Kid Cudi has been linked to Kanye West for most of his career. The “Day ‘N’ Nite” rapper got an early co-sign from the MC who now goes by Ye, and they’ve appeared on each other’s albums over the years. But their relationship has taken a dark turn lately and in a new Esquire cover story Cudi reveals that he has come to peace with cutting ties and moving on from what he describes as a toxic, mostly one-sided relationship.
“I’ve been on every one of that man’s albums. He’s only been on two of mine. That should tell you something,” Cudi said of Ye, who signed the rapper to his G.O.O.D. Music label in 2008 and has featured him in verses or in songwriting credits on his releases in the decade-plus since. “And don’t think I didn’t ask.”
And though the former friends have aired their grievances in public over that span — where they’ve also made amends — Cudi said the final breaking point came in February when West announced that he’d cut Cudi out of his Donda 2 album. The most hurtful part, it seems, was when Ye posted a pic on Instagram of Cudi with his pal actor Timothée Chalamet and former SNL star Pete Davidson with an X drawn over the face of the comedian who recently broke up with West’s ex, Kim Kardashian, after a whirlwind 9-month romance.
Cudi called “f—ing dinosaur” Ye out at the time, tweeting, “Everyone knows I’ve been the best thing about ur albums since I met u. Ima pray for u brother.” Two months later Cudi solidified the break by confirming on Twitter that the friendship was officially over.
“Do you know how it feels to wake up one day, look at your social media, and you’re trending because somebody’s talking some s–t about you?” he said. “And then you got this person’s trolls sending you messages on Instagram and Twitter? All in your comments? That s–t pissed me off. That he had the power to f–k with me that week. That he used his power to f–k with me. That pissed me off… You f—ing with my mental health now, bro.”
A spokesperson for West had not returned Billboard‘s request for comment at press time.
Cudi said he’s at a point in his life now where he has “zero tolerance for wrong energies,” noting that he’s watched “so many people” over the years who were close to Ye get burned by him doing some “f—ed up s–t… and then they turn around and forgive him. And there’s no repercussions. You’re back cool with this man. He does it over and over.”
The conversation then got personal, with Cudi directly addressing Ye and excoriating the MC who he said was launching attacks over something that had nothing to do with him. “I’m not one of your kids. I’m not Kim. It don’t matter if I’m friends with Pete or not friends with Pete,” Cudi told the magazine. “None of this s–t had anything to do with me If you can’t be a grown man and deal with the fact that you lost your woman? That’s not my f—ing problem. You need to own up to your s–t like every man in this life has. I’ve lost women, too. And I’ve had to own up to it. I don’t need that in my life. I don’t need it.”
It’s complicated. Because while Cudi thought it was “f—ing awesome” that Ye included him on his landmark 2008 808s & Heartbreak album, he is adamant that “Kanye West did not come and pluck me out of Applebee’s or the Bape store.” Asked about whether there might be a rapprochement in the future, Cudi said adamantly, ” It’s gonna take a motherf—ing miracle for me and that man to be friends again. I don’t see it happening. He gon’ have to become a monk.”
Again, though, it’s not a simple friends or not-friends situation, with Cudi adding that the “twisted thing” is that he still loves Ye “But I love [him] so much that I can kick you the f–k out of my life and be done with your ass. ‘Cause you are not good for me… I didn’t love myself all them years you knew me. I love myself more now, bro. I love myself way more.”
The feature also touches on how the rapper, 38, has arrived at a peaceful place after years of turmoil and feeling out of control, including a 2016 stint in rehab for “depression and suicidal urges” that, he revealed, included him suffering a stroke that resulted in slurred speech and slow movement for several months afterwards.
Now, he said, he’s ready for Cudi 2.0, which includes his upcoming 10th album, Entergalactic — and an accompanying animated Netflix series with the same name — a new production company, Mad Solar, and his first major touring run in 5 years. “I have so much awesome s–t going on in my life. My family is good. Work is good,” Cudi said. “I won’t allow anything to f–k up my mojo right now. I can’t.”