Tonight, Kanye West and Kid Cudi will release Kids See Ghosts, the first full-length collaborative project between the two artists (unless you're counting 808s & Heartbreak), and the third in a promised set of five albums fully produced by Kanye, following Pusha-T's excellent DAYTONA and the beautiful mess of ye.
With no material made available prior to release, it's difficult to imagine exactly what the album will sound like. That said, we do know that it will consist of seven tracks, and feature some excellent artwork from Takashi Murakami.
While we wait for the official unveiling later this evening, we reached out to a couple of our industry friends (and DJBooth senior writer Yoh Phillips) to answer the most burning questions surrounding Kanye, Cudi, and Kids See Ghosts.
Our panel: Yoh Phillips is a senior writer at DJBooth and the author of Best Damn Hip-Hop Writing. Kazeem Famuyide is a writer for WWE, a host at all-digital sports programming network UNINTERRUPTED, co-host of the Flagrant 2 Podcast and a founding partner of DussePalooza. Gary Suarez is a freelance writer and music critic whose work has appeared on Forbes, Pitchfork, and Billboard, among other publications.
1. What does Kids See Ghosts mean to Kanye and Cudi’s respective legacies?
Music changed after Kanye West and Kid Cudi put their minds together for the first time. What followed the release of 808s & Heartbreak was a reinvention of what was thought to be possible musically, sonically, and lyrically. No one can take away what was accomplished 10 years ago.
Yet, their minds coming together again for a full-length project a decade later feels like a collaboration that is years too late. If it was 2011, before both artists toppled from their thrones, the excitement surrounding Kids See Ghosts would be different. But that’s not the case. With both artists being beyond their musical and creative primes, Kids See Ghosts will have to successfully re-introduce both as innovators. Following a year of lukewarm joint albums, the two have to change music; completely throw today’s modern sound into a new dimension. Unfortunately, I just can’t imagine what they could possibly do to bring back the idea of Kanye and Cudi as cultural shifters of sound.
But they have a chance. The interest is there. One more blockbuster project to not completely become men forever haunted by the projects of their past—before they become ghosts of who they used to be. —Yoh
2. Is there a more ideal collaborator for Kanye West than Kid Cudi? If so, who?
Considering the success of The Throne, I would love to see Kanye reunite with JAY-Z again. Obviously, that's not going to happen for a while. As far as where Kanye West seems to be right now, mentally and in his career, Kid Cudi is probably his best collaborate bet. In fact, Emo Yeezy is probably the only type of Yeezy I can stomach at this point because that Ye album wasn't slapping—at all. But like most things with Kanye right now, I'll get to the album when I get to it. Ye' has lost a lot of mental real estate with me over past couple of months. —Kazeem Famuyide
3. Is the best Kid Cudi album better than the worst Kanye album?
Presuming that Kids See Ghosts isn’t the worst album of both their respective careers, which is certainly possible, I’ll concede Man On the Moon’s superiority over ye. That’s not really saying much, given the abysmally poor quality of the latter project. Despite what his incel stans claim, Cudi has never dropped a consistently great album. His self-indulgence, fueled in no small part by that hype, always sabotages even his better efforts. Only seven songs long, Kids See Ghosts at least has a fighting chance to avoid succumbing to that predictable flaw—but it probably won’t. —Gary Suarez