Drake and Kanye West
In a series of tweets posted in September, Cudi name-checked Drake and Kanye West. "I need yall to know I got so many haters within the industry and these clowns know Im bout to crush their entire existence,” Cudi began. “Everyone thinks they're soooo great. Talkin top 5 and be having 30 people write songs for them.”
"My tweets apply to who they apply," Cudi continued, "Ye, Drake, whoever. These n---as dont give a f--k about me. And they ain't f--kin with me." Kanye West -- who recruited Cudi for his 2008 album 808s & Heartbreak and also signed him to his G.O.O.D. Music imprint before Cudi exited in 2013 -- responded by saying “I birthed you” while on stage at a Saint Pablo tour stop in Tampa, Florida, before noting, "I’m so hurt. I feel so disrespected. Kid Cudi, we’re two black men in a racist world.” A few days later, West sympathized with Cudi and tried to squash the beef at a Houston show. “I just wanted to take time out to say Kid Cudi is my brother," 'Ye said on-stage, even calling Cudi "the most influential artist of the past 10 years, and I hope he’s doing well.”
Drake’s response, however, contrasted sharply with the Toronto rapper remixing the O.T. Genasis track "Cut It" and rhyming on stage “Boy, you getting way too high -- you need to 'Cud' it." On his 30th birthday last month, he then rolled out the track "Two Birds, One Stone," on which he spits, "You were the man on the moon, now you go through your phases/Life for the angry and famous," referencing Cudi's 2009 debut album The Man on the Moon: End of Days.
Drake arguably went for the low blow when he pulled Cudi’s admitted history of mental health problems into it, rapping, "You stay xanned and perc’d up, so when reality set in, you don’t gotta face/Look what happens soon as you talk to me crazy/Is you crazy?" Cudi, who recently checked into rehab, took to Twitter again and sent a tweet directly to Drake: "Say it to face, pussy. You think it's a game. I wanna see you say it to my face. I'll be out soon. Promise.” The plot twist, though, came when the credits for "Two Birds, One Stone" surfaced and listed Kanye West as a producer, composer and songwriter. (Drake's right-hand producer, Noah "40" Shebib" then revealed that West had contributed to the production, but not the lyrics.)
This particular tiff started back in the summer of 2014, and -- as these things tend to -- it started with a tweet. That July, Cudi tweeted to singer Jhene Aiko -- who was then involved and married for a brief time to Cudi's close friend and collaborator Dot Da Genius -- "if u hurt him ill kill u."
News of Aiko and Dot Da Genius' divorce then found Cudi sending another batch of characters on Twitter. "The funny thing is, we aint sweatin these bum bitches and these corn ball ass niggas,” Cudi wrote in a since-deleted tweet. "We too busy makin better music." That led Sean to reference the Cudi fallout on the recent release "No More Interviews."
Instead of firing back at Cudi, the Detroit rapper said he was praying for Cudi and even referenced the Kanye/Cudi debacle. "From Stunna and Wayne, Cudi and Ye/ What happened to our family ways though," Sean rhymes. "When I put you on that song with Nas you had told me that you was forever grateful/ And that we brothers, so it hurt to hit the internet to find out that me and you don’t f--k with each other/ Over a miscommunication that probably could be fixed with a five-minute conversation, I’m still praying for ya.”
It’s Cleveland versus Chicago, as Cudi has gone at it with fellow rapper Lupe Fiasco multiple times over the years. Beginning in 2014 when Cudi criticized Fiasco’s money-making scheme to charge fans $500 for a personalized verse, Cudi publicly called Fiasco out on Twitter, writing, "What are you doing with the money your making from this @LupeFiasco . Are u givin some of this money ur about to make to a charity orrrr?” before later calling the idea "a bit sketch."
Fiasco then shot back with a series of tweets that read in part, "A custom verse is not to ‘Swindle’ you as my competitors would have you believe. It's to give you total control over what you want to hear.” Things reached a boiling point at the top of last year when Cudi hopped on Twitter, offering, "Dear black artists, don’t talk down to the black community like you are God’s gift to n---az everywhere." (This was in response to the January 2015 Billboard cover story featuring Kendrick Lamar, where the Compton rapper commented about the Black Lives Matter movement: "I wish somebody would look in our neighborhood knowing that it's already a situation, mentally, where it's f---ed up. What happened to [Michael Brown] should've never happened. Never. But when we don't have respect for ourselves, how do we expect them to respect us? It starts from within. Don't start with just a rally, don't start from looting -- it starts from within.") Fiasco took offense, responding with, “Shut Up ... How bout you start shitting on the people who really cared about your wellbeing with this biz was ripping you apart. Fake ass @KidCudi."
From there, the tweets flew back and forth over the years with both rappers squabbling online and off. Last November, Fiasco rapped on stage during a Milwaukee show, "Make sure that you listen to every rhythm that I be spittin’, unconditionally written." He continued, "P.S.: To all my enemies, you are now forgiven/ Except Kid Cudi cause that’s not my muthaf--kin’ buddy/ If I see him in the streets, it’s getting’ muthaf--kin’ ugly.”
Apparently having a change of heart during that same show, Fiasco tried to quell the drama by saying, "I’ma let that shit with f--kin’ Cudi go. I want you to let go of a grudge, let go of something that’s hanging over your head. Don’t terrorize yourself thinking about what you’re going to do and what somebody has done to you."
However, Fiasco seemed to disregard his own advice, with the two continuing to spar right up until this week, when Fiasco released a series of tweets in regard to Cudi’s beef with Drake. "You pushing what you THINK you know about this dude," Fiasco typed of Cudi. "I'm acting what i KNOW. That dude FOUL and needs his ass beat. Period."
In December 2009, Cudi got into a scuffle with a fan at a Toronto show, prompting Wale to rap "Throwin’ around wallets like the dude that Kid Cudi hit" during his “Thank You” freestyle released that same month. Nine months later in a September 2010 Complex cover story, Cudi commented on the slight, noting, "It wasn’t a shot; it’s just a simple-ass rhyme by a simple-ass rapper." This led Wale to respond via Twitter by referencing Cudi’s past issues with drugs: "Niggas lettin that liquid cocaine get to them.”
Zip to October 2011, and Wale and Cudi made amends by collaborating on the track "Focused." The DMV rep told Complex at the time, "When you're that close to somebody and your friendship takes a turn, it's really hard to repair. It's a blessing to be mature enough to get over it and be cool again and make such an incredible record that the fans want to hear."
Another early Cudi beef involved his former G.O.O.D. Music labelmate, Queens rapper Consequence. According to the story, the two were at a party for fellow rapper Q-Tip (Consequence’s cousin). Consequence allegedly felt miffed that Cudi didn’t say hi to him and posted a since-deleted to YouTube taking Cudi to task. "When you go to the party, you get on the f--king train!," he said. “You’re not even a rapper yet, you’re on the train. You’re on the E train to the brain, fam!… Don’t get out here like you grown. You’re not grown yet, doggs!”
Cudi later responded in a 2009 interview with Complex, claiming he didn’t mean to throw shade at all. “I was just completely obliterated out of my skull,” he offered as an explanation for the non-hello. “And what I found strange was that I spotted him and made my way through the crowd to see him so I don’t see where the confusion would’ve come from.”
A member of the Cool Kids duo and a prolific producer, Chuck Inglish found himself at odds with Cudi after releasing a four-year-old collaboration from the pair dubbed "Chillin While We Sippin," allegedly without consulting with Cudi first. “Hoe ass niggaz leak unfinished material that doesn’t belong to them,” he tweeted in December 2014. "I dont honor it or the two hoe ass n---az involved in the production. The vocals were stolen from me. This is why I dont f--k w people in this business. The thirst."
While Cudi has been both a target and the launchpad for beef with rap veterans, Cudi had some choice words for the new crop of MCs. "All they wanna do is take your place,” Cudi began on Twitter last December, not naming names. "Gotta watch these lil rappin ass n---as. Thats why i dont f--k with nobody. N---as wanna wear your skin. Needed to address this madness. Cause I explore other musical realms everyone wanna act like I aint show these n---as the path.” Cudi then summed things up with a metaphor: “Like I always say, they can have the recipe but they can't cook it like this.”