It’s no secret that Kid Cudi is a revered source of inspiration among both his peers and his deeply committed fanbase. At a concert in December 2016, Kanye West christened Cudi "the most influential artist of the past ten years." While Kanye has certainly proven himself prone to hyperbole, such a statement is not too far off from the truth. In the decade since he cut his teeth contributing to the music of Jay and Ye, Cudi has become a legend in his own right. Cleveland’s finest has left an undeniable mark on modern music, his musical exorcisms providing a guiding light to those looking to face their fears. The apparitions that have haunted him over the course of his well-documented journey from childhood trauma to addiction to redemption and ultimately rehabilitation have been the muse for impeccable soundscapes and unshakable sadness. There is nothing superficial about Cudi’s artistry, and his intimate understanding of the power of music is peppered with various ingredients. At times, his auto-tuned dancing is the focal point of glitchy cloud rap and ethereal dream pop orchestration. Elsewhere, he’s a whirling dervish slamming his fists into walls and seething about the shortcomings of fame. These in-the-booth therapy sessions, some abstract and some straightforward, criss-cross galaxies while allowing Cudi to speak his truth into a world terrified of being eaten alive by loneliness. His unabashed willingness to experiment, paired with his consistent pursuit of authenticity, is admirable, even if there have been lulls along the way. As is the case with every artist’s discography, no two albums are created equal: times change and so do the creators behind the music, often to the chagrin of critics and casual listeners alike. But when Cudi captures the magic that first enthralled listeners on A Kid Named Cudi, he delivers music that pierces the outermost reaches of the imagination.

If you missed it, you may also enjoy our Top 30 Best Kid Cudi Songs here.

Disclaimer: this list encompasses Cudi’s solo and collaborative studio albums. As such, it does not include mixtapes or unofficial projects.