The Cleveland, OH-raised rapper/singer first started buzzing after being groomed by his manager Plain Pat, who also happens to be Kanye’s A&R. And after a few years of underground success with mixtapes and his hit single “Day N Nite,” Cudi’s appearance on 808s & Heartbreak (“Welcome To Heartbreak”) marks his first real exposure to the pop mainstream. While building with Cudi on an upcoming article, we interviewed him about working with Kanye, what he really thinks about the auto-tune and how he got his hands on a pair of Air Yeezys…
Interview By Richard “DJ Treats” Dryden
Complex: How far are you into recording your album, Man on the Moon?
Kid Cudi: I’m trying to get it done in December.
Complex: Since you’re signed to G.O.O.D. Music now, is your album going to be executive produced by Kanye and Plain Pat?
Kid Cudi: Well, more than likely.
Complex: And probably you?
Kid Cudi: Yeah, because I’ve had the vision for my album for some time. So if anything I’ve had the idea, I’ve had the vision. There would be some executive producing.
Complex: You’ve been really hands-on with a lot of your work. Has that worked against you at all?
Kid Cudi: No, it hasn’t, oddly. Because it’s always been Pat and me. Me, Pat, and more recently Emile. And O Dot. We always got a strong team. Pat doesn’t tell me what to do. We just sit there and throw ideas around. It’s like talking to one of your homies, asking for advice and shit. Pat never says, “Cudi, you need to do this, you need to do that.” If I’m adamant about not doing something, he won’t force it. He’ll still voice his opinion like, “I think you should do it.” But at the end of the day, final call goes on me and I like that. Sometimes I’ll bite my tongue and be like, “Aight, I’ll listen to Pat. He knows what he’s talking about.” We’re all humble with each other, and we all talk shit out. It’s really a dope team that I have. And that’s what is important, to be successful, in this business.
Complex: Since you do sing, are you ever going to use auto-tune? Or have you used it before?
Kid Cudi: I would probably not use auto-tune in a way that a lot of other artists have used it. That doesn’t mean I’m against auto-tune—I like how it sounds. But, you know, I don’t want to…I think I have an okay voice.
Complex: [Laughs] Right, right.
Kid Cudi: But on the album there is one record that I have auto-tune on. But only because it fits a certain theme. I’ll explain that when the album drops, but there’s only one song…and it was a mistake, actually.
Complex: [Laughs] How so?
Kid Cudi: Because I recorded a song and Emile put the auto-tune on there and I was all pissed like, “Man! Take that off, man! Why you do that?” Do not put auto-tune on your vocals, because you might just like it. So if you’re not into auto-tune don’t…
Complex: Damn, that shit is a drug.
Kid Cudi: Yeah, because I was like listening to it like, “Damn! This shit is actually kind of dope.” And I was like, “Fuck it. If I’m going to use this auto-tune, I’m going to come up with something creative that has a meaning behind it other than the sound.” I came up with this whole creative thing. Hopefully if this song is a single…I’ll probably end up shooting a video for it anyways, but it’s going to be really dope.
Complex: It’s interesting that you’re trying to use it in a different way.
Kid Cudi: Yeah, it’s dope, it’s a new sound. And I think 808s & Heartbreak really sounds nice with it. You know? We’re all skeptical when people try new shit at first. I’m skeptical with my own shit. [When] a muthafucka starting to draw a picture, it just looks like rough sketch. But when you finish, it’s a masterpiece. You can’t judge a book before it’s even written.