Kid Cudi has become one of this past generation's favorite artists, but one part of his toolkit has remained slept-on for the duration of his career: the bars. And for him, that has been a bit of a sticking point, as he revealed to Zane Lowe during an extensive interview centered around Man On The Moon 3.
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One person who does appreciate Cudi's bars is Travis Scott, who told him as much during early sessions for The Scotts. "I just remember Travis saying something to me about my raps," explains Cudi, reflecting on his often slept-on skills as an emcee. "He was just like, ‘Your raps, man. I love when you rap.’ I kept that in mind. I was like okay, Travis is saying my raps are good. That must be something that the kids like. I’ll keep that in mind."
"I wanted to give him exactly what he loved about Kid Cudi, and for him, it's bars," he continues. "But I felt like, in hip-hop on slept on as a rapper. As a lyricist. I really wanted to elevate my whole shit on that front, on this project. And I did that with the rapping and the singing. Everything is kind of evolved." And while he may feel underappreciated by his fellow lyricists, his Eminem collaboration "The Adventures Of Moon Man & Slim Shady" went a long way in providing the validation he's been seeking.
Kid Cudi & Eminem - The Adventures Of Moon Man & Slim Shady
"I wanted to be respected as an emcee, yo!" laughs Cudi. "Who do I fuckin' get?! Who do I spar with, go bar for bar with? Eminem. I tweeted at him. In my timeline! I was like 'yo Rap God, help.' We're really close to Paul Rosenberg, and he was able to connect us and we were able to get it done. He was in Detroit and I was in L.A." When Zane inquires about the dynamic of collaborating back and forth, Cudi smiles. "It was a nail-biter. They're asking questions, they didn't say he's going to do it yet. Every day I was like, is today going to be the day. I got it, and I was like holy shit."
"It was something for me to get that validation from Eminem," reflects Cudi. "Him doing that record let me know, he was telling me yo I fuck with you as an artist. Even your bars are dope." He admits that having "Moon Man & Slim" in the pipeline before Man On The Moon 3 inspired him to go even harder, which bodes well for when the project lands at midnight. And there are still those other Eminem collaborations in the mix...