From almost getting evicted from his home to becoming the artist behind multi-platinum albums and huge record labels, the story of Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi is as miraculous as his sound. But what are the Best Kid Cudi Songs? Let’s find out, but before that…
Where it all began
Mescudi, better known as Kid Cudi, did most of his growing up in Cleveland, Ohio. However, he was struck by immense trauma at the age of eleven when his father passed away due to cancer. This would dramatically affect the music he would eventually end up making.
While perhaps being a bit of a mischief-maker in school, he was never lazy or unproductive. Some of his growing pains on the road to finding his path included studying film for a year and trying to join the Navy.
Getting into music…
Eventually, he would end up living with his life-long friend and collaborator Dot Da Genius. They drew on their influences and mixed them with their particular flavor to make songs altogether new.
It would take a few more years, but eventually, a song was uploaded to Cudi’s MySpace, which caught the attention of future mentor and megastar, Kanye West. West subsequently singed Kid Cudi to his label GOOD Music.
Kid Cudi has had two multi-platinum albums as a solo and later formed an Alternative Rock group called WZRD (named after a Black Sabbath song) with Dot Da Genius. Their debut was a top ten album. Now that a little background has been covered, here are my picks for the best songs by Kid Cudi.
Top 55 Best Kid Cudi Songs of All Time
By Design (feat. Andre 3000)
Album: Passion Pain and Demon Slayin’
This little gem from Cudi’s 2016 album was produced by Pharrel. It was one of three collaborations between Cudi and 3 Stacks on Passion Pain and Demon Slayin’. The album had its high and low points, and we all know where this one belongs.
Andre 3000 had always admired Kid’s artistry. So, the collaboration made sense once the two of them had met and creative chemistry was present. The song has those three “P’s” that can make a song work – power, pop, and purity.
There’s a crispness to the sound, which must be accredited to Pharrel’s production skills. Some interesting trivia: a few hours after it got released in 2016, Mr. Solo Dolo posted a video on Instagram of himself jamming along to the track and having the time of his life. No doubt this helped its success.
Album: A Kid Named Cudi
This one has some historical significance for Cudi. It was easily one of the major high points of his first mix tape, A Kid Named Cudi. This same mix tape would eventually catch the attention of Kanye West, who Cudi had, incidentally, met twice before.
Despite having given West one of his earlier demos, they either weren’t heard or didn’t contain the spark that Kanye would later hear when someone played him A Kid Named Cudi. No doubt one of the songs that stood out to West was “The Prayer.”
That’s because it used an Indie Rock sample from “The Funeral” by Band Of Horses. Because this sample was used, a lot of indie fans ended up being exposed to Cudi early on. As a result, it’s one of the most well known Kid Cudi songs.
Album: Man On The Moon II: The Legend Of Mr. Rager
“Those having trouble pronouncing the title, it’s REV OF EV which is short for ‘Revolution Of Evolution.’ Just let it flow, say it how it’s spelled.” That’s from Kid Cudi’s official blog. So I guess it’ll take care of the pronunciation.
This firecracker of a song features production by Plain Pat, who had also worked on Kid Cudi’s first mixtape. The great-sounding strings were done by Larry Gold. He was also responsible for the orchestral arrangements for a Kanye hit that featured Kid Cudi.
A simple and direct message…
However, it becomes a much more complex and thought-invoking thing. Some struggles are yet to come, struggles which you do not even exist yet. Do you spend thought and energy on such things? Should you?
Well, whichever you decide to do, it would be wise to heed Cudi’s warnings about the trials you need to face to acquire success. How you choose to interpret them is up to you. All together, it forms one of the best Kid Cudi songs of all time.
Album: Man On The Moon III: The Chosen 2020
Hands down, one of the most psychedelic album covers anyone has come up with for a while. So psychedelic that there is an entire coloring book dedicated to it available online. Additionally, this album had some of the most experimental material Cudi has ever come up with.
“It sounds like such an introduction, it sounds like you pick right back up where we left off ten years ago.” This is how Kid Cudi referred to the song in an interview with Zane Lowe.
The song was written and finished long before Kid Cudi even began thinking about making another album.
Taking the shots…
Stylistically, “Tequila Shots” is a bit of a call back to Kid Cudi’s early tracks. Between the warped and distorted synth sounds that create an immensely eerie space, Kid raps about internal struggles and conflicts.
Things he thought were dealt with long ago and now still seem to affect him. Yet, he feels confident that he will be able to face whatever life may throw at him.
At the age of 34, Kid Cudi was still planning on being real, and he wanted people to know that. Despite his massive mainstream success, he released a mixtape that hunkered back to the raw, stripped-down sound that characterized his early work.
Many of his hardcore fans loved this refreshing release, and the title track is one of the highlights. Furthermore, it’s now one of Kid Cudi’s most popular songs.
A simple song with a simple message…
Yet, the heartfelt homie feeling is a warmly received message sent from an artist to his fans. I still like the same stuff I liked; I still do the same things I did. And I will never forget who it was that helped me get to where I am today.
Thanks for that Cudi. You know we all got your back.
Just What I am (feat. King Chip)
On the album before Indicud, Kid Cudi had shown a bit of a desire to experiment with more energetic and upbeat numbers that have more “POP,” so to speak. On the Indicud album, we saw him fully committing to this desire.
One shining example was “Just What I Am.” It featured many of Cudi’s friends in its music video as well as musical contributions from King Chip, formally known as Chip Tha Ripper.
This one is a banger. So, feel free to drop it and watch your crowd’s mood go from nearly dead to dying from hype. That’s why it’s one of the best Kid Cudi songs of all time.
Up Up & Away
Album: Man On The Moon: The End Of Day
This one might not be as well known as the others on this list. But, I chose to place it here because it speaks to the artistic mind that rests inside Kid Cudi. Kid Cudi still goes through his motions. He puts careful thought into the placement and context of every song on the album.
This one has such a light and uplifting feel to it that it simply can’t help but infect you with some positive energy. The song was produced by Free School and was immediately the closer for Man on the Moon: The End Of Day, the moment kid first heard it.
“When I heard the beat, I was like ‘This is my credit roller,’” he later went on to explain, “Like this has to be, like, the last scene on the album. You know what I mean? It’s just like, concludes everything, it’s happy, it’s uplifting, and it just brings such a great energy out. It’s the ‘Wake and Bake’ song.”
Album: Man On The Moon II: The Legend Of Mr. Rager
This harrowing song was produced by legendary producer No I.D. and begins the closing part of Man on The Moon II. Somehow, it feels like a huge dip in the road when you listen to the album in its entirety. I
It seems to suggest that Cudi has come to recognize the trappings that fame and success have brought into his life. The song features some of the signature humming that Kid Cudi has somehow become synonymous with. But, it’s used to great effect here.
He raps about becoming removed from society and the people around him. That’s because he has built up a thick skin thanks to facing the trials on the long road to success.
Was it worth it?
He seems to have lost something along the way. This is why he asks during the song’s hook, “One thing that still gets me, when did I become a ghost?” Some deep stuff there. And it’s another reason why it’s one of the greatest Kid Cudi songs ever released.
Reborn (feat. Kanye West)
Album: Kids See Ghosts
This track holds a special symbolism as well as being a great track. You see, when a young Kid Cudi’s mixtape ended up catching the ear of one of his idols, Kanye West, West became a bit of a mentor, a proud father who was present during Kid Cudi’s rise, or “birth.”
Many years later, after having become successful thanks in part to guidance and help from his mentor, Kid can welcome Kanye back to the world after a long absence from music by featuring him on his new album.
“Reborn” is Kanye letting the world know he’s back. And Kid Cudi could not have asked for a greater honor. Just like Kanye was there at his “birth,” now he (Kid Cudi) is present at his mentor’s rebirth.
Day ‘n Nite
Album: Man On The Moon: The End Of Day
“My uncle that I lived with passed in 2006. We were actually beefing because he forced me out the house when I didn’t have another situation set up, so I was bitter,” Cudi told an interviewer for Complex. “I never apologized for it, and that kills me. That’s why I wrote ‘Day ’N’ Nite.’”
It would come as a surprise to know that such a thing could inspire a song that’s often associated with more jovial things. The track is arguably Kid Cudi’s most successful song to date.
Hopefully, his uncle is looking down and smiling at Kid Cudi’s success. His success is thanks to his expression of those feelings through music. You see, his uncle was a successful Jazz musician.
Day ‘n Nite was ranked #15 on the “Best 25 Songs of 2009” list by Rolling Stone and also ranked #7 on Complex’s “100 Best Songs of The Complex Decade”. It peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has been certified platinum in the UK and five times platinum in the US.
Man On The Moon
Album: A Kid Named Cudi
This one is obvious since it’s pretty much Kid Cudi’s signature song. It describes the entirety of Kid Cudi as an artist within one song.
This tune is the sonic expression of his creative process, the symphony of thought and emotion that makes up the entire Man on the Moon trilogy from which this tune gets its name.
Pushing further out…
Yes, this song is from a mixtape that came long before all that. But that’s why it’s so important. Even back then, Cudi’s vision for his music was culminating in his mind like a vision seen by a desert traveler.
Kid Cudi was always looking further ahead than anyone could have anticipated. And he’s still doing so.
Pursuit of Happiness (feat. MGMT & Ratatat)
Heart of a Lion (Kid Cudi Theme Music)
Heaven at Nite
Brothers (feat. King Chip & A$AP Rocky)
The Guide (feat. André 3000)
Embrace the Martian (feat. Crookers)
Enter Galactic (Love Connection Part I)
Pursuit of Happiness (Nightmare) (feat. MGMT)
Make Her Say (feat. Kanye West and Common)
Rose Golden (feat. Willow Smith)
Love. (feat. Ratatat)
Day ‘n’ Nite (Crookers Remix)
Surfin’ (feat. Pharrell Williams)
Baptized in Fire (feat. Travis Scott)
Adventures (feat. Pharrell Williams)
Maniac (feat. Cage)
Girls (feat. Too $hort)
Cudi Montage (feat. Kanye West and Pusha T)
Dat New New
By the Way
Kitchen (feat. Ty Dolla $ign)
Brothers (feat. King Chip and A$AP Rocky)
Balmain Jeans (feat. Raphael Saadiq)
She Knows This
The Adventures of Moon Man & Slim Shady (with Eminem)
Cudi Montage (with Kanye West and Kid Cudi)
Solo Dolo, Pt. II (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
Lord of the Sad and Lonely
Maniac (feat. Cage and St. Vincent)
By Design (feat. André 3000)
Trapped in My Mind
Handle with Care (feat. Kid Cudi)
On the Hunt for Awesome Songs?
We can help with that. Take a look at our detailed articles on the Best Lil Wayne Songs of All Time, the Best Ja Rule Songs Of All Time, the Best Drake Songs of All Time, the Best John Legend Songs of All Time, and the Best Kanye West Songs of All Time for more great song selections.
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Best Kid Cudi Songs – Conclusion
There you have it, just some of the awesome tracks that Kid Cudi has produced. And, given his creativity level, it’s likely this list is incomplete.
Until next time, happy listening.