In a new profile Squire, former GOOD Music artist Kid Cudi says it would take nothing short of a miracle to mend his fractured relationship with his former mentor Kanye West. Once upon a time, the two seemed inseparable; as recently as 2018, they had collaborated together on a joint album titled Children see ghosts and reportedly even worked on an animated project based on the album. But apparently Cudi had had enough of Kanye’s antics in the years since and said “enough is enough.”
Unfortunately, he’s not the only artist formerly signed to West’s label whose relationship with producer Mercurial has soured since he left the label. In fact, Kanye seems to have made a point of alienating virtually everyone who shared the stage with him prior to his first public show of support for Donald Trump in 2016. That makes some sense; of course, the artists who teamed up with him after that wouldn’t have bothered, but many of those who worked with him early on must have felt a sense of betrayal.
Kanye certainly does. In interviews he’s given throughout the year, he’s identified his support for Trump — and his own disastrous presidential bid — as the major breaking point in nearly every relationship. He apparently felt hurt by what he perceived as a lack of support during this tumultuous time. Whether they were truly disloyal or whether he himself caused the schisms with his erratic behavior is debatable. But either way, it’s clear things went wrong at GOOD Music. Here’s where Kanye is at with his former artists.
When Kanye appeared on the Drink champions podcast in November, he proclaimed that the worst thing he had ever done was to sign Big Sean. Sean himself said he was taken aback by Kanye’s comment, pointing out that he “was just with this man, he didn’t say any of that!” After revealing that Kanye still owed him royalties from his time on the label – he ended his contract with Detroit 2 in 2020 – Sean continued Drink champions himself a month later, calling Kanye’s claim “bitch shit.” He also dismissed Ye’s complaint that he wasn’t supportive of his presidential campaign, saying he wasn’t interested in politics one way or another (which is sort of a political stance in self). However, they were seen together at a studio in Los Angeles, leaving the ultimate fate of their relationship a big question mark.
It could be argued that Kanye’s intervention revitalized Common’s music career in the late 2000s after Com took a faux pas with the experimental (and misunderstood) electric circus. The follow-up produced by Kanye de Com, Be, is widely regarded as one of Chicago’s finest rappers and has earned him enough goodwill to renew his interest in his music. Appropriately, Com has been hesitant to talk about his relationship status with the young rapper, saying he still feels a kinship with him and wishes they had only made one album. more together.
Of the former GOOD Music artists who have released more than one record on the label, Desiigner is the one whose friction with Kanye stems the most from his treatment while he was signed there. In 2019, he admitted he felt ignored by GOOD Music management, asking the label to release him on Twitter after he said “I did this shit myself” on Instagram earlier that year. In 2021, Desiigner released “Letter To Ye”, a nostalgic reflection on his time with the label in which he savors the highs but also laments the way Kanye treated him.
With Kid Cudi, John Legend is one of the rare artists not to hide his position with Kanye. Earlier this year, he told CNN’s David Axelrod, “We’re not as friends as we used to be.” He attributes the change in their relationship to his refusal to support Kanye’s 2020 presidential campaign, which Ye himself alluded to on Drink Champs. As Legend says, “I honestly think because we publicly disagreed on his candidacy, his support for Trump. I think it’s become too much for us to maintain our friendship, honestly.
The rift between Cudi and Kanye seems to stem as much from Cudi’s ongoing friendship with Pete Davidson as anything else. Given how Kanye felt for those who strayed from his support of Donald Trump, it makes sense that he would want his friends to join him in his lonely war against his new (now ex-) boo. ex. However, Cudi and Davidson had formed a bond stemming from their shared affinity for comedy and mutual struggles with mental health — something you’d think Kanye would identify with. Unfortunately, as he’s told us many times in the past, he’s insecure and immature, cutting Cudi and even cruelly mocking his old friend for being pelted with objects during his Rolling Loud set.
It’s hard to know exactly where Teyana Taylor stands with Kanye these days, but when you consider her declaring her retirement from music due to label frustrations in 2020, you have to imagine that at least part of this is from Kanye. When collaborator Mykki Blanco said they weren’t being paid for their contributions to Taylor’s 2018 album KTSE, Teyana referred the complaints to Kanye, GOOD and Def Jam. While it’s usually the label’s job to handle these kinds of disputes, it’s telling that she included Kanye in her response. After feeling underappreciated at GOOD Music, it’s no wonder some of that disappointment is directed at Kanye, but Teyana has remained tight-lipped on whether the two remain on good terms.