Tracking Kid Cudi's Influence
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A timeline of Kid Cudi's influence on the game, from Kanye West and Drake to Kevin Abstract and Raury.
As he's prone to do these days, Kid Cudi went on a Twitter rant of epic proportions earlier this week, talking about crushing "the entire existence" of "clowns" who "be having 30 people write songs for them," singling out Kanye West and Drake, and proclaiming, "I am the culture." Ye and Drizzy, both currently on nationwide tours, responded onstage the next night, with the former taking a more prideful, "I birthed you" approach, and the latter doing things the classic Drake way and making one of the lamest puns I've ever heard.
Although expressed in typically narcissistic terms, Cudi and West both have a point (Drake, like many, believes that Cudi's "way too high," but there's no way to confirm that). Cudi's influence, starting 2008 in with his A Kid Named Cudi mixtape and his assistance on 808s & Heartbreak, can't be denied in the last eight years of hip hop, although it is often wildly overstated. Kanye did, however, give his former protege an insanely helpful leg-up into the industry, and though I'm not willing to do the necessary research to prove who "wore skinny jeans first," shaped Cudi's style just as much as any rapper who got their start after College Dropout.
The days of dime-a-dozen Kanye clone blog rappers have come and (very, very thankfully) gone, and while there's little to no traces of Charle Hamilton's Sega Genesis boom bap, B.o.B's pop-friendly Southern charm, or even Lupe Fiasco's conceptual righteousness in young up-and-comers today, the ripple effect of Cudi's sadboy crooning still seems to be going strong. To prove that behind all of the crazy chest-puffing and lackluster recent albums, Cudi does a have a point, we're tracing his influence through various aspects of the rap game.