I don’t even know where to start because I didn’t know what to expect.
Anyone that saw the coverage of the Ye event in Jackson Hole, Wyoming (in which our Mr. Peter Parker was in attendance), it seemed to bit more intimate. From what I saw, Kanye was working the room. So, when Sophia Eris and I were invited to the Kanye x Cudi #kidsseeghosts listening party in San Catarina, California, I was hoping to get that same intimate listening experience. However, I knew, being so close to LA, it would be hard to recreate that setting.
I wasn’t wrong.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the the trip is just the experience getting there and not knowing how exactly they were going to present the album. At first, after Sophia and I were invited, I was a bit hesitant. I have not really been a fan of what Kanye has been pushing lately, but I decided to leave my own personal views aside and go with more of a “journalist” approach and see how the G.O.O.D Music presents the collab project between two outspoken passionate colorful artists.
After a plane trip from Minnesota to LAX, an SUV ride to the hotel, and a town car from the hotel to a parking lot, we were invited to board charter busses that took us to Santa Clarita. We really had no idea what we were getting into. There was chatter about us going to nearby Magic Mountain but that’s not where our destination was. By the time we got to Santa Clarita, it was dark and our charter bus pulled into a dark industrial area through narrow passages where the bus barely squeezed through. Once the bus stopped, we were ushered out into a path, through metal detectors leading into what looked like a small country western town, which was already filled with a few hundred people.
It was a bit of a frantic scene at first. People were pretty aggressively taking advantage of all the amenities. There were disorganized food distribution areas, bars already had lengthy lines and what I could only describe as a “merch corral,” where hoards of people were clawing each other for free swag including “Kids See Ghosts” Blankets, Hats, T’s and hoodies.
It probably doesn’t sound fun so far, but the people watching was magnificent AND the food was free. There were all types of people. Actors, Artists, DJ’s, Tastemakers, etc. walking around. I personally saw MadeinTyo, Ariana Grande, Zane Lowe, Kris Jenner, Shawn Wayans and even Minnesota’s favs Lizzo and the Timberwolves’ Karl Anthony Townes (I felt to embarrassed to ask him for a pic).
We had no idea what the schedule was. Picture hundreds of people eating and drinking in a country western setting, with all types of merch perched over their shoulders under the night sky waiting for the music to start. Eventually, people navigated towards one side of the “town” where gigantic speakers were sitting on top of an elevated area with a bonfire was beginning to burn. That’s, as you probably guessed, where Kanye, Cudi, some of the Kardashians and other “A-listers” were going to be for the album’s unveiling.
And then, unannounced, the album started playing. As it started, there were red colored smoke bombs lit that filled the air with red smoke and big pyro flames that shot up while the music reached pubic ears for the first time. From what I can remember, a bass heavy beat started the album and surprisingly the first voice you here was G.O.O.D. Music‘s Pusha T. I definitely was not mad at that.
The album just played song-for-song back-to-back. No announcements and no explanations, which I found kind of odd. We never even got to hear Kanye or Cudi address the crowd.
It was hard to pay attention to the music. You might have been able to bob your head to a few bars, but I was either distracted by celebrity/people watching, having small talk with industry peers or enjoying the free food and drink. From what I heard, Kids See Ghosts sounded dark, but had those Cudi melodic moments and Kanye’s well timed verses. I was not able to really pay attention to the content, but sonically the project sounded a bit more polished then Ye yet retained a similar dark and sharp musical sound.
Overall, it was cool just being there. I appreciate artists creating moments with their music rather than just the overplayed “hit the link to hear the song” approach.
If you are a Cudi or Kanye fan, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
But, truthfully, I need to consume the album with less distractions.