Featuring: DJ Drama, Travis Scott, A$AP Rocky, Lil Yachty, Pharrell Williams, XXXTENTACION, Lil Wayne, Young Thug
Scott Mescudi, better known as Kid Cudi, Cleveland’s own Lonely Stoner, has been dropping rhymes that resonate deep within the psyche of hip-hop enthusiasts since the release of ‘A Kid Named Cudi’. His journey through the soundscape of the genre has been nothing short of extraordinary, manifesting in an array of albums that continue to shape and define the evolution of hip-hop. ‘INSANO’, dropped in 2024, and whilst the lyrics are somewhat evocative and packed with introspective bars, the beats and collabs leave a bit to be desired, leaving INSANO in an less than ideal spot in the best of Kid Cudi’s albums.
Nonetheless, there’s a story told through the album, so let’s get into it. From ‘OFTEN’ to ‘HIT THE STREETZ IN MY NIKES’, here we are the breaking down the storyline on the album ‘INSANO’ by ‘Kid Cudi’.
1 OFTEN, I HAVE THESE DREAMZ (with DJ Drama)
Cudi’s dreams, often filled with the sensation of falling but morphing into flights of transcendence, capture his navigation through fame, artistic growth, and conquered adversities. His self-proclaimed status as the progenitor of a unique sound in hip-hop and the dismissal of his critics, underscore his unwavering confidence. Flaunting blessings and resilience, he expresses how he’s feeling the love from first fans while shrugging off naysayers. The track embodies Kid Cudi’s recurring theme of introspection, self-discovery, and resilience – and that’s some real astronaut status.
2 KEEP BOUNCIN’
Cudi’s dynamic flow strikes a powerful balance between assertiveness and introspection, conveying the struggles of maintaining authenticity while navigating the treacherous waters of fame and success. The ‘bounce’ metaphor serves as an emblem of his unyielding spirit in the face of adversity, underlining his determination to stay true to his roots. But the song also doesn’t shy away from the darker facets of this journey, hinting at the constant necessity to maintain a low profile, all the while battling survival amidst constant persecution. The lyrics are a testament to Cudi’s lyrical prowess and his knack for layering multiple narratives, making it an exceptional piece in his catalog.
3 GET OFF ME (with Travis Scott)
The track sees both artists flexing their success and demanding respect, dismissing haters with the mantra-like chorus “Get off me.” Cudi’s mesmerizing vocals pair with Scott’s signature autotuned style, creating a metaphoric collision of wizards that is as “monumental” and “legendary” as the lyrics suggest. Ostensibly a brag track, the nuances delve deeper; it also speaks to their struggles, the effort to keep negative energy at bay, and the constant labour to stay authentic. This track’s a testament to their career resilience, a signature blend of introspection and braggadocio that embodies the spirit of pushing through.
4 MOST AIN’T DENNIS
Cudi’s lyrics drip with self-confidence as he asserts his success against naysayers, bouncing between his thriving career and his decadent lifestyle. His use of the Denis metaphor, alluding to the infamous fake friend character from Spongebob Squarepants, is a pointed commentary on fickle alliances in the music industry. This track is Cudi’s unfiltered response to the industry as he lays bare his philosophy of prioritizing self over others’ perceptions. His raw audacity and steadfast spirit shine through, reminding us why he remains an indomitable voice in hip-hop.
5 WOW (with A$AP Rocky)
Cudi paints a vivid picture of his new, improved life, striking chords with his timeless introspection and candid delivery, blending seamlessly with Rocky’s raw energy and cocky charm. You see, the “wow” factor goes beyond the audacious flows and hard-hitting beats. It’s about Cudi’s triumph over inner demons, his unabashed love for life, and the infectious confidence radiating off every line. It’s also about Rocky’s audacious swagger, expressing his self-assured dominance on the track. It’s that beautiful contrast and collaboration that make this song truly ‘wow’ worthy.
His signature stylistic elements bristle with every beat, creating an atmosphere that’s both electric and immersive. The lyrical exploration digs deep into the pursuit of freedom and the interplay of control. A theme that emerges is the quest for identity while being caught in the throes of external expectations – a relatable sentiment to most. His invitation to ride with him, taking control, and spread those wings of individuality screams classic Cudi. It’s a hypnotic lullaby for those seeking solace in self-expression while dangling on the precipice of societal norms. Kid Cudi, once again, paints a picture of relatable struggles while maintaining an optimistic view of reaching personal potential.
7 A TALE OF A KNIGHT
The narrative arc is that of a modern-day knight, highlighting his relentless pursuit to live life on his own terms. Cudder’s characteristic introspective tone surfaces powerfully through cinematic wordplay—his struggles, victories, and the excesses of nightlife are all painted in broad lyrical strokes. A key motif is defiance—the persistent pushback against detractors. This track is a testament of Cudi’s determination to continuously navigate his journey with grit while appreciating every bit of it. Soakin’ in the high life, striving to make power moves, and embracing the ‘boss’ persona—this is Cudi going full throttle, in a way only he can.
8 CUD LIFE
Kid Cudi, who is no stranger to adversity, spins a tale of his rise, reflecting on the grit it took to overcome the struggles of his past. His lyrics journey through personal battles, hinting at a history of substance abuse and self-doubt, while emerging victorious in the end. There’s an unapologetic swagger as Cudi reminds us of his place in the hip-hop throne, unperturbed by the haters, and enjoying life on his own terms. This track perfectly encapsulates the essence of his ambitious voyage from the kid in the struggle to the king in his own world.
9 TOO DAMN HIGH (with Lil Yachty)
Cudi’s lyrical prowess is evident as he shares his experiences living on ‘the in-between lives’, a poetic nod to straddling the world of the ordinary and the extraordinary. His explicit depictions of financial opulence and brash confidence underscore the hedonistic characteristics of the Hip-Hop landscape. In a typical Cudi flair, the lyrics hint at the problematic aspects of these perceived highs; constantly feeding into the spectacle of their fame while secretly yearning for authenticity. “TOO DAMN HIGH” isn’t just a catchy hook, it’s a critique, a celebration, and a confession— all rolled into one.
10 GETCHA GONE
Cudi lays out his life on the mic, unapologetically proclaiming his authenticity while challenging adversaries to step up or fall back. The lyrics reveal Cudi’s philosophy — he’s the king of his dreams and won’t shy away from flaunting his conquests. It’s a braggadocious anthem, but at the same time, it speaks to Cudi’s genuine appreciation for the hustle and grind. He’s not just talking about his journey and status, he’s making sure you acknowledge it too. His turf, his terms — this is Cudi’s kingdom and he’s inviting you to witness it.
11 AT THE PARTY (feat. Pharrell Williams & Travis Scott)
The track seamlessly dives into the blurred lines of party culture where excess is the norm and consequences are an afterthought. There’s the strong motif of feeling “godly, near death”, which could be a nod to the highs and lows of living life on the edge. Cudi’s root in Cleveland and the influence of his mentor Virgil hides beneath the braggadocio, speaking volumes to the depth of his persona. Meanwhile, Pharrell and Scott add their unique flavor to the mix, carving out this potent cocktail of raw emotions and sensory overload that defines the raucous spirit of the track.
12 MR. COOLA
COOLA” shows Kid Cudi in his natural habitat. He’s ‘cool’ in all situations, embracing solitude or the limelight with equal grace. Cudi uses a blend of braggadocio and introspection to discuss his personal struggles and successes. He paints vivid pictures of both his party-filled lifestyle and the introspective moments when he’s left to his thoughts. The lyrics are drenched in self-assurance; Cudi’s aware of his impact and his influence. He’s not just an artist, but a trendsetter – cooler even among the cool. His swagger is infectious, a testament to enduring relevance in the ever-changing hip-hop scene. Cudi’s lyrics reflect his journey, his resilience, and above all, his persistent coolness.
Blaring through the lyrics with his infectious confidence, Cudi is flexing on his level of freshness while dressing down detractors. He references the highs and lows of his life, affirming his indifference to disapproval. This joint is a poignant self-affirmation of the Cleveland rapper’s evolution – from his earliest days making heartbreak-beats, to his current status as an intrepid explorer of soundspaces. Cudi’s flow weaves a tale of resilience, self-luxury, and invincibility that resonates deeply with his dedicated fanbase. With DJ Drama riding shotgun, the duo creates an ambiance of rebellious individuality, while still keeping it grounded with Cudi’s trademark introspection.
Chronicling his struggles with demons and inner turmoil, the track is a stark meditation on Cudi’s personal battles and how they’ve shaped him. His lyrics unmask the dark corners of his psyche, wrestling with the specters of loss and mental health. The refrain ‘I’ma stay tortured all my life, Feelin’ like me, I’ll be fightin’ ’til I die’ echoes the relentlessness of his struggle. Yet, within this raw pain, Cudi’s resilience shines through— a testament to his enduring spirit, despite the odds. This ain’t just your typical hip-hop fare, ya dig? It’s Cudi bearing his soul, swinging his lyrical sword in the face of adversity, and that’s real.
15 X & CUD (with XXXTENTACION)
Cudi delves deep into his psyche, grappling with heartache, the search for closure, and the daunting realization of being alone in his feelings. He acknowledges the struggle of being mentally entangled (“Mind is the maze”) and the isolation that sometimes comes with it (“Alone, I must seek out the end to begin”). Yet Cudi’s strength shines through his lyrics as he navigates through his detractors and his city’s gritty reality to find success (“Born a grinder, watch him ripping, can’t stop him”). Above all, this track is a testament to Cudi’s survival, his resilience, and his unyielding belief in self-discovery.
16 SEVEN (with Lil Wayne)
The lyrics affirm Cudi’s spiritual journey and idealistic self-guard, expressing his comfort with solitude and individualistic mindset. The ‘seven’ reflects a biblical reference, symbolizing creation and spiritual perfection. Cudi seems to be in his own heaven, unfazed by external perceptions. Lil Wayne’s part adds an edge to the track, addressing the perils and pleasures of the hip-hop lifestyle, exhibiting his signature rawness. Their distinct styles converge seamlessly, painting a vivid picture of ambition, confidence, struggle, and success. The repeated refrain “I’m dreamin’ like I’m seven, I’m in Heaven, homie,” captures the essence – navigating the chaos with the heart of a child and the mindset of a sage.
17 FUNKY WIZARD SMOKE
It’s a real gritty expose on Cudi’s success, his come-up tale wrapped in the ambience of mystic hip-hop. It’s a deft exploration of the ratio of swagger to wealth, showcasing the potency of both in the world of glitz. Cudi lets you in on the hedonistic high-life, linking cash and swagger as prerequisites for admittance. The unique sensory description of the ‘funky wizard smoke’ serves a metaphor for life’s rich tapestry as experienced by Cudi. He reflects on material wealth, spiritual growth, and the struggles of his past, reminding us that it ain’t all shine in the spotlight, but the struggle and journey to that pinnacle is equally significant.
18 RAGER BOYZ (with Young Thug)
The track lays bare Cudi’s internal battle, as he attempts to numb his pain and navigate life’s tumultuous waves. Collaborator Young Thug adds another layer of complexity to the narrative with his trademark raw lyricism, touching on societal pressures and personal trials. Both artists embody the ethos of resilience and rebellion against societal norms, echoing the angst and defiance that hip-hop was built upon. The recurring phrase, “Motherfuck the law,” embodies their rebellious spirit, serving as a direct dismissal of the structures and systems that oppress. ‘RAGER BOYZ’ takes listeners on a complex, introspective journey through the psyche of two of hip-hop’s most intriguing artists.
19 PORSCHE TOPLESS
Cudi depicts a dream-like lifestyle of cruising in a topless Porsche, flaunting his wealth and fame, while also showing how these trappings sometimes feel like fabricated realities he’s playing out for an audience. The lyrics reveal a man who’s proud of his accomplishments yet also aware of the transient nature of materialistic success. He invites the listener into his world of extravagance and celebration, yet also subtly hints at the isolation that comes with being a celebrity. This song demonstrates Cudi’s mastery in balancing hedonism and introspection, making for a deeply engaging hip-hop narrative.
20 BLUE SKY
Cudi’s poetic mastery shines as he explores the themes of personal growth, liberation, self-discovery, and the pursuit of inner peace. The song paints a vivid picture of Cudi navigating life’s pressures, handling naysayers, and envisioning his dreams under the metaphorical “blue sky”. A certain casual defiance comes through as he declares his nonchalance towards external opinions, stressing the importance of self-satisfaction and emotional tranquility. By juxtaposing escapism through substances with the deep introspection of life’s purpose, Cudi presents a intricate narrative of his life experience. The track, ultimately, solidifies his position as an emotive storyteller in the contemporary hip-hop scene.
21 HIT THE STREETZ IN MY NIKES
Rolling with a laid-back vibe, Cudi paints a vivid tapestry of navigating life’s hustle in the streetwear deity, Nike, as an emblem of success. The repeated line “Hit the streets in my Nikes” is pure manifestation, a braggadocious anthem representing a firm grasp on his dreams. The “rose gold” watch metaphorical nod to his self-value and success story. His refrain of “get money, baby, baby” underlines his dedication to securing the bag, a universal theme in hip-hop. Yet, Cudi’s signature introspection surfaces in lines like “Baby, look, I’m a star,” a nuanced assertion of his place in the hip-hop pantheon.