An energetic, psychedelic and healing journey, Kids See Ghosts is two of the most important artists in the genre of Hip Hop at their artistic zeitgeist.
When announcing his slew of Summer 2018 releases, Kanye West made some big proclamations. Stating that new Pusha T, Kanye West, Nas and Teyana Taylor releases were all coming out in a span of 5 weeks blew most of people’s minds. However, one of these releases seemed even more special. A full record collaboration between Kanye West and Kid Cudi was set to drop under their group name “Kids See Ghosts”.
I’ve always loved both of these artists. Kanye, well, has always been influential with me. Whether it’s his older records like The College Dropout or more recent material like My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Yeezus, all of his records have impacted how I listen to music and what to listen for when I hear an album. Cudi, on the other hand, represents a certain period of time in my life. Although I’m not the hugest fan of his newer material, Man On The Moon I & II were basically the only records I listened to for quite a long time, having messages that I could relate to and songs that sounded out of this world.
My hype of this new record was obviously through the roof, and I tried to simmer my expectations, but as the days flew by and the album was approaching, I couldn’t help myself from counting down the hours until the drop.
Kids See Ghosts is a masterclass of blazing, psychedelic hip-hop futurism, blurring the lines of genres like I’ve never seen before. Trap hi-hats and heavy 808s are replaced with guitars and live drums.
With its mere 7 tracks, the substance on this record is nothing to scoff at. Each song carries a substantial amount of weight, and is filled to the brim with instruments, effects and vocal harmonies.
The album kicks off with the exhilarating “Feel The Love”, which features an awesome first verse from Pusha T, which was the perfect cold-blooded verse to a record that sounds so warm and loving. Kanye’s off the wall and frankly insane adlibs toward the end are as hype as they are hilarious and they add a lot to the track. As does Cudi, who’s refrain “I can still feel the love” repeats passionately throughout the song.
The songs “Fire” and “4th Dimension” are both incredible examples of Kanye and Cudi chemistry as rappers. The switching off of hook and rapping duties is really interesting and of course, the production they’re under is always mind-blowing. From the warped and twisted 1930’s Louis Prima sample to swinging woodwinds laced over a rock drum beat, there’s so much to take in.
“Freeee (Ghost Town Pt. 2)” is the spiritual sequel to my favorite song on ye, “Ghost Town”. The energy and soul of the track make it a kindred spirit to it’s prototype, though it sounds even more liberating. “Reborn” is perhaps one of my favorites on this project, being the amalgamation of everything Cudi and Kanye have been working towards for the past decade. Their mental battles, rehab visits and struggles with fame all culminate in this beautiful track, that feature some of Cudi’s best humming and hooks period.
“Kids See Ghosts” and “Cudi Montage” feel like the perfect closers to this near perfect record. A cycling, hypnotic beat and a Kurt Cobain sample sums up the colorful, punchy and contemplative vibe of the project. Although these songs are the most interesting sonically compared to the other songs here, they feature some of the best bars I’ve heard from either of these artists. Cudi touches on topics such as God and loneliness as Kanye raps about street violence in Chicago, putting himself in the shoes of the citizens in his hometown.
In conclusion, wow. This album is one of the best records I’ve heard this year, and I’m not surprised. I think we’ll see the shockwaves of this one for a long time. The aesthetic of psychedelia and sample-heavy hip hop is sure to be a new trend amongst young rappers.