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The release of Kid Cudi’s long-awaited WZRD album is finally upon us, and Complex is celebrating by kicking off a full week dedicated to the rapper/rocker/actor and his collaborator, Dot Da Genius. Complex sat down with the duo for an online cover story, dispelling a few misconceptions, including the notion that Dot and Cudi are new friends. Contrary to popular belief, these two were friends long before stardom, meeting back when the Ohio MC first made the move to New York City.

Never one to shy away from being emotional–even if it involves yelling at his own fans during a listening session–Cudi revealed that his latest release is more upbeat, but still all about feelings. “See, here’s the thing; These songs are more bright and positive,” Cudi told Complex. “So one may think that they’re less emotional, because it’s not talking about sadness and loneliness—the really dramatic emotions. But for me, this is the most emotional, because I was so excited about this feeling I was having. That’s why all the songs are so uptempo and they have energy.”

Among the fervor that he exhibits on WZRD, is a growing love for singing. Like Drake, and Kanye West, Cudder upped the ante on his vocal abilities by pushing himself “to another level” on tracks like “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” a song where he went unrecognized by his own sibling. “I remember I played ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night?’ for my sister, and she didn’t even know it was me. She didn’t even recognize my voice, because she said, ‘The sound is so different.’ I’ve never pushed it to this level before, and that’s what I like to do.”

Elsewhere in the land of emotion, the 28-year-old penned a very personal song “Teleport 2 Me Jamie,” dedicated to his child’s mother. Their relationship had its ups and downs, and despite being very secretive about Jamie and his daughter, Cudi was finally ready to open up about his feelings for the special lady in his life. “She loved it,” he said of her response to the song. “Me and Jamie’s relationship has been relatively private, and that’s how we’d like to keep it. Yet, every woman likes to have the man that’s in her life, like, claim her and not be ashamed and say, ‘I love this woman.’ I just missed that in a relationship. I fumbled, and making this song just happened to be my redemption to her. Just to let her know how important she is to me and how she’s made me feel. Thank God she loved it. If she was like, ‘It just sucks! A motherf—er makes a song about me, and then it just sucks!’ I would have been like, ‘S***. F***.'”

In spite of its sensitive nature, the project is still a rock album. Of course he’s not the only one among his Hip-Hop classmates to take the leap into the genre, yet the Grammy winner believes that WZRD will stand out for its originality. Taking a musical risk doesn’t always end well, but Cudi doesn’t want to be judged too harshly. “When people critique people so hard, I think that’s really wack. You’re supposed to be someone that pushes the envelope. The artist is supposed to do what they’re passionate about. I mean, WZRD brings that same energy. But being that, we are a different thing—we’re a band. We have our own sound. We really built this s*** from the ground up with me playing guitar, without much experience, playing this s*** on the tour bus. It was almost like we were in a high-school garage band.”

In related news, Cudi just debuted his new slit wrists tattoos, so things are clearly looking up.


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Photo: Universal Republic