On Wednesday, Kid Cudi published a Meek Mill-style Twitter rant, targeting reigning rap royalty Kanye West and Drake.
In a series of 140 characters from the other side of hip-hop relevancy, Cudi went in: “I need yall to know I got so many haters within the industry and these clowns know I’m bout to crush their entire existance [sic].” Having gotten his 1.41 million followers’ attention, the rapper continued, “Everyone thinks they’re soooo great. Talkin top 5 and be having 30 people write songs for them…The fake ones wont be lasting too much longer.”
Cudi, whose psychedelic, introspective stylings introduced emo rhymes to rap music long before Drake first got his heart broken at a Hooters, also gave a shoutout to the lyricists who speak to his legacy: “All my youngins out here reppin, Asap Rocky and the whole ASAP family, Travis Scott, SuperDuper Kyle, Audio Push, Hit Boy, etc, I see yall”. In a clickbait culture quick to cry “subtle shade,” Cudi made it clear that he’s not afraid to name names, “My tweets apply to who they apply. Ye, Drake, whoever. These niggas dont give a fuck about me. And they aint fuckin with me…Ive been loyal to those who haven’t been to me and that ends now. Now im your threat.”
The rapper’s ill-advised tirade comes at a crucial time for both of the implicated stars. Drake has been busy trying to gaslight Rihanna into admitting that they’re dating, while Kanye is on a serious mission to outfit the entire world in thigh-high plastic PVC. In other words, no one has time for this. Plus, it’s been a rough patch for Kanye professionally, with his nepotistic decision to add Tyga to the G.O.O.D. Music roster leaving fans wondering if Harry Styles will be the next label signee.
Kid Cudi’s forceful rant was as raw as it was unexpected. Just a few months ago, Cudi raved about his experience working with Yeezy on The Life of Pablo’s “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1” and “Waves.” He told Billboard, “Whatever we were dealing with, it was a beautiful thing to clear the air about. I’m really happy to be back working with my friends.” The duo may have been “dealing with” Kid Cudi’s 2013 decision to leave West’s label, G.O.O.D. Music. At the time, Kid Cudi took pains to stress that the conscious uncoupling was entirely amicable, and despite his decision to head in a new creative direction, West was his “big brother forever.”
By the looks of this Tweet-storm, the rappers’ TLOP reconciliation was short-lived. Alternatively, Cudi is taking a play from his controversial bro’s playbook by drumming up some free hype for his new 18-track album, due out later this month. Unlike Kanye, Kid Cudi could use all the press he can get—his last offering, 2015’s Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven, which was inexplicably inspired by the 1990s indie music scene and sampled the voices of Beavis and Butt-Head, was also the worst-received album of his career.
But Cudi’s most buzzworthy Twitter accusation is aimed at a rapper with whom he has no public beef whatsoever. The “Day ‘N’ Nite” artist is clearly mocking Drake for using songwriters, an allegation that we’ve heard before. After Meek Mill famously took these ghostwriter rumors to Twitter, Drake went as far as admitting to music blog The Fader that music “can be a collaborative process.” Songwriters aside, Drake was the undisputed winner of that summer social media beef, quickly churning out two diss tracks that left Mill shaking and hiding under a pile of Nicki Minaj’s concert wigs. But perhaps the most persuasive argument in Drake’s favor was his subsequent verse on Rihanna’s dancehall hit, “Work.” If Drake really had 30 ghostwriters on his payroll, wouldn’t he have come up with a better line than “If you had a twin, I would still choose you”?
Over the past decade, Cudi’s once-promising career has dwindled, as his style—atmospheric, electronic-inspired introspection—has reinvigorated the rap world. Newer artists like Chance the Rapper have specifically cited Cudi, and you can hear his influence everywhere from Travis Scott to Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan. Given Cudi’s recent resuscitation as a hip-hop elder, it follows that he’s finally gained the confidence to call out two of hip-hop’s biggest names. Still, Cudi hardly has the career or the clout to go after Yeezus and the 6 God—it’s only a matter of time before one of the powerful rappers claps back.