During his Houston stop on the Saint Pablo Tour in September 2016, Kanye West declared Kid Cudi “the most influential artist of the past 10 years.” The roars from the crowd were both immediate and deafening.
Granted, the reaction picked up an undeniable boost given such a statement signaled an end to a public Kanye/Cudi feud that dominated headlines a mere week earlier. But the widespread acclaim from fans resonated more so as a consensus nod to the rapper that both re-defined the genre and led the charge for a budding generation of hip-hop artists -- the first to come of age in a primarily digital-based world of consumption -- and fans alike.
Coincidentally, West’s 2016 comments came just a few days after the birthday of Kid Cudi’s most influential project, Man on the Moon: The End of Day. The debut album celebrates its 10th anniversary on Sunday (Sept. 15), and in many ways feels more suited for 2019 than it does for 2009, thanks to the precedent it set a decade ago and the many followers it inspired in its wake. Guided by soul-baring diary entries over genre-blending beats, Cudi’s Man on the Moon uniquely captures the peaks and valleys of the human mind on a day-to-day basis -- moments of unadulterated bliss and boundless promise intertwine frequently with equally intense, deep moments of vulnerability, anxiety and sadness -- in a way that few hip-hop projects had accomplished before, and that many have attempted to recreate since.