The concept behind Kanye West and Kid Cudi’s new album, Kids See Ghosts, is collaboration. It’s a partnership between the two artists who have worked closely for over a decade, but never officially solidified that relationship as a fully formed musical duo until now. (They operate as Kids See Ghosts.) But no Kanye production is complete without a whole stable of collaborators; last week’s solo album YE was the result of multiple writers, producers, and featured artists. Ghosts is no different: Its album credits, provided by Tidal (whose song titles on the album are currently mislabeled), reveal multiple artists secretly contributed to the project, including Andre 3000, Ratatat’s E*Vax, and, posthumously, Kurt Cobain. Let’s take a deep dive into who all made this album, and other nerdy details.
“Feel the Love”
The first verse on the whole album isn’t handled by either Kanye or Cudi – instead, it’s Pusha-T. In fact, there’s no full verse on the entire song other than Push’s. Cudi and Kanye elsewhere appear in unintelligible vocal spurts and spasms (“Grrrat-gat-gat-gat-gat!”), and also Cudi on the chorus (“I can still feel the love”). The song was produced by Kanye, his frequent right-hand man Mike Dean, and Dot Da Genius, who has worked with Cudi since his debut mixtape.
Boom! A surprise appearance from Andre 3000, though not in a way you’d expect. Unlike The Life of Pablo, on which Andre 3000 rapped (“30 Hours”), Three Stacks co-produced this rock-heavy song. He produced alongside Kanye, Cudi, and G.O.O.D. Music producer Boogz (who previously worked on Cruel Summer).
There’s only one artist officially credited as a feature on the album (at least on Tidal), and it’s the late New Orleans jazz musician Louis Prima. His Christmas song “What Will Santa Claus Say” is sampled on the song’s intro; Prima is also credited as a songwriter. Kanye and Mike Dean produced the song. In its outro, the song also samples Shirley Ann Lee’s “Someday,” which was previously sampled on “Ghost Town” off YE.
“Freeee (Ghost Town Pt. 2)”
Though Kids See Ghosts is technically a separate project from Kanye’s latest solo album, it’s of the same creative era, and so it contains a sequel to the Cudi-featuring “Ghost Town” from YE. The song opens with a sample of excerpts from Marcus Garvey’s “Know Yourself” speech. The song also riffs on the original psychedelic guitar work from “Ghost Town” (some of which was a Vanilla Fudge sample), and Kanye’s “scoop” rambling from “Lift Yourself.” The song features Ty Dolla Sign and was produced by Kanye, Cudi, and Jeff Bhasker (“All of the Lights,” “Run This Town,” and more). It was written by Kanye, Cudi, Bhasker, Ty Dolla Sign, Mike Dean, and Corin Littler (better known as Mr. Chop, who has worked with MF DOOM). Littler is credited because “Freeee” samples his song “Stark.”