Kid Cudi wants his due.
The "Pursuit of Happiness" rapper, whose real name is Scott Mescudi, went on a scathing Twitter rant Wednesday in which he called out just about the entire rap game, including current superstars Kanye West and Drake, for being fake. He declared himself to be "the culture," while criticizing artists who talk about being "top 5" while having "30 people write songs for them." He may have a point.
The tirade inspired retorts from both West and Drake. West fired back during a stop in Tampa, Florida, on his Saint Pablo tour, cutting his performance of "I Don’t Like" short to call out Cudi. "Kid Cudi, don’t never mention Ye name. I birthed you!" Adding, "Don’t try to say who I can do songs with. You mad cause I’m doing songs with Drake. Can’t nobody tell Ye who to do songs with. Respect the god!"
But while Cudi, who has a new album coming out this month, does owe West a large debt — the controversial rapper signed Cudi to his GOOD Music label in 2008 and helped launch his career — Cudi does have a good argument.
Here are 6 reasons why Kid Cudi actually is "the culture":
"Man On The Moon"
Since the beginning of Cudi's career and the release of his first two albums, 2009's "Man on the Moon" and 2011's "Man on the Moon II," his music has been extremely influential. His unique blend of dark, introspective lyrics, melancholy melody, psychedelic instrumentation and stoner cool made him a crossover sensation with rap, R&B and indie music fans alike. Along with West, Cudi expanded the rap genre and changed the rules about what could constitute hip hop. At a time when much of the rap world was concerned with girls, cars and money, Cudi rapped and sang (and sometimes hummed) about depression, anxiety and loneliness, making self-reflection and self-betterment seem like the cool thing to do. Cudi's originality and understated creativity earned him a rabid cult following that is still willing to go to bat for him.
"808s & Heartbreak"
There is no greater example of Cudi's influence than his contributions to West's fourth studio album, the polarizing "808s and Heartbreak." After recognizing Cudi's talents and signing him to GOOD Music, West recruited Cudi to help produce the experimental R&B album. "808s" had Cudi's signature all over songs like "Welcome to the Heartbreak" and "Heartless" and the collaboration helped paved the way for West's continued forays into R&B, autotune and more ambitious production templates from 2010's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" to 2016's "The Life of Pablo." "Heartless" remains West's most popular single to date.
Cudi did not just change the way hip hop sounded, but also the way it looked. While West will be the first to tell anyone that he was wearing skinny jeans first, Cudi was instrumental in bringing the hipster aesthetic to rap. Cudi can always be counted on to be sporting the latest in quirky cool, especially the animated stylings of BAPE, the fashion label whose Chicago retail store was where Cudi met West before his career took off.
Cudi's first foray into acting was the HBO series 2011's "How to Make it America," but the rapper continues to show up in movies and TV shows to this day. Cudi has never seemed too interested in simply doing mainstream cameos — though he did score a role in 2015's much maligned "Entourage" movie — instead often opting for small, but memorable roles in daring independent movies like 2015's "Meadowland," and "Vincent N' Roxxy," which debuted at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. Compare that to West, who's cameo in "Anchorman 2" revealed he was better suited to music and fashion.
How many mainstream rappers would be willing to spend a year serving as the bandleader/sidekick to an oddball white comedian in a sweater on a fake talk show? Only Cudi. Cudi took over for Reggie Watts on IFC's "Comedy Bang Bang" in Season 4 after Watts left for CBS "The Late Late Show with James Corden" and showed that he could hang in the indie comedy world as well. The move likely won Cudi legions of new fans who might never have come across his music.
"Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven"
In 2015, Cudi released what basically amounted to a progressive rock album in "Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven," further demonstrating his versatility and penchant for experimentation. Case closed!