Best Kid Cudi Songs: 30–1

Kid Cudi’s put out nothing but anthems over the past nine years. He’s one of my favourite artists whose music resonates with countless people. His songs aren’t anything lyrical but they’re special in the way they’re able to generate a psychedelic or personal feeling – plus they’re insanely catchy. At one point Cudi was definitely the hook master in the game. After ranking all his projects, it’s only fair I count down my favourite Cudi tracks, from 30–1. Note that this is only my opinion and your list will most definitely differ from mine.

Honourable Mentions:
34. Heaven at Nite

Album: A Kid Named Cudi

“Heaven at Nite” ticks all the boxes for a Cudi song – guitar-driven beat, catchy hook and uplifting vibe. Though it does get lost in the similarity between other tracks it captures the mixtape era of Kid Cudi.

33. Dat New New

Album: N/A

A non-album track that would have fit perfectly on the A Kid Named Cudi mixtape.

32. The Prayer

Album: A Kid Named Cudi

The slow and sombre “The Prayer” is a classic Cudi song and a fan favourite. Even though I don’t connect with it in the way that others do, it’s still one of Cudi’s best. Plus, I can only choose thirty favourites. It’s impossible to fit in every good song.

31. Cudderisback

Album: N/A

Cudderisback

This loosie track is a hidden gem that shows Cudi on a carefree, upbeat vibe.

Top 30
30. Man on the Moon

Album: A Kid Named Cudi

Kicking off the list, this song represents Cudi the best. “Man on the Moon” is telling you “This is who I am”. Its twinkling beat and sombre tone is one of his signature sounds, a sound that has been incredibly effective through his career in creating a personal connection with the listener.

29. Too Bad I Have to Destroy You Now

Album: Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon

The six-minute “Too Bad” captures Cudi’s space sound the best in the glitching and twinkling production as he touches on his usual topics.

28. GHOST!

Album: Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager

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“GHOST!” normally hits other fans’ top ten, but there’s simply too many good tracks that overshadow it for me, personally. “GHOST!” touches on Cudi’s loneliness in the world and includes a gentle piano-driven beat breakdown towards the end. Just like many Cudi songs, the focus on mental health is very effective alongside the haunting production.

27. Ashin’ Kusher

Album: Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager

“Ashin’ Kusher” features a freestyling, carefree vibe that makes it differ from other Cudi tracks that are usually more lyrically focused.

26. Up Up & Away

Album: Man on the Moon: The End of Day

The closing track to MOTM1 is one of Cudi’s most uplifting and positive songs and in the concept of the album is a brilliant way of closing out the project on a thematic level.

25. Mojo So Dope

Album: Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager

“Mojo So Dope” creates a genius parallel between pessimistic subject matter on the verses and the confidence within the hook. It’s ideal to listen to when you’re torn between two moods.

24. Alive

Album: Man on the Moon: The End of Day

Same formula, different melody. “Alive” has the usual strong hook and unique production.

23. King Wizard

Album: Indicud

King Wizard

Off Cudi’s most underrated album, “King Wizard” is free of any sadness and features Cudi rapping at his best over the skeletal beat.

22. Love.

Album: N/A

“I am happy to be alive.” is a recurring line in this song. Of all the songs where he touches upon his problems, this is the one that tells me that Scott Mescudi really needs help. In fact, it’s even hard to listen to at times knowing how troubled he must’ve been while writing and recording it.

21. Satellite Flight

Album: Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon

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“Satellite Flight” feels like a movie in song-form. The violin-led instrumental makes it a unique offering in Cudi’s catalogue while simultaneously possessing a throwback feel to MOTM1.

20. Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven

Album: Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven

This album did not appeal to me in the slightest, but its title track is an anomaly. The song is the most despairing and melancholic track I’ve heard by Kid Cudi. Just like “Love.”, Cudi sounds incredibly troubled and you are able to feel his pain (“I’m all smiles”). It’s a statement of how people may appear fine on the outside but can be going through some tough times inside their head.

19. Scott Mescudi vs. The World (ft. CeeLo Green)

Album: Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager

The opening track to MOTMII is luscious and progressive, setting up the album in the best way possible. The song matches the “journey to the moon” theme as it sounds like you are travelling somewhere.

18. Down & Out

Album: A Kid Named Cudi

“Down & Out” personifies the OutKast influence on Cudi as it uses the beat to “Chonkyfire” by the legendary duo. Cudi makes the song his own by adding his usual melodic spin on the beat, mixing in decent rapping along with it.

17. Marijuana

Album: Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager

The psychedelic hook and pace of the piano on “Marijuana” easily makes it one of Cudi’s best tracks to close your eyes and zone out to.

16. Day ‘N’ Nite

Album: Man on the Moon: The End of Day

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“Day ‘N’ Nite” remains the song that propelled Cudi to stardom, and is still his biggest hit to date. The sounds incorporated in the production are fundamental to the space theme that Cudi crafted early in his career. It may seem pleasant on the surface but the lyrics are dark as always (“Day and night / I toss and turn, I keep stress in my mind, mind / I look for peace but see I don’t attain.”)

 15. Solo Dolo

Album: Man on the Moon: The End of Day

Cudi’s most haunting song, “Solo Dolo”, is a brilliantly-crafted representation of Cudi’s mental state. The beat makes me imagine a slowed down brain, a potential side effect of depression. Cudi’s performance, lyrics and delivery is a cry for help that connects with the mind (“Listen good, I don’t need, nobody / This is what you feel are the sounds of insanity / Hoping what I hear loops itself to finish me / No, I won’t be afraid”)

14. Sky Might Fall

Album: Man on the Moon: The End of Day

Similar to “Heart of a Lion”, “Sky Might Fall” is all about fearing nothing. It’s produced by Kanye West, who provides the synth-heavy production. Together they create one of the most uplifting alternative hip hop songs the genre has seen.

13. Unfuckwittable

Album: Indicud

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Indicud features Cudi’s most successfully experimental and unique work. “Unfuckwittable” is one of many abrasive yet uplifting songs on the album, led by the whirring, trippy beat and charisma in the delivery on the hook. It’s not an easy song to like because of its strangeness but that’s what enables it to stand out from the crowd.

12. Erase Me (ft. Kanye West)

Album: Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager

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This might be a corny, mainstream rap rock song to many, but its hook is too catchy to ignore and it includes entertaining performances and subject matter from both Cudi and Kanye. There’s many songs listed before “Erase Me” that are better-crafted, however the infectiousness of “Erase Me” enables me to place it this high as I am listen to it at any time, unlike a “Sky Might Fall” where you need to be in a particular mood.

11. Teleport 2 Me, Jamie

Album: WZRD

Teleport 2 Me Jamie

Kid Cudi has rarely made “love songs”, so one would wonder whether he’s capable of crafting a sentimental song that is emotionally effective. “Teleport 2 Me, Jamie” is successful in creating that. The driving force of the track is Cudi’s strong vocal performance while he sings directly to someone rather than not targeting his words to anyone.

10. Heart of a Lion

Album: Man on the Moon: The End of Day

“Heart of a Lion” is a spacey anthem that encourages self-confidence. Cudi highlights his own problems in the verses but also states that he’s going to overcome all his problems through resilience and mental strength.

9. REVOFEV

Album: Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager

Structurally there’s not much to “REVOFEV” besides a two short verses. That ends up becoming the song’s strength because the words have intent (“Let go, life does get tough / No need to stress, hold you back too much”).

8. Balmain Jeans (ft. Raphael Saadiq)

Album: Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon

“Balmain Jeans” is a sensual, atmospheric offering led by Cudi’s gentle delivery and Raphael Saadiq’s contrasting style of singing. It’s the most peaceful track of Cudi’s catalogue and one of my favourites.

7. Hero (ft. Skylar Grey)

Album: Need for Speed: Soundtrack

I’ve never heard this one ever be discussed when it comes to Cudi’s best songs. It’s hard to describe why it’s in my top ten, there’s just something about it. Perhaps it’s because it’s uplifting, and Skylar Grey’s part in the second half is a nice touch as Cudi rarely collaborates with other artists.

6. Immortal

Album: Indicud

Immortal

“Immortal” feels like the well-needed unofficial sequel to “Heart of a Lion” (“I got my lion heart and electric flowing through my veins”). To me it’s even more uplifting and powerful than its predecessor because it is completely free of the tensions that Cudi scatters throughout his more positive songs. No other Cudi song possesses this sort of energy.

5. Mr. Rager

Album: Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager

“Mr. Rager” kicks off my top 5 favourite Kid Cudi songs. It’s his most gloomy song and most powerful performances when it comes to the hook. There’s a feel about the song where it’s as if Cudi is looking back as he travels away from the world. Capturing his sadness is something he has always done, but not in the surreal way of “Mr. Rager”.

4. Pursuit of Happiness

Album: Man on the Moon: The End of Day

Pursuit of Happiness

No Best of Cudi list is complete without “Pursuit of Happiness” being in the top 5. It captures Cudi’s quest for a happy life in the most melodic way possible.

3. Creepers

Album: Cruel Summer

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“Creepers” was Kid Cudi’s only major contribution to the GOOD Music compilation album. Its placement is strange, because it is a very special song. The vocal adlibs, skittering beat and rapping combine to appeal to me on another level to other Cudi songs. I’m able to listen to it whenever I want no matter the mood. There’s just a unique charm to it.

2. Just What I Am (ft. King Chip)

Album: Indicud

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I disliked this song when I first heard it. Once I revisited it in the album, it instantly clicked with me. The slow, psychedelic synths put my mind in another world, and the two verses by King Chip and Cudi are free of any problems. The subject matter of being a sinner but just being what God made is an intriguing angle to me. No matter how you sin, God will be forgiving as you are His creation. But all that aside, what really resonated with me was the hook. The way Cudi’s voice delivers the line “I wanna get hiighh yahh” is on its own level of infectiousness to any other Cudi hook. “Just What I Am” is in its own realm of brilliance.

1. Soundtrack 2 My Life

Album: Man on the Moon: The End of Day

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“I got 99 problems, and they all bitches / Wish I was Jigga man, carefree living” is how Cudi kicks off the best song of his career – on a humorous level. This humour doesn’t last long, because the song is all about introducing you to what’s going on in the life of Scott Mescudi. It features the best verses Cudi’s ever laid down, touching upon the death of his dad (“Since my father died, I ain’t been right since”), his drug addiction, suicide, escapism and aspirations for the future. Amongst all of that is the smooth and catchy hook, showcasing the uniqueness in Cudi’s vocals as a capable singer. No one else sounds like Cudi sounds like on a hook.

[Hook]
I’ve got some issues that nobody can see
And all of these emotions are pouring out of me
I bring them to the light for you – it’s only right
This is the soundtrack to my life, the soundtrack to my life

It’s a strange song. Cudi must’ve been the first hip hop artist to rap about such depressing topics while surrounding it by a very enjoyable song. This happens very often in modern day rap (case in point, Future).

Only things that calm me down, pussy and some Cali trees
And I get both, never truly satisfied
I am happy, that’s just the saddest lie

“Soundtrack 2 My Life” was put out in 2009. Fast forward to 2017 and Cudi is still rapping about the same issues. I hope that he manages to recover one day, but it’s surprising how such a depressed man used music as a way to let his feelings out in such creative ways. So many things make up this song, which is what makes it Kid Cudi’s best song.

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