“WZRD is the alternative to everything because no one is doing what we’re doing. This album is something the world needs to hear,” says Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi of his new genre-bending album with long-time collaborator Dot Da Genius. The album kicks off with a full-instrumental track called “The Arrival” and then continues to take the listener through a journey of intricate sounds, as well as a standout acoustic record called “EFFLICTIM.” Right from the start, it’s evident that this project is a bold move, even for one of the most innovative musicians of the last few years.
Cudi and Dot have came a long way since 2006, when the duo would record late into the night in Dot’s family’s East New York apartment. Cudi met Dot through a mutual friend while working at Abercrombie & Fitch and the two began crafting a spacey-melodic sound that was different, and a breath of fresh air for the hip-hop game. Cudi would hum melodies as Dot would construct beats around them, and songs soon came to fruition. The process of recording came easy to Dot and Cudi, but the circumstances weren’t. After Cudi got evicted from his Staten Island apartment, it looked like he would have to move back to his hometown of Cleveland, and the budding musical chemistry he and Dot were developing would have to come to an end. But, despite knowing Cudi for just seven months, Dot’s parents saw the potential in the young tandem and let Cudi stay with them until he got back on his feet. The two kept at it in the Omishore basement, hoping their grind would one day pay off.
After working together for a year, the most noteworthy result of one of Cudi’s hummed melodies and Dot’s producing prowess, “Day N’ Night,” was recorded. The innovative, out-of-the-box song would go on to sell over 2,000,000 digital downloads, receive two Grammy nominations, and peak on Billboard’s Hot 100 at No. 3 on May 9, 2009. It was the song that catapulted Kid Cudi into a household name, and changed everything for the duo. The pair, who liken their relationship to that of brothers rather than band mates, would continue to make music throughout the years, and in 2010 when they were adding guitar riffs to “Trapped In My Mind” a Dot-produced standout on Cudi’s sophomore album “Man On The Moon II: The Legend Of Mr. Rager” it spawned the idea of a full rock album.
Soon after, Cudi picked up the lead guitar and Dot would learn the bass. “The next day we went to Guitar Center and he bought a guitar and all the pieces. Since then he hasn’t parted with it. He’s been playing it non-stop and gradually getting better,” says Dot. They would record on Cudi’s tour bus and in Cudi’s house, purposely staying away from big-budget studios to capture an organic, garage band type of sound. No lessons, just hours exploring the instruments and learning as they went on. It was on the tour bus and in those makeshift studios that “WZRD” was formed. The duo studied bands like Nirvana, Pink Floyd, and even covered Lead Belly’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night.” Like “Day N’ Night” Dot and Cudi once again created a sound that was far from cookie-cutter. As Cudi tells it, “We’re just trying to push the envelope and put people up on a new sound. Each band has their sound, and “WZRD” is something that’s very grassroots.”