He used to make funny faces in the mirror and rap to himself growing up. Weird? Maybe, but consider it practice for the place Scott "Kid Cudi" Mescudi finds himself now. The rapper from Cleveland quit a restaurant job in his hometown of Shaker Heights after his boss encouraged him to leave Ohio and carve his lane in the entertainment industry. By then, Cudi was already rapping on the local circuit, and when he decided to drop out of college after his freshman year, he moved to New York City on October 7, 2004. In his pocket? A demo tape and $500 cash.
NYC was a new beginning for Cudi. A loner in a city where he didn't know anyone, Cudi would walk aimlessly through Times Square and go to the movies by himself. His uncle, the last sibling of Cudi's father who died of cancer when he was 11, allowed him to stay in his South Bronx apartment. Cudi slept on a couch while juggling retail jobs at stores like American Apparel and A Bathing Ape and clocking long hours at the recording studio every night with his managers Plain Pat and Emile. (In 2008, Cudi and his partners started the indie label Dream On.) Cudi fell into the typical MC grind until tragedy struck in 2006: His uncle suffered the same fate as Cudi's father and passed away. Cudi went back to Cleveland for the funeral in a emotional funk which inspired "Day N Nite"-the song that would change his life forever. Recorded in a pitch-black room, Cudi put his heart into the gloomy pop-hit. After posting it on his MySpace, the song started racking up hits and eventually caught the attention of A-Trak, Kanye West's former tour DJ.
A-Trak fell in love with song, and Cudi ended up signing a single deal on the DJ's "Fool's Gold" label. A critically-acclaimed mixtape, presented by Pat and Emile and co-branded with NYC streetwear label 10 Deep called "A KiD Named CuDi" was the MC's first full body of work, and released on July 17, 2008 . Things were looking up, but the game truly changed when A-Trak played "Day N Nite" at Kanye West's "Stronger" premiere party. West loved the song and saw enough potential in Cudi that he flew him out to Hawaii to do reference hooks for Jay-Z's 'The Blueprint 3.' Soon, 'Ye and Cudi started work on Kanye's '808s & Heartbreak' album. Cudi's sing-songy, eclectic style was the perfect match for '808s,' and the up-and-comer ended up writing four songs ("Heartless," "Paranoid," "Welcome To Heartbreak," and "Robocop"). Before long, the kid from Cleveland was beginning to creep into the mainstream. With hype (and Kanye) behind him and a Billboard hit with "Day N Nite," Cudi inked a deal with Kanye's G.O.O.D music label. Soon after, he parlayed that into a major deal with Universal Motown.
And now, the reception for Cudi's debut, 'Man On The Moon: The End Of Day,' has reached a fever pitch. Universal Motown President Sylvia Rhone has called Cudi a "game-changer in hip-hop" and music fans worldwide are buzzing about the album. And Cudi delivers-the cinematic album that features production from Emile, Plain Pat, RATATAT, and MGMT, and Kanye West will take listeners through the journey of Scott Mescudi's dreams, nightmares, and unique views on the world.
Since his release, which garnered more the 100K copies first week, Cudi has been nominated for Best New Artist for the 2009 BET Awards, Best New Artist for 2009 MTV Awards and Breakout Artist for the 2009 American Music Awards before being nominated for 3 Grammy's Awards from his debut album. He has appeared on Late Night With David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live and Carson Daly and become a fashion icon appearing on the pages of GQ, Flaunt, Nylon, Marie Claire, and Glamour with his signature "skinny" jean and Nike sneakers.