Portfolio: Kid Cudi by Michael Muller

Michael Muller photographed Kid Cudi for the new issue of Flaunt magazine, which offers a vivid, thoughtful profile of the rapper. Here’s an excerpt from the story, available in its entirety at flaunt.com, and some of the fabulous images—including many outtakes—that Michael produced in their photo session…

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Kid Cudi. Photo by Michael Muller.

Kid Cudi. Photo by Michael Muller.

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For the uninitiated, there is nothing in today’s rap game even remotely like Kid Cudi. His music has never been easy to categorize—he’s a rapper, yes, but his delivery is sizzurp slow, often more sung than rapped. He came to fame with the ultimate ballad of a lonely stoner, “Day ’n’ Nite,” on his debut mixtape, A Kid Named Cudi, which caught fire during the heyday of music blogging. His first two albums were both called Man on the Moon and were heavily influenced by his father’s death and Cudi’s subsequent drug addiction. “Pursuit of Happiness,” his anthemic hit, has lyrics about night terrors and drunk driving—hitting a nerve with outcasts who like hip-hop.

As unorthodox as some of his moves have been, Cudi has always had one foot in the mainstream. He’s the Crispin Glover of rap music. He lent vocals to Kanye West’s 2012 Grammy-winning “All of the Lights,” and was the guest artist du jour from 2008 to 2010. His collaborations read like a weird kid’s iTunes on random: David Guetta, Snoop Dogg, Shakira, Steve Aoki, Ratatat, MGMT, 3OH!3, Cam’Ron, Jay-Z, Robin Thicke, The Black Eyed Peas. Indicud, for god’s sake, features soft rock balladeer Michael Bolton alongside Los Angeles indie rock newcomers Haim and Father John Misty.

… Cudi credits [high daughter] Vada’s unconditional love with a sense that someone needs him, and he’d better slow down if he wants to be in her life. “It is an instant wake up call,” he says, clasping his hands together. “I just didn’t want to be an irresponsible person anymore. I wanted to have some type of tact with how I live my life, and how I carry myself in public. I’m a fun person though—give me some whiskey, we’re partying. I like showing that side of me, the fun side, but when I’m in those moods where I know the day is going to be long and I’m in a funky mood, I look at the bright side. I never used to do that—I used to fall deeper into the funk. I’m just happy I can see my daughter when I want.”

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Photo by Michael Muller.

Photo by Michael Muller.

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Photo by Michael Muller.

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Photo by Michael Muller.

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Photo by Michael Muller.

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Photo by Michael Muller.

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Photo by Michael Muller.

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Photo by Michael Muller.

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Photo by Michael Muller.

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Photo by Michael Muller.

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Photo by Michael Muller.

Photo by Michael Muller.

Photo by Michael Muller.

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