Kid Cudi: The Escape Artist


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“Truth comes to the light, all the time. You can’t hide.” – Kid Cudi in Too Bad I Have to Destroy You

The Man on the Moon surprised the internet by dropping his new album Satellite Flight: The journey to Mother Moon seemingly out of nowhere tonight.

Cudder’s art is a narrative about coping with the struggles of life and the things we do to escape them. SFTJTMM shows why Scott Mescudi is  “The Escape Artist”.

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Kid Cudi articulates the pain of solipsism in his music; the deep hopeless of being stuck in one mind, one body, but yearning to free ourselves from them. The tenement of individual consciousness can be overbearing, because you are forever you, and can never not be you. You have to live with all your experiences, tragedies, and triumphs, which is cool when everything is rainbows and unicorns. But when things get dark, it ‘s tough. Real tough.

I’ve often felt the piercing frustration of wanting to get out of my own head; to be able to flick an on-off switch to my thoughts. I’ve vented to friends and family, but felt like they’ll never truly know I how feel. To be honest, sometimes it just fucking sucks. And I apologize for language, but I rather not sugarcoat it. Words like “bad” and “sad” are puddles compared to the ocean of emotions we feel from time to time.

When everyday life is heavy, we all have ways to escape its burden. Whether it’s the freedom wealth brings, the warm embrace of a lover, the company of friends, the digital rabbit-hole of our iPhones, sex, or music, we all have our own Satellite Flight; that one thing takes us on a voyage to another world, even for brief moments. But the problem with escapes is that they can quickly morph into addictions. If nothing jostles us from their comfort, we aren’t motivated to stop. But no matter what we do, we eventually have to come back to reality.

The interesting irony about any addiction, however, is that we describe it as having an inherent “goodness” or “badness”.  We assume an addiction reveals an obvious “morality” of the person who has them, even though our judgement of this differs according to what they are addicted to and on their varying ability to function with the addiction. Sex addicts are often praised while porn addicts are called sick perverts. We say describe both people who are addicted to drugs or videos games as losers, even though we mean two very different things. And we continue to fail at seeing the commonalities between them all.

We also don’t call addictive behavior “addictions” when they are beneficial us. It’s only an addiction when it deteriorates the addict or negatively impacts others. But in some ways, Kobe and LeBron are addicted to basketball, Kanye West addicted to his craft, Kevin Hart is addicted to making people laugh. If any of them suddenly decided to quit in order to live a more peaceful life, the world would be sad and upset. I think Cudi is addicted to the voyage, or rather, the escape in itself. And that’s why we love his music, because we’re addicted too. Shoot, the world is addicted to music in general, and we see nothing wrong with that, which is subtle, but problematic.

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It’s why we punish certain artists for minor infractions and give other ones with major flaws a pass. In Cudder’s case, it’s why many of us reacted selfishly when he announced a few years ago that he stopped smoking weed and doing other drugs. I can’t lie, though I was very happy for him and have always been opposed using drugs in my life (I’ve never done any drugs, including weed), my first thought was not about him personally, but about his music. If Cudi stopped smoking weed, how would that affect his music? And in turn, how would that affect me?

That thought was scary for me. I was so enamored by his art that getting my fix of his trippy, sonic excursions took priority over him improving his life. I was afraid that if his journey ended, then mine would as well. It was selfish and unfair of me, but it was very human of me. That’s why I was so excited when this album dropped.

The eclectic, yet beautiful space orchestra sounds of SFTJTMM blast you off on a 10 song voyage to another world. Cudi expresses his profound feelings of joy, despair, betrayal, denial, bliss, agony, and everything in between. The album reminds me that my darkest times are where the light is most visible; that in our lowest of lows, we can always take quick trip to the sky.

At the end of the day, no one will ever be able to know me in the infinitely intimate way I know myself, or how you know yourself. But Cudi’s music bridges that gap. It puts me in my zone, at least for the moments in between pressing play and pause. It makes space a little bit smaller, time a little bit slower, and life a little bit more tolerable. And that makes me fucking happy.

Am I addicted? Don’t know. But for now, I’ll take the escape.  Music connects with me in a way that just about everything else cannot or at least does not. Cudi’s music connects with me in a way that no other artist before him could, and I doubt any artist after him will. Check out the album, and if you like it, maybe we can fly together.

We Out Here,

Josh A

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Categories: Art, JoshArticlesTags: , , , , ,

2 comments

  1. hello josh! i enjoyed this, and as usual the writing is crisp, the thoughts provoking, and the analysis razor sharp. in many ways, your comments parallel my views on certain tragic soul stars–particularly soul men–whose emotional pain and existential anguish–provide the source of our pleasure/entertainment. of course, you are saying much more in these article, but parts of it conjured up thoughts of the divided “soul man.” glad you found the drug free cudi enjoyable. equally glad you are still working hard writing…but of course that’s what artists do.

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