Kid Cudi has always been an outsider in hip-hop. With conceptual albums, experimental production and introspective lyrics, he is outside the realm of your average rapper and, as such, is of much interest to music critics.
Kid Cudi first emerged in the late-2000s when he began uploading his material to the music-sharing platform MySpace. The emcee (real name Scott Mescudi) worked extensively with the underground New York-based producer Dot da Genius for years, and after uploading his single ‘Day ‘N’ Nite’ to MySpace in 2008, Cudi was featured as an exciting up-and-coming artist on several music blogs.
Although he signed with Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music label, many in the scene still considered Mescudi, a suburban emcee who lacked aggression and raw emotion. However, in 2009, the artist released a track that proved to the culture that he was “no joke.”
Since signing with Kanye West in 2008, Kid Cudi has released nine studio albums, one compilation album, three EPs, one mixtape, and two collaborative albums. However, there was one song in particular that changed his perception, and that track is ‘Heart of a Lion’.
‘Heart of a Lion’ featured on his debut album, Man On The Moon: The End Of Day, a 15-track concept project split into five acts about life. The body of work explores themes such as his father’s death and struggles as a teenager. However, ‘Heart of a Lion’ was one of the most powerful tracks.
On the song, Mescudi declares how he’s “not a loser.” In a verse about how people underestimate him, the lyricist rapped, “When I was coming up, you would think that I didn’t have any potential to be anything. I drew a lot, so people that knew me really well thought that I was gonna end up doing something with art or drawing or being a cartoonist or something like that.”
He continued, “But to the outside world, I used to get in so much sh*t in school, and I had very little motivation to do anything, you would think I was a completely worthless kid.”
In an interview with HipHopDX, Cudi spoke about the track, explaining, I wanted it to always have that mean undertone like, this is no joke, this is a serious thing. Even though ‘Heart Of A Lion’ is kind of an uplifting joint, it’s [got] some seriousness to it. It’s like, ‘Man, I’m not f*cking playing.’ The synth adds that really dope, mean vibe. And I wanted that darkness on the album.”