When you think about rappers who embrace reinventing themselves, Kid Cudi is the first that comes to mind. One of the biggest stars to emerge from hip-hop’s blog era, Cudi broke out with “Day ʻNʼ Nite” and his impactful A Kid Named Cudi mixtape, both of which impressed his mentor Kanye West, who later tapped Cudi to work on his seminal 808s & Heartbreak album and has called him “the most influential artist of the past 10 years.” A decade later, Cudi has maintained a ubiquitous presence in hip-hop for his innovation and brilliance.
Born Scott Mescudi, the Cleveland native is responsible for a key shift in hip-hop. He broke new ground by combining alternative and electronic music with hip-hop, using those inspirations to create his experimental style, sometimes traversing multiple genres at once. All the while he remained fearless in his expression, no matter how dark or light his lyrics were. That’s the thing about Cudi: His music has always reminded you that you’re not alone in your battles. He is you, and you are him.
Today, Cudi is an omnipresent figure in pop culture who has inspired many. He’s a voice for young creatives who don’t fit in. He’s a therapeutic light for people who need a helping hand. He’s a fashion icon. He’s more than a cool cameo in television and movies, but a full-fledged actor. At 35, Cudi continues to challenge the norm, to always be authentic, and to be bold.
We asked several other artists, designers, and celebrity friends to share how Cudi has become a major influence around the world. The legend of Mr. Rager never dies; it just grows stronger.