Les Ardentes, 09/07/2009
Haven’t you heard…? There’s a new Kid in town. Maybe not that new for my internationals in the US of A but for us, Europeans, Kid Cudi is as brand new as those sneakers you bought or that little black dress you’re wearing.
I stumbled on Kid Cudi aka Cuddler or just Scott Miscudi when I first heard the Crookers’ remix of Day’n’Nite. It was very obvious that the song was a smash hit. Not only in Europe but in the rest of the world as well. I recall hearing the song 5 times in the same night on the Diesel XXX party in Amsterdam and that was Octobre 8th. They STILL play the damn song up until now. However, the lyrics of the song drew my attention, the restlessness of it, and quickly I find myself surfing the web researching about who that voice belonged too, that new boy from Cleveland, Ohio. So, quite fast, I found his myspace page. I was happily surprised by the ‘Dat New, New’ song. It was simple, lyrically strong and I played it for days and days in a row.
I noticed Kid Cudi was very communicative through his MySpace page. Posting Bulletins towards fans, where he complained about the fact that it was fysically impossible to respond to every single message he received and that he regrets all the hate mail that followed, spitting his heart out online. I felt sorry for the dude, It seemed like he was feeling the first whiplashes of stardom and he wasn’t even famous yet…
I noticed new pictures that were posted online, (Cudi is very photogenic I must say) from concerts, photoshoots for magazines (Vibe, URB, Rolling Stone, etc.) but also plain webcam pictures, you know, pictures everyone takes of himself. It seemed to me that Kid Cudi was on his way to become something, it just wasn’t really clear to me what exactly. But he was first and foremost just as normal as you and I, trying to put his music out there. With all the frustrations that go with that.
I was also surprised why nobody booked him in Europe. (At least, that I know off) Ok, his songs were not known, apart from that Crookers Remix but still, If I was a booking agent I would book him in a small venue, like an introduction. I was very curious about him, maybe others where as well? But that’s me and who am I, right? Around April, Democrazy (A Belgian Booking Agency) booked Kid Cudi in a small venue in Ghent but that gig was cancelled, since apparently Cudi wanted to prepare himself for the festivals in the Summer. Bummer. So Summer arrived and Kid Cudi made his first visit to Belgium, since he was booked for the LES ARDENTES FESTIVAL in Liège.
I arrived at Les Ardentes just 30 minutes before the Kid Cudi concert. The band that performed just before him, just finished playing and the venue was running empty. Just perfect for me and Jules, we quickly got our usual front row spot and waited for Kid Cudi. Not really sure what to expect. So when he finally arrived on stage, I was surprised. It was just him on an empty stage and a DJ. I noticed a tourmanager and a personal cameraman, but that was it. No huge entourage like I was normally used to see. Hmm. Interesting. Maybe that would raise my chances to get a Polaroid…?
I really enjoyed his performance. True, I only knew a couple of songs and neither did the audience, but I liked his energy and the enthousiasm that he was letting out towards the public, running that empty stage from left to right, jumping up and down. He was dressed in a simple jeans with a simple T-shirt with some simple AllStars and a leather jacket topping of his look. Not your regular hip hop dress code cliche. He was good looking, but in a real, boy-next-door kinda way. (Not the annoying Pharrell Williams and his distractingly-beautiful-aura kinda way. Yeah Yeah, I admit, I just can’t get over it, read the Rotterdajumn story if you don’t understand a word I’m saying.) He explained that he really appreciated the love and support, since that love first came overseas before his own country showed him some respect. I guess, it’s the same everywhere. You have to prove yourself harder amongst your own, before they recognize the things you do.
I noticed that it was important for him to explain the audience that there’s more to Kid Cudi than the Crookers Remix, that he was in the music industry for a while now and getting a lot of recognition through underground mix tapes. (The notorious, A Kid Called Cudi-mixtapes) It’s a knife that cuts both ways I guess… On the one side you get known all over the world because some DJ duo sampled your song and made it a huge hit. On the other side, that same song is played over and over and òver again in a music genre that is completely different than your own. So in a way, you are just where you were in the first place…
Right at the very beginning, since people don’t know you or the music you stand for, they just know that one song. So when the end of the concert arrived and the intro from Day N Night played, it didn’t come as a surprise that the whole venue exploded. He did his own version first, the slow one, (my favorite) to slowly melt it into the heavy electronic beats of the Crookers Remix. In my humble opinion, a very good first impression. But, I would still like to see him in a small, cozy venue like the AB in Brussels or VOORUIT in Ghent. But for me, it was time to work. I immediately went backstage hoping I could catch Kid Cudi in the run. (If you wonder how I got that backstage bracelet, please read the ‘Meth&Red‘ story.)
I approached who appeared to be his tourmanager (?) and explained my project to him. Of course he told me to wait. I think I waited for 2 hours. Every time the tour manager passed me by, I nodded politely. What else could I do? I wasn’t sure if he was planning to help me out or not…He looked like the “Yeah, sure, whatever type.” Then I heared ‘through the grapevine’ that Kid Cudi agreed to give some interviews, but that he first wantet to check out METRONOMY, a British band that was performing at Les Ardentes as well. Another example that Kid Cudi is not another hip hop cliché. He knows good music.
That worked out great for me, since I also wanted to check them out, and I would probably have missed them while hunting for my picture. So I checked out the METRONOMY concert, not losing my radar on Cudi, who was watching from the sideline. After the concert I immediately went backstage, waiting close by the little press room, hoping nobody would ask me questions why I was hanging around there. To my surprise there was only one small camera crew that represented an urban blog, but that was it. Strange…Maybe all the big networks/radios would come later…?
It seemed that I had to wait some more since the whole crew was grabbing a bite in the catering-restaurant. So, I ended up talking to his security. That was a first… Most Hip Hop security looks mean, don’t say a word and just stand there, being tall and scary. Like they are planning to kick you out of the building anytime. Kid Cudi’s security ‘Kay’ was actually very nice. We had a nice conversation about Belgian fries, security jobs in general and he even showed me some pictures from him on the job…: “Ow is that an AK47..?” “No, that is an M16 when I was doing a security job in Syrie.” “Ow, I see, right..right…” Even for Kay it was clearly that Kid Cudi was getting bigger by the minute, and that he was heading for bigger horizons. It was nice to talk to a bodyguard for once, you hear the story from the other side. Respect for that job.
And then finally Cudi arrived. I slipped into the little press room and pushed myself in a little corner waiting how the situation would evolve. I was surprised. There were no major music channels, networks or radio hosts to be seen. Strange…but even better for me and my project. So the interview began and for me it was very interesting to observe him. Apparently he got so sick of the business that he decided a few months ago to give it all up. Things changed and all of a sudden he got signed with Kanye West’s label.
So, he picked things up where he left them and started again, with a little push in the back from a major (but complex) star in the music industry. He talked about being single, and the fact that he is very careful with all that new female attention that wasn’t there before. Just like everyone else, he got disappointed in a relationship recently and now he is back single. He was very open about things. He seemed to be a sensitive boy, trying to handle all the things that come with the fame, and having trouble with that from time to time.
I was dying to ask him a question myself, but that meant that I would disturb the interview like a total nobody and risked -again- to be classified like a total nutcase, so I shut my mouth. But..at the end, when all the cliché questions were asked (I’m sorry, but they were…no disrespect…), and the manager told everyone that the time for the last question has arrived and nobody asked a question… I took my money where my mouth was, raised my voice and asked:
“What about acting? I read in a press-release from HBO that you were cast for a role in a new HBO series, simular to Entourage in LA but happening in New York…?” I see approximately 10 heads looking in my direction with a surprised ‘who-the-F*-is-that-chick-look on their face and I am dying inside, feeling my cheeks burning up and slowly turning red. Pain full. The tourmanager smiled and said; “Exactly!” Kid Cudi answered that he was indeed cast for role in the new HBO series and that they would start shooting in September. He added that he was cast for a movie role as well and that he was very excited and curious where that path might take him.
(Btw: Check out Kid Cudi’s cameo in the Solange Knowles video: T.O.N.Y made by Va$htie)
So the interview ended and the tour manager looked at me, remembering my request and quickly briefed Cudi about my project. I guess I scored with my question…? (smiling proudly) I got the chance to show my pictures of other artists. He was very cooperative and gave me 2 different expressions. “One for you and one for the ladies, withoùt the sunglasses?” And that was that. He left the press room and when I wanted to shake his hand to thank him for his time he just gave me that typical American hug, thanked mé, telling my to say hi to Q-tip for him. and took off.(Q-tip was playing at Les Ardentes the following day, but I was seriously doubting if I could run up to him, passing Cudi’s message, I bet he would not even remember me, to be honest…)
With a first album ‘Man On The Moon‘ coming out on August 25, the beginning of an acting career with one of the most respected networks HBO in the industry and with a little help from Kanye, it became clear to me. Kid Cudi is that rising new star, he IS ‘Dat New New’. Add his new single ‘Make Her Say‘ with the Lady Gaga sample featuring Kanye West ànd Common ànd this very cool video:
I hope that, although he is that ‘Man On the Moon’, he will never lose his touch with mother earth and reality, and stay just as normal like he states to be, just as normal as you and me. Only time will tell. I wonder, If I will ever be able to take another Polaroid? Or will he be another star too high to reach?
And about all that BS about Kid Cudi and him wearing skinny jeans…? Haha.. people come on….stop thinking in cliches and boxes.
PS: I didn’t want you guys to miss out on Kid Cudi’s personal camera-man Jason and his amazing Tshirt:
PLEASE CHECK OUT: