s, Cudi comes across way more earnest about his faith than Kanye does. As Ye raps on the albumâs title track, âGot a Bible by my bed, yes Iâm very Christian/Constantly repenting âcause yes I never listen,â he sounds like a sour cynic compared to Cudiâs grateful spirit.
The albumâs electro-gospel finale, ostensibly titled âCudi Montage,â finally shows Kanye âI Am a Godâ West in a humbling light. He joins Cudi and a singer who sounds like his longtime collaborator Mr. Hudson for a round of call and response that gradually swells with sincerity and intensity. âLord shine your light on me, save me please,â Kanye sings, sounding almost like a little boy. Mr. Hudsonâs sharp voice calls back with a reverberating âstay strong!â as the track ascends to a higher place.
Connections to ye
In early tracklistings for his current slate of projects, Kanye revealed that his ye song âGhost Town,â with Cudi and 070 Shake, was first set to appear on Kids See Ghosts. Because of such shuffling between albums, itâs no surprise that the projects contain some similarities and overlap. On âFreeee (Ghost Town, Pt. 2),â Kanye raps about the challenges of being perceived by the public as unstable: âI was off the meds/I was called insane/What a awesome thing/Engulfed in shame.â His sarcastic remark echoes the same tone he struck with yeâs cover art, which reads, âI hate being Bi-Polar itâs awesome.â While ye was a dark album made by a broken man, Kids See Ghosts seems to feature at least one moment of genuine catharsis for Kanye. On âFreeee,â Cudi and Kanye take turns singing the hook with unfettered glee: âNothing hurts me anymore, guess what babe?/I feel freeeeee.â Though the lyrics are nearly the same on both parts of âGhost Town,â the Kids See Ghosts track captures a subtle but crucial shift. Where 070 Shake memorably crooned about feel ing âkinda free,â the duo sounds 100 percent certain, making âFreeeeâ a more exciting listen.
In general, the continuity between the two albums seems to revolve around yeâs âGhost Town.â On Kids See Ghostsâ â4th Dimension,â Kanye returns to Shirley Ann Leeâs âSomeday,â the â60s gospel sample that opens âGhost Town.â He pulls from an entirely different section of the song here, extracting the spoken-word section in which Lee advises another person about song structure. âJust do that, and then let the music do something and then do that againâ¦â Lee says, as â4th Dimensionâ closes. The passage functions similarly to the outro in yeâs âViolent Crimes,â in which Nicki Minaj leaves Kanye a voicemail with a few crucial bars for the song about protecting North West. In both cases, Kanye presents a womanâs voice as a guiding force within his music.
Samples: From Kurt Cobain to Marcus Garvey
Li ke other Kanye-produced albums, Kids See Ghosts features an interesting and eclectic collection of source material. For âCudi Montage,â Kanye loops a twangy acoustic guitar from Kurt Cobainâs âBurn the Rain,â from the companion album for the 2015 documentary Montage of Heck. The choice to sample Cobain for an album about overcoming depression seems pointed. Itâs also an especially fitting pairing for Kid Cudi, whoâ"from the Band of Horses sample on his debut mixtape to his nod at a Smashing Pumpkins classic earlier this yearâ"has embraced his inner angsty rock star since long before such influences were de rigueur in rap.
A more surprising sample on Kids See Ghosts comes courtesy of Louis Primaâs early jazz recording of âWhat Will Santa Claus Say (When He Finds Everybody Swinginâ),â from 1936. On â4th Dimension,â Kanye somehow manages to turn that festive holiday tune about literal sleighs into a haunting loop of c hanting voices. Another unexpected sample is the Marcus Garvey interview snippet that introduces âFreeee,â in which the Black Nationalist leader can be heard saying, âWhen man becomes possessor of the knowledge of himself, he becomes the master of his environment.â But Kanyeâs sampling here seems intentionally selective, as he skirts around the main points in Garveyâs original monologue. By leaving out the part where Garvey calls for a fight against the systematic oppression that has left the black man historically âdiscarded, ostracized, relegated to the lowest in things social, political, and economical,â Kanye makes it seem like the quote is about merely thinking your way into becoming a âmasterâ instead of a slave. Keep in mind: Weâre now two new Kanye albums deep and we still donât have a proper explanation for his recent comments about slavery being a choice.
Despite the fact that Kids See Ghosts encompasse s some pretty heavy topics, Kanye and Kid Cudi actually sound like theyâre having fun. What lightens the albumâs subject matter and at times dark sound is Kanyeâs experimentation with his voice. He goes back to his tried and true method of voice as instrument and ends up revealing a playfulness that wasnât apparent on ye at all. On the opening track âFeel the Love,â Kanye goes full berserk, singing incoherent syllables like brahhhhh kah kah grrrrah ka ka ka. He sounds as though heâs doing Desiigner ad-libs in the same brazen, post-verbal fashion as Big Shaq on âManâs Not Hot.â
Elsewhere, there are voices that contribute to the overall spooky, ghost-town vibe of the record. In â4th Dimension,â thereâs a menacing cackle that sounds like a witch invading and terrorizing the track. And on âFreeee,â where Kanye and Cudi stretch out the word âfreeâ into a moan, they sound like theyâre doing their best impressions of pha ntasms from a childrenâs cartoon. When theyâre echoed by an angelic-sounding male gospel choir (led by Ty Dolla $ign), the whole Kids See Ghost concept comes into light: Kanye and Cudi are negating the dark ghosts that haunt them with holy ones.
Additional reporting by Rebecca Haithcoat in Los Angeles.Source: Google News US Entertainment | Netizen 24 United States