Kid Cudi — Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’ Tour

Back & Better Than Ever

Kid Cudi has long been a source of intrigue as one of rap’s self-proclaimed outliers. After all, he lives on an ethereal edge of life that most will never reach.

Sadly, like all humans, Cudi’s peaks do not come without valleys.

“There’s a ragin’ violent storm inside of my heart at all times,” Kid Cudi wrote in a letter to fans before checking himself into treatment for anxiety and depression last October. “I am not at peace.”

Photographer: Emily Ness

The Cleveland native has struggled with anxiety and depression all his life. Songs like, “The Pursuit of Happiness,” “The Soundtrack 2 My Life,” and “The Prayer” contain evidence of these struggles.

“It took me a while to get to this place of commitment, but it is something I have to do for myself, my family, my best friend/daughter and all of you, my fans,” Cudi continued in his letter.

This statement holds a lot of truth in light of the fact that Cudi has long identified as an idealist—nicknaming himself the “Man on the Moon.”

Cudi’s commitment to living in an elevated and enlightened state of mind is truly admirable. At the same time, however, the Earth is a long and hard fall from the moon, which brings forth the question: How can an idealist survive in an unideal world?

Research has shown that self-care, such as meditating, writing, and listening to music helps tremendously. Cudi’s decision to go into treatment was a huge step for him as a family member, a father, a friend, an artist, an activist, and an African American.

Mental health issues impact all races; however, mental health issues impact African Americans more due to racism, prejudice, and economic disparities. According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Services, African Americans are 20 percent more likely to suffer from serious psychological distress than whites. Despite this, few African Americans seek help for mental health issues due to the stigmas surrounding them. According to the Washington Post, African Americans have an easier time talking about drug and alcohol addiction than they do talking about anxiety and depression.

Cudi’s letter last October broke down some of this stigma, and reminded people that behind the music there are real people who create it … people who bleed, cry, and hurt just as their listeners do.

Furthermore, the response to Cudi’s letter from fans to famous people showed a growing awareness and acceptance of the devastating reality of depression.

Shortly after Cudi’s letter went viral, the hashtag #YouGoodMan began trending on Twitter. While tweets containing this hashtag came from people of all backgrounds, the majority of them came from young, black men who finally felt comfortable opening up about their own mental health.

Cudi’s letter last October broke down some of this stigma, and reminded people that behind the music there are real people who create it … people who bleed, cry, and hurt just as their listeners do.

Moreover, celebrities like Wiz Khalifa and Proz Taylor tweeted, “Wishing Kid Cudi much peace love and meditation,” and “Man Kid Cudi’s letter spoke my thoughts for the past 7 years. I’ve known that pain forever. Hope him, myself, & everyone alive finds peace.”

In a touching conclusion to his letter last October, Cudi wrote: “I’ll be back. Stronger. Better. Reborn.”

And today, he is.

On Monday, Nov. 6, Kid Cudi performed at the Myth Night Club.

With no openers, and only one guest, the Man on the Moon captivated the audience in ways that are hard to put into words.

Fans laughed, sang, danced, and cried as Cudi invited them into his ethereal world, performing classics like “Mr. Rager,” “Cudi Zone,” and “Just What I Am.”

In addition to playing the familiar songs that fans love, Cudi played some of his latest music like “Rose Golden,” “Baptised In Fire,” and “By Design.”

With smooth vocals, polished dance moves, and endless smiles, it seemed that Cudi’s aura encompassed the entire building.

There are many ways to get to the top of the mountain (or in this case, the moon) and Cudi’s unwavering resilience shows fans that there is in fact light at the end of the tunnel. He concluded his performance by thanking everyone for coming out and promising to come back again soon.

Photographer: Emily Ness