What would Kanye do after he releases a new album just last week? Drop another album, of course. However, this time it's in collaboration with longtime pal and former label mate, Kid Cudi. Together they form the duo known as Kids See Ghosts (much like how Kanye x JAY-Z was Watch the Throne with an album of the same name back in 2011). Though they had a very minor beef just a few years ago, it's apparent through this new record that they quickly patched that up and now have a bond that is stronger than ever. A brotherly bond. So what's the better album: ye or Kids See Ghosts? The answer is the latter.
Ghosts doesn't really feel like a Kanye x Cudi album. What it actually feels like is a Cudi album with a huge helping hand from West. In fact, Ghosts could very much be the Man on the Moon 3 fans have been asking for for years. It's definitely a worthy placeholder for it since Cudi himself confirmed MOTM3 was never happening. It contains major elements from Cudi's first two albums and once Ghosts plays we're suddenly transported back to the years 2009-10, in which he and West were both at their peaks. Cudi was coasting from MOTM1 to MOTM2 while West was preparing his masterpiece, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, for all the world to hear. The sounds of Ghosts brings us back to the days where emo rap was this new thing that we were all here for because Cudi made it cool. Sure, ye was kind of an emo album, but it wasn't the same as Cudi's kind of emo that he introduced us to nearly a decade ago.
The nostalgia and lyrical content of this album are some of the reasons why it's so great. Artists have tried to recreate a sound they were once known for and failed miserably, but not these two. They somehow crafted this MOTM-like record, but still made it sound like it belonged in the year 2018. West rapped about mental health effectively on ye, but it really made a stronger impact when he partnered with Cudi to touch on the same exact subjects. It's as if Cudi is now the master and West is the student. At least when it comes to being emo and it melds perfectly for these two. The other part of why Ghosts works so well is definitely the production value. It's exceptionally well-produced not only by the core duo, but also by Cudi's longtime producers Dot da Genius and Plain Pat, who meticulously made sure that this album stood out from the rest. Also, see if you can point out which song has Andre 3000 as a credited producer (Hint: it's track 2).
We get "old" Cudi on "4th Dimension" where he spits "Such a lost boy, caught up in the darkest I had / What's the cost, boy? Losin' everything that I had" in his classic rhythm and cadence that no one else could perfect. Another standout track is "Reborn", which contains a significant amount of positivity and urges us all to keep moving forward and not to dwell on our pasts. It was a bonus for fans to get a last-minute, part two of West's "Ghost Town" from ye (originally supposed to be just on this album) with "Freeee", which keeps the same theme of loving yourself and doing whatever the fuck you want. It's almost just as good as part one, but still fits in with the record. Another cool Easter egg was hearing Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) not only getting a guest verse, but also being the first one on the namesake track to say the name of the album. Lastly, on one of the best songs on Ghosts, the Kurt Cobain-sampled "Cudi Montage", we get to hear words sang by Mr. Hudson, who die-hard fans know was a frequent collaborator with the duo back in the day. This spiritual-heavy song closes out the 23-minute album on an especially hopeful note as if we all ascended into heaven together, and that's a journey I wouldn't mind being led into. ★★★★½
★★★★★ Classic | ★★★★ Excellent | ★★★ Good | ★★ Fair | ★ Poor
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