While “Ye” brings us a confident, boastful Kanye, honestly owning his recent statements, missteps, transitions, and insecurities, “Kids See Ghosts” provides a different perspective on some of the demons he seems to have made peace with. Although both albums address issues of deep importance to Mr. West, the two albums present topics in different lights. While “Ye” is filled with soothing, upbeat beats and beautifully blended vocals from well-chosen features, “Kids See Ghosts” is a rougher display containing darker melodies and thoughts.
Much of this vibe is owed to Kid Cudi, who like Kanye, is no stranger to discussing personal issues on a world stage. Having both battled mental illness and drug addiction, Cudi and Kanye take turns telling their stories and responding to criticism over somber and aggressive beats, indicating the low points and anger both have experienced.
The album opens with a tribal Kanye chanting over jungle drums on “Feel the Love.” Although the two have had their troubles, they are still able to feel love around them. The song sets the stage for the rest of the album, which begins to feel like a therapy battle session for the artists from which they emerge in control once again.
Similar drums can be heard on “Fire” and “Freeee”, the part two to “Ghost Town”. Both songs address failures they have been scrutinized for, although the two now seem unbothered, free, and actually “love all that shit talking”.
On “Reborn” Ye and Cudi discuss how they have overcome their battles with mental illness and drug addiction.
The self-reflective eerie vibes continue on “Kids See Ghosts”, as Kanye addresses the results of fame and media attention.
Kanye and Cudi close the album with a focused look at the cyclical results of gang mentality in environments where “doing crime the requirement”. Ye highlights the wide destruction that the mentality has on a community while Cudi provides deep vocals and humming that he is famous for.
Although the album is based on some of the darker moments for Cudi and Kanye, in the end, both artists indicate that they are “reborn”, back in control, “free”, and “moving forward”.