Kanye West & Kid Cudi: A History Of Their Friendship

One notable feature of Hip Hop is conflict, and Kanye West is no stranger to beef. The genre has seen several artists go from friends to foes, to friends all over again. Kanye West and Kid Cudi were once inseparable, often complementing each other stylistically and musically. Unfortunately, things took a turn in their relationship in recent years, leading the Cleveland rapper to cut ties with his former mentor.

Nonetheless, it looks like the grass might be greener for the famous duo. Their saga of artistic kinship, brotherhood, and shared triumphs has kept fans hopeful that they will become attached at the hip once again. Most recently, fans saw promising signs when Kid Cudi embraced Kanye at his Vultures listening party. Let’s explore the highs and lows that these two musical maestros share in their history.

Read More: Kanye West & Kid Cudi’s “Kids See Ghosts” Turns 5

Mid 2000s: The Early Connection

NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 16: Kid Cudi and Kanye West attend the Michael Bastian presentation during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2009 at 637 West 27th Street on February 16, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jerritt Clark/WireImage)

The roots of Kanye West and Kid Cudi as friends can be traced back to the mid-2000s. The two crossed paths in New York City as Cudi worked various retail jobs. First, Kanye West and Kid Cudi met at a Virgin Megastore where the former was browsing through CDs in 2006. Then, Cudi formally introduced himself while working at the BAPE Store in New York and handed his CD to West.

Kid Cudi famously caught Ye’s attention with his unique sound and distinct style. Plain Pat put Kid Cudi on Kanye’s radar, leading to his deal with G.O.O.D Music. In 2008, Cudi’s debut mixtape, A Kid Named Cudi, made waves exponentially. The lauded tape featured tracks that showcased his introspective lyrics and experimental production. Ye was one of the major stars in attendance at the mixtape’s release party. 

2008-2012: A Symphony And A Sign


2008 marked a milestone in the Kanye-Cudi chronicles. The pair worked together on Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 3, as well as West’s iconic 808s & Heartbreak. The latter album famously defied conventions, laying the groundwork for a new era in Hip Hop. Cudi’s fingerprints are all over the album, contributing vocals and collaborating on tracks like “Welcome To Heartbreak,” and “Paranoid.”

That same year, Kid Cudi was signed by Kanye West into G.O.O.D. Music Label. Cudi’s career proved a success, beginning with the release of his 2009 album, Man On The Moon: The End of Day. While under the label, Kid Cudi consistently expressed the profound impact that Kanye West has had on both his career and personal life. The sentiment was conveyed through multiple interviews, performances, and a significant portion of his musical catalog. 

Read More: Pusha T Speaks On Kid Cudi & Kanye West Fall Out

2013: Kid Cudi Leaves G.O.O.D. Music


On April 2nd, 2013, Cudi announced while on air with Power 106, that he was leaving G.O.O.D. Music. He stated: “Everything is cool. Everything is peace with everybody on the label. There’s never been any issues, but I’m announcing that I’m no longer on G.O.O.D. Music.”

When he was asked if Kanye had something to do with him leaving, he clarified that wasn’t the case. “I can never be tired of Kanye. We were talking on the phone the other day and there are just things I’ve been wanting to talk to him about. About me starting my own direction. And he got it because you know, he’s trying to start his new path and trying new things as an artist… We cool.” Soon after, Cudi went on to start his own label, Wicked Awesome Records. 

2014: Cudi’s Frustrations With “Guilt Trip”


After Cudi departed West’s label, West released his 2013 album, Yeezus. The song “Guilt Trip” featured Cudi’s vocals on the outro. This came as a shock to Cudi, who alleged he only found out he was on the track through Twitter. In an interview with Complex, he shared that while he was at first flattered, he wasn’t too happy with it. “Part of me was flattered, like, it’s kind of cool that he thought of me,” he said. “Then I started thinking about it more. It was like, ‘Why not call me and have me come in there and give it? Why underuse me? Why put four bars of vocals to coax my fans into thinking this is a legitimate Kid Cudi feature on this song and it isn’t?”

2016: Kid Cudi And Kanye West Fall Out & Reconcile

HOLLYWOOD – FEBRUARY 10: Kid Cudi performs during the taping of Snoop Dogg’s ÒDogg After Dark,Ó a new weekly variety talk show, at Kress in Hollywood, CA on February 10, 2009. ÒDogg After DarkÓ premieres on Tuesday, February 17th at 9pm ET/PT on MTV. (Photo by Chris Polk/FilmMagic)

In 2016, Kid Cudi took to his Twitter account to send out a barrage of tweets slamming multiple artists, including Kanye West. Drake and Travis Scott are other names that appeared in his tweets. In the tweets, Cudi claimed multiple stars were hating on him. In the same vein, he shared that he was “bout to crush their entire existence.”

I need y’all to know I got so many haters within the industry and these clowns know Im bout to crush their entire existence. I’m the one they worry about cause they know I don’t give a f–k about the corny shit they do. All my youngins out here reppin, Asap Rocky and the whole ASAP family, Travis Scott, SuperDuper Kyle, Audio Push, Hit Boy, etc, I see y’all. And all u jealous chicken hearted s–ts I see you too. I am the culture. I kept silent because I don’t ever wanna come off like some angry hater, but today, not only do I feel fantastic, I’m feelin like taking over. I already have. My tweets apply to who they apply. Ye, Drake, whoever. These n––s don’t give a f–k about me. And they ain’t f–kin’ with me.

West addressed Cudi’s public confrontation. While performing on his Saint Pablo Tour, he shared his hurt concerning the matter. “I am so hurt. I feel so disrespected,” Ye said. “Kid Cudi, we are two Black men in a racist world. Don’t ever mention my name in a bad manner, none of y’all.” A few days later, West addressed the matter again. However, this time, he expressed forgiveness by saying he hoped Cudi was doing well. In November, the two artists reconciled on stage. Kid Cudi joined Kanye West for a performance of “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1” in Sacramento, California.

2017-2018: KIDS SEE GHOSTS


In 2017, West joined Cudi on stage for the latter’s Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’ tour. This was after Ye had a lengthy absence from the public eye due to his mental health. By 2018, West sparked excitement among fans, promising an incoming joint album. The lauded collaborative project was titled Kids See Ghost, and was set to hit the shelves on June 8th.

February 2022: The Pete Davidson Saga

The announcement of Donda 2’s release came with news that Cudi would not be on the album. In a now-deleted Instagram post, West alluded to his decision being made because Cudi was friends with Pete Davidson, who was, at the time Kim Kardashian’s new beau. “Just so everyone knows Cudi will not be on Donda because he’s friends with you know who,” Ye wrote. 

In the comment section, Cudi responded to West, saying: “Too bad I dont wanna be on ur album u f—in dinosaur hahaha. everyone knows ive been the best thing about ur albums since i met u. Ima pray for you brother.” Additionally, Cudi also took to his Twitter account, writing: “We talked weeks ago about this. You’re whack for flipping the script and posting this lie just for a look on the internet. You ain’t no friend. BYE.”


April 2022: A Feature With Pusha T


News surfaced that Cudi and Ye were featured on Pusha T’s album. The track, “Rock N Roll,” led many to believe the pair had reconciled. However, Cudi made it clear that they were not friends.  “Hey! So I know some of you heard about the song I got w Pusha,” he said. “I did this song a year ago when I was still cool w Kanye. I am not cool w that man. He’s not my friend and I only cleared the song for Pusha cuz thats my guy. This is the last song u will hear me on w Kanye.”

August 2022: “It Would Take A Miracle To Be Friends Again”

In an expansive Esquire cover feature, Kid Cudi delved into the breakdown of his connection with Kanye West. He specifically addressed the adverse reactions from West’s fanbase. Moreover, he identified what he perceives as a recurring pattern of behavior from the controversial icon. Despite previous reconciliations after past disagreements, Cudi asserted that this time, their friendship had reached an irreversible end. 

“With all due respect, I’m not Drake, who’s about to take a picture with him next week and be friends again, and their beef is squashed,” Cudi said. “That’s not me. What I say, I mean. I will be done with you. It’s gonna take a motherfucking miracle for me and that man to be friends again. I don’t see it happening.” 

December 2023: Kanye West And Kid Cudi Hug It Out In Las Vegas 

Kid Cudi and Kanye West have buried the hatchet once again. In Las Vegas, at Ye’s livestream event for his Vultures album, the pair were all smiles with each other.  Evidently, this development came as a surprise, especially since Cudi had sworn to cut all ties with West just last year. Nonetheless, this could hopefully lead to new moments for longtime friends and collaborators in the future.

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