The self-titled album from Kids See Ghost, in my opinion, is a colourful and vibrant expression of unfiltered creativity. On this project we see the long awaited collaboration between Kanye West and Kid Cudi.
Two artists that have proved previously they can push the limits of music, with collars on 808’s & Heatbreak as well as on My Beautiful Twisted Fantasy, which are seen as some of Kanye’s best work. Both artists have been able to inspire and shape this current generation of music and I feel this album further cements the fact that Kanye and Cudi are pioneers of new sounds.
The album begins with “Feel The Love”. A fiery track with stellar production and an energetic featured verse from Pusha T. However it’s once Pusha’s verse ends that the track gets instantly bombarded with energy derived from the thunderous drums coupled with insane and unpredictable gunshot adlibs from Kanye.
Kid Cudi contrasts this through his soft yet passionate delivery which juxtaposes against the manic nature of Kanye. Te track is just filled with life and is a great way to start off the album.
Next is “Fire” a song that hosts production from Kanye, Cudi and Andre 3000. The track begins with looping sample of Napoleon XIV “They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!” coupled with Kanye proclaiming his love for “s**t talking” which may be in response to the barrage of negative comments he has garnered due to his latest antics on social media.
We then proceed to Kanye delivering a hard hitting verse that reminds listeners that Kanye has the ability to spit some great bars. However to me, this track is defined by the intoxicating hums from Kid Cudi that add a level of mystery to the song.
In addition to this, Cudi follows with an expertly crafted verse that leads into a sombre outro that rounds off the track. In my opinion, this track is a great example of how these artists are able to bled genres mixing elements of punk and hip hop to create a track that is truly unique.
“4th Dimension” starts with Louis Prima’s “What Will Santa Claus Say (When He Finds You Swinging)” that leads into Kanye’s verse which is an expedition on Kanye’s rapping ability. This, in conjunction with rhythmic and bouncing drums, gives the track an old school feel. On this track, it is evident that Kanye and Cudi bring the best out of each other.
It seems like the two aimed to have the better verse as they just float over the beat dropping gems. Kid Cudi however shines brighter by presenting a verse that expertly glides over the beat whist hitting you with memorable bars. We then end with a sample of Shirley Ann Lee’s “Someday”. Kid Cudi really shines on this track by out-rapping Kanye and giving life to the track.
“Freeee (Ghost Town Pt.2)” is a track that I was most excited to listen to due to how much I loved “Ghost Town” off the Ye album. However at first listen I wasn’t impressed and actually quite disappointed. But after giving the track a few more listens, I began to appreciate the psychedelic and liberating nature of the song. The rock inspired drums mixed with the youthful vocals from Kanye and Cudi, give the track a defiant and uplifting aura.
What most impressed me about the track is the grandiose layered vocals from Ty Dolla $ign that gives the song another level of dynamic sounds. Overall I feel as though this track may divide a lot of listeners yet it still offers an enjoyable listening experience.
“Reborn” is the stand out track of the album. On this we hear the best of Kanye and Cudi as they play to their strengths superbly. Beginning with these soft piano notes that gently lead into enthralling mellow hums from Cudi. Cudi delivers a light chorus that leads into Kanye’s verse.
Kanye showcases his talent of being able to convey his emotions beautifully in his verse. Kanye and Cudi both use this track to explore how they have had to overcome and handle difficulties in their lives in order to be reborn. This track is outstanding as both artists are able to create a sound that is filled with immense emotion and calmness. This is an amazing track and Kid Cudi again stands out due to his deep and low key vocals.
The album title track “Kids See Ghosts” begins with a dark instrumental followed by an eerie chorus delivered by Yasiin Bey. Cudi comes in with a haunting vocals that further fills the track with a mysterious vibe.
The low energy on the track is countered by Kanye’s forceful entry on the song by delivering a harsh and arrogant verse that completely elevates the track. The production is then almost given a boost of energy and adds different sounds that fill the track with more life. ‘Tis in my opinion was the weakest track of the album.
“Cudi Montage” is the final track on the album and starts by sampling the guitar riff of the Kurt Cobain song “Burn The Rain”. This sample choice may be due to the fact that Kid Cudi has stated how much Cobain had influenced his music in the past. On this track, Cudi and Mr. Hudson deliver powerful layered vocals that coupled with rich and calming synths fill the track with a delicate and ethereal tone.
On this track, Kanye attempts to shed light on the continuous violence that surrounds gang subculture. Kid Cudi, throughout the track, is injecting his unique sound that adds to feeling of overcoming ones demons. Line like “stay strong” highlights the power of music to be used as a way to inspire listeners to stay resilient. This track in my option is simply beautiful and heartfelt.
Overall I feel as though this project was amazing. Kid Cudi and Kanye West were able to exceed expectations by creating an album that further pushed the limitations of music by taking elements from different genres to create something truly distinct from anything both men have created.
Purchase Kids See Ghost on iTunes here, and stream it on Spotify below.
Words by AJ Banjo