After months of rumors and speculation, the long-awaited collaboration between former rivals Kanye West and Kid Cudi has finally surfaced in the form of a carefully crafted and thoughtfully produced album titled “Kids See Ghosts” (KSG).
Similar to previous Kanye produced albums during the month of June, “Daytona” and “Ye,” KSG has a seven-track listing that seemingly encapsulates all of Kanye’s and Cudi’s strengths. Although KSG has a run time of just 23 minutes, the mysterious and at times dreamlike atmosphere Kanye and Cudi produce helps expand their album into something that feels greater than just a measly 23 minutes of music.
“Feel The Love,” the lead track to KSG, is an ode to die hard Kanye and Cudi fans containing the simplistic chorus, “I can still feel the love” referring to both Kanye and Cudi who in recent years have faced public backlash from either comments made by Kanye or by unsatisfactory music by Cudi, but despite that they can still feel the love from their fans. Toward the end of the track Kanye goes off on a belligerent delivery of gun shots eerily similar to a scat that can be heard near the ending of Michael Jackson’s “Remember the Time.”
On track two titled “Fire,” Kanye furthers his experimentation with his depth of sound. During the first bar and a half of “Fire,” Kanye’s voice sounds as if he’s sitting across the table from you, he feels distant, but within seconds he sounds louder and angrier, he pushed the table away and got in your face.
After Kanye bows out on “Fire,” Cudi interjects with a verse about his relationship with God and heaven adding the song's first visit with the supernatural, to aid in the change in subject. Odd whistles and light screams can be heard in the background, painting a picture that Kanye and Cudi were traveling somewhere not of Earth.
That place that Kanye and Cudi were traveling to turned out to be their version of the “4th Dimension.” On their track title “4th Dimension” Kanye’s classic sampling and his usual humor shine bright as Kanye brilliantly samples a Christmas song by Louis Prima. Throughout “4th Dimension” Kanye and Cudi match each other bar for bar, as it’s clear that during their time in the studio together they’ve brought out a more playful side of one another that has been missing in each of their more recent works.
On track four, “Freeee (Ghost Town Pt. 2),” Kanye and Cudi expand on their previous collaboration released a week prior on Kanye’ solo album “Ye.” Here on “Freeee” Kanye and Cudi rejoice about life and their careers as Kanye layers and deepens his voice to a larger than life delivery of the word “free” which feels empowering, joyous and lavish, a one-word representation of KSG.
At the heart of KSG is the song “Reborn” which is an upbeat therapeutic anthem for anyone who’s felt the lowest of the low and for anyone who’s been kicked down and spit on. Kanye and Cudi find strength in one another as both have experienced recent lows in their life, Kanye with a still fresh public mental break down during a concert and Cudi with an open letter to fans about his struggle with drug use and depression. The message of “Reborn” is to pick yourself up and “keep movin’ forward.”
On the last two tracks of KSG, “Kids See Ghosts” and “Cudi Montage” Kanye and Cudi let their creativity run wild. With strange high pitch whistles on the title track expanding on the album's supernatural feel and a guitar sample from Kurt Cobain on “Cudi Montage” expanding on Cudi’s drug use they bring the album full circle with a wholesome feeling of completeness.
At its core, KSG is a therapeutic project for both Kanye West and Kid Cudi. The unlikely duo create a new world of sound, by expanding on the musical crossovers of hip-hop and rock, and in the midst of chaotic lives bring a new vibrant project to life. Very rarely does an album clearly progress a genre of music, but with just over 20 minutes Kanye and Cudi did just that.
Colton Newman is the photo editor and music writer for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Coltonperson.