The 12 Best Kanye West & Kid Cudi Collaborations: Critic's Picks
On the heels of his own album announcement last week, Kanye West followed up with a tweet that shook up the hip-hop landscape, broadcasting plans for a joint album between longtime collaborator Kid Cudi and himself that's slated for a June 8 release. The collaborative project will go by the same name as the duo's new persona: Kids See Ghosts.
The fruitful relationship began when Yeezy inked the Cleveland native to a deal under his G.O.O.D. Music imprint back in 2008. Two of the most creative minds in music joined forces to craft the genre-breaking electro-pop 808s & Heartbreak album, which celebrates its 10th anniversary later this year. Cudi has had a hand in helping craft the past six straight Kanye West projects.
They've had their ups and downs, as any friendship endures over the course of a decade. Cudi split from G.O.O.D. Music in 2013 in a move he claimed to be strictly business-related. Most recently, the duo was spotted out in Wyoming working on music with a number of fellow superstar artists at their side in March. Prior to that, Kid Cudi brought Kanye out to perform "Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 1" for his performance during NBA All-Star weekend in Los Angeles. CudYe also enjoyed time together in Japan last summer.
From "Welcome to Heartbreak" through "Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 1" and much in between, we've enjoyed some otherworldly records as a direct result of Kanye West and Kid Cudi's brilliance during the last 10 years. Let's attempt to rank the top 12 collaborations between the group now known as Kids See Ghosts.
12. "Welcome to the World" - T.I. feat. Kanye West & Kid Cudi (2010)
CudYe connect with an Atlanta trap legend to help open up T.I.'s 2010 album, No Mercy. Ye teams up with his mentor No I.D. behind the boards for the fervent "Welcome to the World." Mr. Solo Dolo balances out West's extended verse with a euphonious hook. Yeezy squashes any rumors by denouncing possible ties to the Illuminati. "People ask me shit about Illuminati/ First off, fuck that mean/ He loved Jesus when he was worse off, oh I see/ When they think a n---a is stupid rich/ People just start coming up with stupid shit/ Man, shit I could never predict," he quips.
11. “The Morning” feat. Raekwon, 2 Chainz, Common, Pusha T, Cyhi the Prynce, Kid Cudi & D’Banj (2010)
A pleasant surprise from 2012’s Cruel Summer project. !llmind and Kanye hold down the production side with help from Travis Scott and Jeff Bhasker. Ye closes out the loaded tune following verses from Raekwon, 2 Chainz, Common, Pusha T, Cyhi The Prynce and a final Cudi bridge by sampling his own vocals from “New God Flow” while dispelling all Illuminati connection rumors. “Cars, money, girls and the clothes/ Aww money, you sold your soul/ Nah man, mad people was fronting/ Goddamn, we made something from nothing,” he rhymes.
10. "Guilt Trip" feat. Kid Cudi (2013)
Cudi makes an appearance on track No. 8 off of the futuristic Yeezus. Kanye held on to "Guilt Trip" from previous Watch The Throne recording sessions. A JAY-Z-assisted version exists on someone's laptop, according to the track's producer, S1. Mescudi voiced his disapproval of the tune to Complex in 2014. "Why not call me and have me come in there and give it? Why underuse me," he questioned. "Why put four bars of vocals to coax my fans into thinking this is a legitimate Kid Cudi feature on this song and it isn't?"
9. "G.O.O.D. Friday" feat. Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Big Sean, Common, Charlie Wilson & Pusha T (2010)
Another deep cut from Kanye's G.O.O.D. Fridays collection. The star-laden track takes on the same name of its series. The Wicked Awesome artist exudes musical excellence with as soothing a hook as you're going to find from his catalog. Combine that with Charlie Wilson's croon in the background and the stage is set for G.O.O.D. Music newcomers Big Sean and Pusha T to shine their brightest. Ye samples legendary Bronx MC KRS-One for the track's bridge. "This goes out to the hardcore hip-hop, Can’t stop, you can’t stop," he repeatedly spits. Logic later used the hook on "Feel Good" off of his 2013 mixtape Young Sinatra: Welcome to Forever.
8. "Make Her Say" feat. Kanye West & Common (2009)
The sultry "Make Her Say" was originally titled "I Poke Her Face," but that was deemed too vulgar by label executives at the time. Kanye and Cudi were both in Hawaii together when they heard Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" on the radio and knew somebody had to rap on the Grammy-winning beat. Yeezy quickly got to work, heavily sampling Gaga's acoustic version of the tune. The finished produced sees a cameo from Chicago native Common, as the track make moved from Mescudi's Dat Kid From Cleveland mixtape to his major label debut.
7. “The Joy” feat. Curtis Mayfield (2011)
A hidden gem from Watch The Throne’s deluxe version as the final bonus track. “The Joy” was initially released in the midst of G.O.O.D. Fridays almost a year prior with production handled by the legendary Pete Rock, who samples Curtis Mayfield’s 1970 “The Makings of You.” West addresses the doubt he felt from outsiders following the Taylor Swift 2009 AMA’s incident leading into My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. “Stupid questions like ‘Is he gon' be dope again’/ Have you seen him? Has anybody spoke to him,” the Calabasas transplant quips.
6. "Erase Me" feat. Kanye West (2010)
"Erase Me" was a collaboration like no other we've seen from the genius duo. The guitar-tinged tune allows Cudi to explain the trouble with dating woman in the entertainment industry. The 41-year-old continues with the same theme by playing off of his romance with the made-up "Aria," who disrupts West's creative process, which forces him to cut ties. "The height of her shopping was writer's blocking me/ I couldn't get my shit out anyway, I hope you die Aria," Kanye shrewdly rhymes.
5. "Christian Dior Denim Flow" feat. Kid Cudi, Pusha T, John Legend, Lloyd Banks & Ryan Leslie (2010)
The eighth release of the famed G.O.O.D. Fridays series that led into Ye's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album. Cudi handles a tuneful hook teaming up with John Legend. He also happens to close out the track with a verse that he believes had no business being part of the song. "I emailed [Kanye] like, 'Take me off the song. HOOK DUTY.' I put hook duty in bold," he explained to MTV. "Sometimes he makes the executive decision, and he’s like, 'No. I like your verse so I'ma keep it.'"
4. "Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 1" (2016)
The most recent collaboration between Yeezy and the Man on the Moon powered Mr. West's The Life of Pablo album with additional production from Metro Boomin' and the legendary Rick Rubin. After going on hiatus due to his own mental plight, Yeezy returned to the stage for the first time (Nov. 2017) since his hospitalization to perform "Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 1" with Cudi at the Chicago stop of his Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin ' Tour. Kanye opened every stop on the Saint Pablo Tour with the powerful track.
3. "All of the Lights" (2010)
"All of the Lights" may go down as the highest quality work on Kanye's magnum opus, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The only credited feature on the nearly five minutes of greatness is Rihanna, but the 808-laden tune pulled contributions from 13 other artists including high profile musicians such as Kid Cudi, Elton John, Alicia Keys, and Drake. The Yeezy-produced single took over a year to perfect with parts recorded across the United States ranging from New York City to West's musical retreat in Hawaii.
2. "Gorgeous" feat. Kid Cudi & Raekwon (2010)
The Chicago native takes aim at the ills of America on track No. 2 off of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Kid Cudi's melodic hook anchors the track counteracting Kanye's brash rhymes. Cudi described the creative process for "Gorgeous" to MTV. "As soon as I heard this beat I was like, 'This is the one.' He'll throw out an idea of what he's trying to say and what I'll do is take what he's saying and then throw out the perfect solution," the Indicud rapper explained back in 2010.
1. "Welcome to Heartbreak" feat. Kid Cudi (2008)
Kid Cudi blossomed from underground darling to mainstream juggernaut right before our eyes on 808s & Heartbreak. Cudder delivers a classic hook for “Welcome to Heartbreak." The harrowing record encompasses exactly what the electro-pop album represents in just over four minutes. Kanye raps about the lack of substance in his life which he attempts to fill with lavish materialistic items, “My friend showed me pictures of his kids/ And all I could show him was pictures of my cribs/ He said his daughter got a brand new report card/And all I got was a brand new sports car, oh.”