The 30 Biggest Moments of Kid Cudi’s Career

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We’ve been covering Kid Cudi’s career since the beginning when we launched this blog 5 years ago and to celebrate we’re taking a look back at some of the biggest moments of his career.

From the the release of his first EP and Mixtape in 2008 to his next 3 solo albums and the start of his film career, Kid Cudi continues to be one of the biggest stars in the game. Take a journey through Kid Cudi history with us from start to finish as we highlight the biggest moments of his career from 2008 to 2013. 

"Day 'n' Nite" Released - February, 2008

Written in 2006 and slowly making its way around the web as early as 2007, Day ‘n’ Nite was officially released as a single in February of 2008 as part of Kid Cudi’s “Day ‘n’ NIte” EP. The Dot Da Genius produced hit continued to be a breakout single well into 2009 when it peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, as well as #2 in the UK thanks to the Crookers remix.

“Day ‘n’ Nite” remains one of Kid Cudi’s biggest singles to date having gone double platinum in the U.S. with digital sales north of 2.8 million. It would go on to pave the way for what would be the booming start to Kid Cudi’s career and appear on both his “A Kid Named Cudi” mixtape and debut album “Man on the Moon: The End of Day”.

"A Kid Named Cudi" Mixtape Released
July, 2008

Kid Cudi’s first (and only) mixtape established him as a rising star in hip-hop gaining him recognition on various fronts from his peers and media outlets like XXL, URB and Complex Magazine. Cudi worked closely with managers Plain Pat and Emile to release the mixtape with the clothing brand 10 Deep in the Summer of 2008. That same Summer, “A Kid Named Cudi” caught the attention of Kanye West (who at the time was managed by Plain Pat) leading him to invite Cudi to record in Hawaii with him and inevitably sign with his G.O.O.D. Music label later that year.

Any notions of “one hit wonder” would start to seem silly with the release of his mixtape “A Kid Named Cudi” as stand out tracks like “Man on the Moon”, “The Prayer” and “Heaven at Nite” would become fan favourites. To this day all three songs are still regarded as some of the best songs in Kid Cudi’s catalogue.

Records With Kanye West for 808's & Heartbreak
September 2008

With “Day ‘n’ Nite” and “A Kid Named Cudi” under his belt, Kanye West invited Kid Cudi to Hawaii to record for what would later become Jay-Z’s “The Blueprint 3″. That would only serve to be the beginning as Cudi would continue to record with Kanye for his next album “808′s & Heartbreak”. Cudi’s writing credits on the album include “Heartless”, “Welcome To Heartbreak”, “Paranoid” and “RoboCop” with many crediting Cudi’s singsong style as part of the inspiration for Kanye’s album. Kanye even went on record to say that him and Cudi are “the originators of the style, kinda like what Alexander McQueen is to fashion. Everything else is just Zara and H&M.”

Kid Cudi Joins G.O.O.D. Music - October, 2008

With the foundation in place for the start of a promising career, Kid Cudi got the co-sign most rappers dreamed about when he signed to Kanye West’s label G.O.O.D. Music in the Fall of 2008. Cudi would join the likes of Common, John Legend and another up and coming rapper in Big Sean on the roster. Kanye always spoke highly of Kid Cudi saying “Kid Cudi is my personal favorite artist in the world right now. His whole take on the game is just unfiltered, uncensored artistry.”

Kid Cudi Cast in "How To Make it In America"
2009 - 2011

Kid Cudi’s first break in acting would come in the form of his role as Domingo Dean in the HBO comedy series “How to Make it In America”. Cudi was cast in the show in early 2009 with the first season premiering the following January and the second in September, 2011.

The second season of “How To Make It In America” would prove to be it’s last as HBO cancelled the show in favor of brining in new comedies for 2012. It wouldn’t be Cudi’s last role in TV as he would later lend his voice to episodes of “The Cleveland Show” and act in “One Tree Hill” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”.

“The fact that everybody is finally getting to see me act and stuff is part of my dream coming true. It’s just really dope, and people could see me be silly. My album was so deep and serious, and that was just me showing my dark side… Acting is therapeutic — just being able to pretend to be somebody else for a little bit, it’s dope.”

WATCH: Kid Cudi’s 10 Best Scenes From How To Make It In America Season 2

The Great Hangover Tour with Asher Roth
Summer, 2009

With his debut album still months away, Kid Cudi and Asher Roth set off for the first tours of their young careers in the Summer of 2009 as they co-headlined “The Great Hangover Tour”. The two first met during the shoot for XXL Magazine’s “Freshman Class” in 2008 and had since become label mates with Universal Motown. The tour made stops in major cities around the US during it’s 20 dates in July and August including New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Cudi’s hometown of Cleveland.

“Me and Asher were at a point in our careers where we’re definitely right there, and when you’re a new artist, and you have the opportunity to do your own tour, you definitely want to rock with somebody that you have a rapport with,”

Complex Magazine Covers (2009-2013)

Over the last 5 years Kid Cudi has graced the cover of Complex Magazine every year (2009 – Where The Wild Things Are, 2010 – Mr. Rager, 2011 – Putting The Pieces Together, 2012 – In G.O.O.D. We Trust, 2013 – Born To Die) including a digital cover for the release of the WZRD album in 2012.

Each album release coincided with a cover to share his story over the past year from his entry into the scene in 2008 and 2009, his dark and hectic 2010 and an eye opening 2011. When it comes to a good story, Kid Cudi was never a boring subject and was always willing and ready to share his most personal thoughts and feelings.

READ: A History of Kid Cudi’s Magazine Covers

"Man on the Moon: The End of Day" Released
Sept. 15, 2009

Kid Cudi’s major label debut was delayed by a month but it was well worth the wait. The album would receive critical acclaim from various media outlets as it went on to sell a respectable 104,000 records in its first week, good for the #4 spot on the Billboard 200 charts. Cudi continued to work heavily with Plain Pat and Emile as the majority of “The End of Day” was produced by the two with Kanye West providing executive production on his debut album.

People Magazine would rate the album 4/4 stars crediting Cudi with making “one of the most ambitious hip hop debuts since College Dropout”. “Man on the Moon: The End of Day” is arguably his best album released to date and a defining moment in his catalogue with some of Kid Cudi’s biggest songs included in its release like “Soundtrack 2 My Life” and “Pursuit of Happiness”.

"Pursuit of Happiness" Released
September 15, 2009

The argument can be made over which song between “Soundtrack 2 My Life” and “Pursuit of Happiness” is the best to come out of Cudi’s first album, but its the latter that has easily become one of his biggest songs to date. The collaboration between Kid Cudi, MGMT and Ratatat has proven to be a staple of Cudi’s live show as he ends every copncert with a performance of the song.

The Steve Aoki remix took the songs popularity to a new level as “Pursuit of Happiness” was used in commercials for Vitamin Water and featured in the movie soundtrack to Project X. “Pursuit of Happiness” also become Cudi’s second song to go Platinum selling it’s 1 millionth download in the US.. in 2011

BAPE T-Shirt Colloborations (2009-2010)

Kid Cudi has always been recognized as one of the most stylish rappers in the game so it’s no surprise that in the span of two years he would go on to release three t-shirts with renowned clothing brand A Bathing Ape.

In 2009, prior to the release of his debut album, the Kid Cudi x Milo tee was the first released by BAPE in conjunction with Cudi. The release of two new t-shirts would follow in 2010 with the Kid Cudi x Milo Party and Rager T-shirts. Stock was limited for all three releases making it one of the rarest Kid Cudi items out there.

Performs with Jay-Z at Madison Square Garden
October, 2009

It took almost a full year for everything to come to fruition but on September 11, 2009 Cudi received placement on Jay-Z album “The Blueprint 3″ singing the hook for “Already Home”. In October of the same year Jay-Z would invite Cudi on stage to perform in front of a sold out crowd at Madison Square Garden in NYC making it the biggest performance of his young career.

“I recorded these vocals last summer when I didn’t have no job and I was still grinding, I didn’t have a deal, actually, and those are the same vocals. So the fact that I did it a year ago and he used it which he could have easily had somebody else do it and I could have got writer’s credit, but he kept me on there and that’s really dope. It really bugged me out — it’s bugged man.

First Grammy Nominations - December, 2009

The upward trend of Kid Cudi’s 2009 continued in December when he was nominated for three Grammy awards. Cudi received nominations for “Best Rap Solo Performance” and “Best Rap Song” for “Day ‘n’ Nite” and finally “Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group” for ‘”Make Her Say” Feat Common and Kanye West. All though he would ultimately go on to not win in either of the 3 categories it wouldn’t be his last chance at a Grammy.

Converse "3 Artists 1 Song" Series - July 2010

A long time supporter of Converse, Cudi has been rocking Chuck Taylor’s on stage since 2009 so it was no surprise the brand tapped Cudi to participate in there “3 Artists 1 Song” series in 2010. Along with Rostam Batmanglij of Vampire Weekend and Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast, the trio recorded the summer anthem for the series titled “All Summer”. They would go on to film a music video for Converse as well as receive their own profiles with the brand and perform a special show together in Brooklyn for the songs release.

G.O.O.D. Friday Music Series - Fall 2010

With the hype growing rapidly for Kanye West’s 5th studio album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”, Kanye started the G.O.O.D. Friday series by releasing a new song every Friday from the end of August to November. Included in the releases was Kid Cudi’s contribution on three tracks: Christian Dior Denim Flow, G.O.O.D. Friday and The Joy.

G.O.O.D. Music and Kanye West dominated the news cycle for weeks thanks to these releases with “Christian Dior Denim Flow” serving as one of the highlights from the series of 15 songs.

"Man on The Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager" Released - November, 2010

After Cudi released his debut album he set his sights on his follow up effort to feature more collaborations under the title “Cudder & the Revolution of Evolution”. The album was ultimately changed to what we know it as today as “Man on The Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager”.

Cudi deemed the album dark by nature saying “instead of bringing you into my dreams like my first album, I’m bringing you into my reality. This project will focus on many dark, fun, and ignorant moments in my life since I’ve been kid cudi in a exciting and cinematic nature continuing the MOTM theme.”

The Legend of Mr. Rager would go on to be Cudi’s highest selling album in its first week with 169,798 copies sold, debuting at #1 on the Billboard Rap/Hip-Hop charts. Fan favorite songs like “REVOFEV”, “Mr. Rager”, and “Mojo So Dope” we’re the result of the new reality Kid Cudi was trying bring into our world.

"Mr. Rager" Single & Music Video - November, 2010

The title track to Kid Cudi’s second album was a game changer for what was expected to be his second album. After recording the song Cudi’s vision for his second album changed from fun and collaborative (Cudder) to the dark side of his life and the experience he was going through during that time. Mr. Rager is easily one of the best songs to come from “Man on the Moon II” and overall one of the signature tracks from Cudi’s catalogue.

“This song is about someone who is fed up with reality, who looks for thrills and excitement by any means. It’s just kind of how I was feeling at that point. I was just so angry. Doing coke revived me, and knowing I was so close to death every time intrigued me. I liked the thought of it.”

It took close to a year before a video for a song was released in September of 2011 but it was worth the wait. Along with the release of Kid Cudi’s collaboration jacket with Surface to Air, the brands founder Jérémie Rozan directs the six minute long video as Cudi battles himself in a brutal and vicious brawl.

"Man on the Moon: The End of Day" Certified Gold - December, 2010

Over a year later after it’s release in September, 2009, Kid Cudi’s debut album “Man on the Moon: The End of Day” would be certified Gold selling over 500,000 copies in the US. “The Legend of Mr. Rager” would follow suit in the Summer of 2012 as it too would go Gold selling over 500,000 records to date.

Records "No One Believes Me" for Fright Night Film - August, 2011

Kid Cudi’s first foray into film wasn’t in acting but in the form of his contribution to the soundtrack for the remake of the 1985 movie “Fright Night”. Produced by Cudi and Dot Da Genius, the song was the first rock release from the duo and a promising sign of things to come from the recently formed “WZRD” group. Cudi’s contribution to the “Fright Night” soundtrack wouldn’t serve to be his last as in 2012 he also recorded “The Ruler & The Killer” for new “The Hunger Games” movie.

Surface to Air Jacket Released
September, 2011

Kid Cudi teased his collaboration with Surface to Air in February of 2011 after he rocked an all red jacket in the “All of the Lights” music video. Months later his jacket designed for Surface to Air was finally released to retail in two different versions retailing for $1,200: “Fire Jacket” and “Champ Jacket”. The limited edition jackets become the biggest fashion release of Cudi’s career and once again cemented him as one of rap’s most stylish artists.

I told Aldridge (lead designer) that I wanted to make a jacket that was a cross between ‘Thriller’ and Tron. I love the style of the Surface to Air jackets already, so I was like, “I want you to keep the same cut, very European cut, and that style, that motorcycle style, but I wanted to have a futuristic twist to it and I wanted to have that ‘Thriller’ edge to it, that iconic look.

MANIAC Short Film Released - October, 2011

Kid Cudi first teased the release of the short film for “MANIAC” in early November before his second album was even released. It would take almost a full year later for the Shia Labeouf directed short film to be released in 2011 on Halloween. All though it has no direct tie to the song, MANIAC is a short film inspired by the song while the music video carries no reference to the songs content.

Kid Cudi Wins Grammy for "All of The Lights"
February, 2012

After receiving his first Grammy nominations in 2010, Cudi received a nomination three more times for the 2012 Grammy’s thanks to his appearance on Kanye West’s “All of the Lights”. This time around Cudi would win a Grammy for “Best Rap Song” and “Best Rap/Sung Collaboration” giving him his first Grammy awards of his career.

"WZRD" Album Released - February 28, 2012

Always a multi faceted artist, Kid Cudi decided to expand his repertoire by forming a rock group in 2011with Dot Da Genius called “WZRD”. Kid Cudi’s music has always consisted of a wide range of styles while staying true to the “Kid Cudi sound” and WZRD was no different. With the album entirely produced by the duo, songs like “Teleport 2 Me” and “Upper Room” feel as if they could have been on any of Cudi’s previous albums while exploring the new sound WZRD was trying to create. The self-titled debut album would go on to sell over 66,000 copies in its first week giving Cudi yet another top 5 debut.

Cruel Summer Film - May, 2012

Kanye West’s 30 minute film Cruel Summer made it’s premier on a unique seven screen theater set-up in a giant tent pyramid during the Cannes Film Festival. The film features Kid Cudi playing the main role of a car thief with the soundtrack drawing from the G.O.O.D. Music compilation album of the same name. The film was never released to the public due to its unique nature but this would be the kick off to Cudi’s soon to be booming film career as he would go on to shoot three more films to end 2012.

Directs First Music Video for "Just What I Am"
September, 2012

The first single from Kid Cudi’s forthcoming album would also serve as the first music video he would ever direct himself. “Just What I Am” featuring King Chip was filmed in LA as Cudi made his directorial debut by also inviting fans to participate in the shoot, another first for his career.

Cudi would go on to also direct a music video for “King Wizard” from INDICUD in the months leading up to the albums release. Both videos were framed inside a baroque frame as Cudi described his music as art “so it will be presented as such: Art in Motion”.

Gallery: The 10 Best GIF’s From The “Just What I Am” Music Video

Kid Cudi Cast in Need For Speed - 2013

Kid Cudi’s acting resume has quietly been building up the past 4 years with his role in “How To Make It In America”, “Cruel Summer” as well indie comedies “Goodbye World” and “Two Night Stand”. Now he’s taking it to the next level with the film adaptation of the video game franchise “Need For Speed”.

Cudi was cast in early 2013 and finished filming the film in the Summer with Need For Speed set to be his biggest acting role to date. He plays the role of Benny, a member in “Breaking Bad” star Aaron Paul’s crew as they race to clear Paul’s name and seek revenge. “Need For Speed” is slated for a world wide release on March 14, 2014 making it the first film to be distributed in his career.

Kid Cudi Leaves G.O.O.D. Music - April, 2013

Just prior to the release of his 4th studio album “INDICUD”, Kid Cudi dropped what can only be considered a bombshell with the news that he was leaving G.O.O.D. Music after 5 years. Cudi made the announcement on Power 106 LA saying the decision was based on the fact he wanted to focus on his newly launched label Wicked Awesome Records as well as King Chip. The decision was a surprise to many people but it’s one Cudi had been contemplating for 6 months prior when he had a discussion with Jay-Z about moving on from the label. Cudi’s relationship with G.O.O.D. Music hasn’t faltered saying “This is just from a business standpoint. There’s no beef with anyone on the label. It’s all love”.

Kid Cudi Releases "INDICUD" - April 16, 2013

After releasing the rock album “WZRD” with Dot Da Genius in 2012, the hype for Kid Cudi’s next rap album was growing rapidly when it was announced in the Spring. Rumors of collaborations with everyone from Pusha T, Ratatat, ASAP Rocky and Michael Bolton started to swirl. Cudi described the album as his version of Dr. Dre’s The Chronic 2001 saying “some songs I’ll produce, others I’ll feature &/or play songwriter”.

The album would feature a slew of artists including Kendrick Lamar on “Solo Dolo Part II”, RZA on “Beez” and Too $hort on “Girls”. Standout tracks from the album include the King Chip featured “Just What I Am”, “Immortal”, as well as “Red Eye” featuring Haim; a song where we only hear brief vocals from Cudi himself. INDICUD was entirely produced by Cudi showcasing his ability to not only just rap but produced the beats to fit his unique style of music.

"Goodbye World" Film Debut - June, 2013

With Kid Cudi getting his first shot at acting with the HBO comedy “How to Make it In America” it was inevitable he would look to the next step and begin acting in films. “Goodbye World” began filming in the Summer of 2012 and would become his first feature length film released when it made its world premiere at the L.A. Film Festival on June 15, 2013. “Goodbye World” stars Adrian Grenier and Mark Webber and is set to release in theaters in the US in Spring 2014.

When a mysterious cyber-attack cripples civilization, a group of old college friends and lovers retreat to a remote country home, where they must cope with an uncertain future while navigating the minefield of their shared past.

Kid Cudi Headlines Rock The Bells
September, 2013

Kid Cudi’s status as one of hip-hop’s biggest stars was further solidified this year when he was announced as one of the headliners for the 2013 edition of Rock The Bells. As the rap music festival celebrated their 10th anniversary, Cudi joined the likes of Rakim, Wu-Tang Clan, Common, Bone Thugs & Harmony, Juicy J and Tyler The Creator during the festivals run in the Summer.

2013 Cud Life Tour - September, 2013

Embarking on his first tour in the past 3 years, Kid Cudi envisioned something much bigger than before as he looked to take his stage presence and visuals to the next level. Spanning two months and 25 cities in September and October, the 2013 edition of the Cud Life Tour was a memorable one. Cudi would take to his moon themed stage in what’s officially called the “Satellite Academy Space Suit” designed by noted Hollywood costume designer Jose Hernandez. Speaking to Complex magazine he tells them the moon man visual has “always been metaphorical, but coming up with the suit idea just hit me”.

Gallery: Complex’s In-Depth Look at Kid Cudi’s Custom Space Suit

The Future

What does 2014 hold for Kid Cudi? With the final chapter in the “Man on the Moon” trilogy set for 2015, Cudi is planning to release a prelude EP in early 2014 ahead of the albums release titled “KiD CuDi presents Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon”. Cudi says the new EP will connect the storyline from his last album, INDICUD, to Man on the Moon III and close the book on what many fans expect to be one of the defining albums of his career.

As far as acting is concerned, “Need For Speed” (March) and “Goodbye World” (Spring) will both see their US releases in 2014. Kid Cudi has also filmed a role in the indie comedy “Two Night Stand” which is expected to be released next year as well.

If we’ve learned anything about Kid Cudi over the past 5 years its that he is confined by no limits and we’re sure 2014 will be full of surprises and new career defining milestones.

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