Kid Cudi has had an eventful year. Brawls with fans allegedly led to being booted from his opening spot on Lady Gaga's tour, he was busted for possession of cocaine and criminal mischief, he beefed with Wale, and he became a father to a baby girl named Vada.
But oddly, none of those topics is addressed on his upcoming sophomore album, "Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager" (G.O.O.D. Music/Dream On/Universal Motown). "It's not like 'Cudi's problems with fame, chapter two,' " the 26-year-old says of his forthcoming set. In fact, the album, while still "aggressive and dark and energetic," as he describes it, is a reflection of where Cudi, born Scott Mescudi, is in his life right now.
"I'm a lot happier-things are in better order and there's peace within my crew and within myself," Cudi says. "I feel I had to go through the fire to get here and I wouldn't change my experiences for the world. At this point, I'm locked in. I definitely got my shit together."
Now that his life's in order, Cudi, who says he's been off drugs for a few months now, is ready for the Nov. 9 release of "Man on the Moon II," which features guest spots from Mary J. Blige, Cage, GLC and mentor/G.O.O.D. Music label head Kanye West. To promote the album, Universal Motown partnered with music video site Vevo's "Go Show" viral events to premiere the first single, "Revofev." Cudi also performed at New York's Bape clothing store, where he once worked, with Vevo and YouTube broadcasting the concert. According to Universal Motown senior director of marketing Billy Zarro, the video garnered "over 8.7 million views in 10 days, immediately becoming the most popular Go Show to date."
However, "Revofev" failed to chart. But second single "Erase Me," featuring West, bowed at No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September. Follow-up "Mr. Rager" will be released in a couple of weeks.
According to manager/producer Plain Pat, the new album is a sign of Cudi's growth. "It's more mature on all angles-the production, himself. He really lays it on the line on this album and it's a lot more cohesive," he says.
Cudi is on a college tour and planning a worldwide trek for 2011. He's also designing a collection for Bape, including a "Rager" T-shirt that will be available on the album's release date, and is set to shoot the second season of HBO series "How to Make It in America" early next year. Additionally, he has struck branding partnerships with Converse, Vitaminwater and Heineken, while "Erase Me" appeared in the season premiere of CW's "90210," according to Zarro.
Now that he's found peace, Cudi hopes to remain grounded-in his own newfound, overconfident way. "I really just find that life is fucking funny," he says. "You have to take shit as it comes and man up. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger-that's a fact. Even in death no one will stop me from being great. That's all I know."