Beginning his career around 19 years ago in 2003, Kid Cudi is one of the most revered alternative hip hop artists in music today. From early in his career, Kid Cudi set himself apart from other rappers by the way he presented himself and his music. Creating and curating every project as an exciting work of art as opposed to just murder music meant he didn’t fit the traditional hip hop mould, which is why he was so quickly noticed.
Born and raised in the quiet mid-western state of Ohio, in 2005, Cudi (real name Scott Mescudi) moved to New York to pursue music and lived with his uncle there. Having already recorded a demo tape, Cudi survived day to day by working in Manhattan’s retail sector. He moved out of his uncle’s to live with a producer he met in New York named Dot da Genius.
After a year of living in New York, in 2006, Cudi met his saving grace Kanye West who had been one of his longtime musical idols. Talking to SPIN magazine, Mescudi detailed how in 2006, while perusing a Virgin record shop, he saw Kanye West, stating, “I was looking at CDs, saw the gleam of a Jesus piece in the right side of my eye, looked up, and it was Kanye West.”
He ended up giving Kanye some of his creations, but nothing came of it that year. He ended up seeing Kanye again in 2009 while working at a BAPE store in Manhattan. Talking to SPIN, Cudi recalled, “I remember Kanye coming in one time, and I was helping him get a couple things. I forgot to take a sensor off of one of the jackets he bought, and I had to run out the store to catch him before he left. Pretty funny me chasing after him in SoHo.”
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. Word about Cudi quickly got to Kanye, and shortly after, West decided to sign Cudi to his Def Jam imprint G.O.O.D Music. Since his signing with Kanye West in 2008, Kid Cudi has released eight studio albums, one compilation album, three EPs, one mixtape, and two collaborative albums. Below we are going to rank Kid Cudi’s albums from worst to best.
The five greatest Kid Cudi albums:
5. Entergalactic, (2022)
This 2022 project from Cudi was released as his eighth studio album by Republic Records and Cudi’s own label Wicked Awesome. entergalactic is an audio-visual album, so as well as being a soundtrack, it has visuals to accompany the music. As well as being on music streaming services, its adult animation visual series was available on Netflix.
Taking to Twitter to describe the album, Cudi wrote, “Entergalactic is a fantasy. It’s what I wish I had. I live a very lonely life, but I have hope I’ll find someone someday.” The album peaked at 13 on the Billboard 200 and just managed to get into the top 100 on the UK albums chart where it peaked at 95.
4. Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon, (2014)
The 2014 segment of his spacey album series, Satellite Flight, was a surprise release for Kid Cudi fans who were quite literally notified of the project’s release hours before it happened. The album was received well by critics who praised its production as well as Cudi’s vocal performance.
The album fuses a range of different genres, from synth-pop to indie-rock and hip hop. It was a cleverly curated project. Satellite Flight: Journey To The Mother Moon debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 but is yet to be certified.
3. Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager, (2010)
The follow-up to his 2009 debut album, Man on the Moon. This 2010 sequel possesses the same quality as its predecessor, maybe to a lesser extent. Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager was Cudi’s sophomore album which is where many artists tend to fail. Furthermore, he had more eyes on him since his debut was phenomenal.
This 2010 project from Cudi saw him discover more of his dark side. Following his ‘Day n Nite’ theme, on this album, he sought to offset the euphoria and dreamy themes of his debut album with more nightmarish, sombre themes.
Its two singles, ‘Erase Me’ and ‘Mr Rager’ both communicated a sense of sadness, and the album continued to follow this theme. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 and is certified platinum.
2. Kids See Ghosts, (2018)
This album was a seminal album for hip hop, that saw Kid Cudi, and his mentor Kanye West produce and vocal an entire project in conjunction. What many would consider an alternative rap album, Kids See Ghosts saw features from the likes of Pusha T to Yasiin Bey, better known as the legend that is Mos Def.
Much of the album is in the visuals as well as the tracks, and it was labelled by some journalists as a psychedelia and hip hop fusion album. Much of the album was recorded in West’s Wyoming studio. The title Kids See Ghosts eludes to the fact that the album covers a lot of topics surrounding anxiety, depression, hallucinations, schizophrenia and insomnia. Themes that Cudi has explored since his arrival on the scene in 2009.
Kids See Ghosts is legendary for the fact that it was created by two of the most amazing and forward-thinking artists in hip hop and was most definitely some much-needed quality in a sea of SoundCloud and Meme Rap projects. The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and is certified platinum.
1. Man on the Moon: The End of Day, (2009)
As Cudi’s debut album, this was the first official and commercially released album Kid Cudi ever created, and it was mind-blowing. Man On The Moon spawned instant classics such as ‘Day n Nite’ and ‘Pursuit Of Happiness’. Furthermore, it set the tone for who Cudi was as an artist, as a person and as a versatile creative.
Man on the Moon: The End of Day debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 and has since been certified two times platinum. Despite being a remix of the original song, the ‘Day n Nite’ Crookers remix was actually the track that landed Cudi on the charts internationally.
The remix peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart and entered the top ten in other European countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands and France. This was Europe’s introduction to Kid Cudi, and it opened the door for fans to explore more of his early music. Most definitely his most iconic album.