We're a month out of the of Kanye West's rapid-fire release schedule and five albums later, it feels good. It was a rollercoaster ride led by PUSHA-T, followed by Kanye himself, Nas, and Teyana Taylor. Kid Cudi made his return on KIDS SEE GHOSTS and in his first interview since its release, he opens up about his about his legacy, life post-rehab, and what it was really like to record an album in Wyoming.
When we'd last heard from the Ohio rapper, it was 2016 and Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin' was his first release since admitting himself to rehab for depression and suicidal urges. "Passion, Pain was more positive, but I wasn't necessarily living when I was writing it," he says. "I wrote that album before I went to rehab, then I came out and released it, I never really got a chance to write post-rehab, show the world where I’m at right now." For him, KIDS SEE GHOSTS is an accurate depiction of exactly where he is in life right now: free.
In the interview, he reveals that contrary to popular belief, KIDS SEE GHOSTS almost two years to make.
Kids See Ghosts did take us a little over a year-and-a-half to just get it tight and where we wanted it to be, but the actual songwriting process and putting the songs together wasn't really hard. Me and Ye, we click like that musically. But – I was just talking about this with Jaden Smith today – it was still the pressure of going toe-to-toe, line for line with Ye, and that was heavy for me. At first, when he mentioned he wanted to do the album, I didn't know how serious he was. But I was real serious about it. Months went by, and we just kept working on it and chiseling away at it. It was funny to us when people were talking about how the album was rushed or last-minute. I knew what it took. I was there the whole time.
After figuring out the logistics of the new album, it was time to head to Wyoming. The challenging part for Cudi was clearing the samples, including Kurt Cobain's "Burn the Rain" sample.
...The “Cudi Montage” sample! That [sample of Kurt Cobain ’s posthumous song “Burn the Rain”] is the one I was the most worried about, but Courtney Love and Frances [Bean Cobain] were really cool and they cleared it, and I love them both for that. Courtney told me, “I don’t clear shit for just anybody,” and I was like, “I know, I know,” and I was so thankful. Those songs took some real time and real work.
When the duo finally sat down together, along with the other artists, Cudi tells Billboard the vibe was similar to summer camp.
We ate together. We laughed together. Chilled. It was really cool to be around Nas. That was the illest. We’d be chilling in the room, and then Nas would leave and we’d be like, “That’s fucking Nas.” We’d be asking him questions about coming up in Queens, did he know Biggie, all these questions. I had a ball out there, man.
On KIDS SEE GHOSTS, Cudi makes it clear that he feels reborn. Now, with a decade of music behind him and a clearer mind, he's ready to look to the future, which includes a television show pilot and clothing line. He even hopes that some of the lost tracks make their way to the public soon. We hope so too, Cudi.
Kristin Corry is a staff writer for Noisey. Follow her on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on Noisey US.