In a new clip from the Arsenio Hall Show, Kid Cudi put out a message that may seem pretty common sense. Cudi was asked to send a message to his peers and colleagues about what he felt “hip hop needed.” His response was, “I think the braggadocio, money, cash, hoes thing needs to be deaded.” His statement was made, flag planted, and the crowd roared in support and approval. All good and well – it’s 2014 and to be frank we all know about those flashing on-set lights that tell you when you get that brief window to be human and emote – the crowd erupts in support and delight while the two men continue their fireside chat. Cudi would continue to expand on his sentiment that could virtually become rap’s new manifesto.
While fleshing out his proposal for artist accountability it’s important to note that he groups rap and hip hop together. Usually hip hop is associated with the positive aspects of the culture while rap is seen as the monetarily associative, consumer reliant, business side that was birthed out of hip hop’s success as an art form. This may be confusing, but it is in fact what hip hop has become. Kid Cudi has chosen to express that the tenets of rap that make it the glitzy, glossy, club heavy, “stuntacular” jamboree are in fact a hindrance to the culture itself. Initially serving as a means of social outcry hip hop has become a vain, redundant, shrill, shriek of excess, adultery, violence. . . you get it. We all love a little Dionysian splendor, but as Cudi reiterates in his statement on Arsenio, “It’s been four decades of the same old bullshit.” I don’t need to bust out an info-graphic or social studies style timeline to illustrate any of what Cudi is saying, it’s all hidden in plain sight.
You might be asking, “Well yeah, so if shit is so bad why don’t more people say some shit and change some shit?” Don’t get it twisted, people have been, but those records don’t really top the charts or get shorty in the club looking your way. We love pageantry, we love the allure, we all love to indulge; rap has become a mirror for wanton desires. Cudi feels that when an artist’s accountability stops there then that is where they have failed as an artist. Art serves as therapy, music especially, it is an opportunity to channel your innermost feelings by way of another individual that has become an ethereal conduit of sorts. Providing listeners with something they can connect to and use for betterment of self and, even if just momentarily. Cudi echoes this with tracks like 2013’s “King Wizard”.
He reinforces that kids/listeners out there need to be able to connect with an artist, through and through, and with hip hop’s debauchery, those folks are too far and few between. A good majority of hip hop’s players are tough talking consiglieres, big time crime bosses, killers, or pimps reigning down on their respective empires with iron fists and cold hearts. Hip hop’s “Emo Hero” – clad in his ripped jeans and Green Day tee – is calling for an end-of-days for this sort of thinking and projecting.
Since bringing his offerings to the realm of hip hop, Cudi has been painted as the spaced out, emotional, drugged up loner. A role or analysis sometimes projected on a troubled man only seeking to find an answer. Little did we know he wasn’t only searching for his solution but a solution for that kid out there that turns on his TV,
radio iTunes, or YouTube account and is bombarded by the same images of apathy bathing in superficial excess and neglect. Listening to him speak on the fight to kill the regressive nature of a culture, you can picture a man trapped in a void, floating yet fighting against the vacuum that he occupies – much like his 2011, Robert Longo-inspired, Complex fashion spread. Godspeed Moon Man, on your divine mission to bring joy to the world and inspiration to the hearts of many and don’t let the “hate and jibber jabber” deter you. To see the impact Cudi’s music can have on even one life be sure to check out the words of Mustafa Abubaker.