Kanye-Cudi succeed with parallel paths, opposite outcomes

The similarities of the musical careers of Kid Cudi and Kanye West and where they are now.


Lucas Jablonski, Editor-in-Chief

Both were from the Midwest, both started out small, and both were musical geniuses at the start of their careers.  Kid Cudi and Kanye West are two rappers whose names have become synonymous with  hip-hop and high quality music through their long storied careers, but both had to start off somewhere.   

Born on July 8, 1977 in Douglasville, Georgia to Donda Williams and Ray West, Kanye had an upbringing full of care and compassion.  When his parents divorced in 1980, West moved to Chicago with his mother, a college professor.  At age 13, West recorded his first song titled “Green Eggs and Ham” in a basement studio with the support of his mother, Donda.  In 1998, during his time attending Chicago University, Kanye sold his first musical beat to Gravity, a Chicago rapper, for 8,000 dollars. After selling two more beats for thousands of dollars, Kanye dropped out of college hoping to start a music career. In 2001, West produced five tracks for Jay-Z’s album The Blueprint causing a rise in demand for the young musician and starting the upward trend of his career. In 2004, West released The College Dropout, which debuted at number one on the billboard charts.  After 19 years and more than 10 albums later, Kanye West’s music has been established as some of the most revolutionary rapping of the modern era. 

Kid Cudi, birth name Scott Mescudi, was born on January 30, 1984 in Cleveland, Ohio to Elise and Lindberg Mescudi.  He began rapping towards the end of his high school career and was inspired by the West-coast rappers of the early 2000’s including The Pharcyde and A Tribe Called Quest.  After graduating, he moved to Brooklynn, New York where he released his first mixtape, ‘A Kid Named Cudi’ which was released to online acclaim.  In 2008,  Cudi was featured on Kanye’s ‘808s and Heartbreak’ which skyrocketed the demand for his talent and pushed his career forward.  5 years and 7 albums later, Kid Cudi is now one of the most listened to hip-hop artists.  His music has been used in movies, television, and multimedia programs, and his recent transition to the acting space has made his music and celebrity even more popular. 

Both Kanye and Cudi had careers that took off at different times, but their paths were very similar.  Both started off in relatively large Midwest cities, with big name rappers to back them up while boosting their careers, and eventually, their respective stardom to rise on their own.  Now, both are at crossroads in their careers and their lives.  During the last three months, Kanye West has been in the news for his radical ideology and vocal support of anti-semitism, which has led to a sharp decline in his net-worth and overall popularity.  On the other side, Kid Cudi has been gaining traction in network television as it was just announced that he will star in a zombie action-comedy for Sony.  While Kanye’s career seems to have reached its peak, Cudi’s is just beginning to rise.  Only time will tell where these artists go from here.