Kid Cudi just released his sixth studio album Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin' afterleaving rehab and taking ComplexCon by storm.
If you've never listened to a Cudi album from start to finish, then taking on this 19-track comeback project will be pretty ambitious, but worth it nonetheless. Here are five reasons to get into Cudi now.
He had to hustle to get here
Last year, Cudi (born Scott Mescudi) opened up about his ambitious journey from his hometown of Cleveland to New York in a Ted Talk.
The rapper and actor (How to Make It in America, Comedy Bang! Bang!) touches on the hustler spirit he developed through a host of jobs he took on while working toward his artistic dreams. He lists Abercrombie & Fitch, American Apparel, Dean & DeLuca as places that shaped the same work ethic he applies to his music ventures.
Another retailer Cudi worked at was the BAPE store in New York. When rap took off, he got the opportunity to return to BAPE and perform. Cudi said "they felt my struggle, they gave me an opportunity," as he recalled going weeks without eating lunch.
His early work stands the test of time
Cudi's first album, Man on the Moon: End of Day, was released via GOOD Music before his beef with Kanye and had commercial hits that were inescapable. "Day 'n' Nite" reached the third spot on Billboard's Hot 100.
His next highest chart-topper, "Erase Me," came from his second album Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager and features Mr. West.
If you truly are new here, some other relatable, earlier tracks that are worth a listen are Cudi's ode to loneliness titled "All Along" and his self acceptance anthems "Embrace the Martian" and "Just What I Am."
These songs are the beginning of Kid Cudi telling his listeners about his experience with depression and unsuccessful therapy sessions.
Mental illness and hip-hop
Cudi's vocality on his mental struggle alone, makes his music and story worth a listen.
Critics and long-time Cudi fans alike questioned Cudi's rock album Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven that he released last year.
Before publicly announcing that he would be checking into rehab for depression and suicidal thoughts, he released an album that showed where he was at mentally. His lyrics like, "I always end up back in a cycle of shame, looking in the mirror is hard," from "Confused" display snapshots of his mental state.
In October, the artist took to Facebook to let the world know he would be seeking professional help for himself, his daughter, family, friends and fans.
His courageous statement sparked conversations on mental illness in hip-hop and the black community as well as an outpouring of support.
He has always been a stylish performer
However, the look that really shook the world, was Mr. Rager's crop top ensemble that he sported at Coachella in 2014.
Although he isn't the first hip-hop artist to showcase flamboyant fashion choices, he was a pioneer of a trend that carried on even into late 2016.
Atlanta artist Raury took the shrunken shirt look to the stage on more than one occasion this year.
Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin'
For Cudi's latest, he collaborated with Andre 3000 in not one, but two tracks. This collaboration came organically, as Three Stacks was a big fan of Cudi's controversial Speedin' Bullet. Of their joint tracks, "By Design" is upbeat and has seamless, layered verses from Andre 3000, whereas "The Guide" is a more dark, mysterious song about a girl.
"Dance 4 Eternity" and "Surfin'" with Pharrell are some of the other lighter songs on the album.
On the other hand, "Wounds" and other tracks with darker themes about Cudi taking his pain in his own hands somehow seem to blend perfectly with the the rest of the album.
Additionally, Mr. Rager revisits space themes with songs like "Cosmic Warrior" and by teaming up with the equally other-worldly Willow Smith.
In essence, Cudi's eclectic and multi-dimensional style shows through on his new project, and his alt/hip-hop fusion is back.
With the release, Kid Cudi trended on Twitter as the reactions poured in from fans, new album collaborators, and fellow artists.
Stream it here: