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The Meaning of Kid Cudi’s “Soundtrack 2 My Life”

One of the best songs from Kid Cudi’s 2009 debut album, Man on the Moon: The End of the Day is “Soundtrack 2 My Life”, produced by Emile. As the title suggests, this is a deeply personal song about Scott Mescudi a.k.a. Kid Cudi’s life.

The song also happens to be relatable to a wide number of people, earning it its rightful spot as one of the most well-known hip-hop songs of the late 2000s.

As the second song on the album, “Soundtrack 2 My Life” serves as an all-encompassing introduction to the themes of the album, including loneliness, drug addiction, and depression.

“Soundtrack 2 My Life” Origins

During a 2009 song-by-song interview with Generations, Kid Cudi explained the context of “Soundtrack 2 My Life”, within the rest of the album:

This is kinda like the opening scene of the story and, it’s kinda like I’m waking up in the dream now. And, you know, it’s kinda giving you a brief rundown, like a prelude to what’s about to happen in the story. Kinda like, you know, an introduction, like when you open a book. […] And, you know, it sets the pace. It’s got energy and it’s, you know, one of the real rapping joints on the album, you know what I mean, ‘cause it’s three verses, it’s sixteen bars, and I’m spittin’.

Kid Cudi explains “Soundtrack 2 My Life” with Generations, 2009.

“Soundtrack 2 My Life” Lyrics Meaning

Now let’s dive into the lyrics, and give a simple line-by-line breakdown of Cudi’s bars:

I got 99 problems and they all bitches
Wish I was Jigga man, carefree livin’
But I’m not Shawn or Martin Louis
I’m that Cleveland n*gga rollin’ with them Brooklyn boys
You knowin’ how it be when you start living large
I control my own life, Charles was never in charge
No sitcom could teach Scott about the dram
Or even explain the troubles that haunted my mom
On Christmas time, my mom Christmas grind
Got me most of what I wanted, how’d you do it, Mom, huh?
She copped the toys I would play with in my room by myself
“Why he by himself?”
He got two older brothers; one hood, one good
An independent older sister kept me fly when she could
But they all didn’t see
The little bit of sadness in me

First verse to “Soundtrack 2 My Life” by Kid Cudi.

Right away he brings in a reference to Jay-Z’s (Jigga) “99 Problems”. While Jay-Z raps about a carefree life, not bothered by his problems, Cudi says that his problems are “all bitches”. That doesn’t mean he has 99 women, but rather that his problems are overwhelming.

He’s not Shawn (Carter, Jay-Z), or Martin Louis (referencing Kanye West). Kid Cudi is just a regular dude from Cleveland.

It’s not clear who he is talking about when he says “Charles was never in charge”.

Some suggest he means Charles Xavier (Professor X) from X-Men, who can use mind control. Cyclops, the longest-running confidante of Charles, is also named Scott. Weird coincidence, or direct reference?

Some others speculate that it is a reference to the 80s sitcom Charles In Charge, which he would then be confirming in the line that follows.

Then, when rapping about “my mom Christmas grind,” he highlights his mother’s hard work during the holiday season. This is a reference to growing up poor, and a show of appreciation for his mother who spent all her money on his toys. Which he would then play with alone.

The underlying message here is that Cudi has been depressed for as long as he can remember.

The chorus drops next:

I’ve got some issues that nobody can see
And all of these emotions are pouring out of me
I bring them to the light for you, it’s only right
This is the soundtrack to my life, the soundtrack to my life

Chorus to “Soundtrack 2 My Life” by Kid Cudi.

The meaning here is pretty straightforward. Cudi keeps his issues below the surface, but he brings them, and his emotions, out in his songs for everyone to see.

He’s back with more personal bars for the second verse:

I’m super paranoid, like a sixth sense
Since my father died, I ain’t been right since
And I tried to piece the puzzle of the universe
Split an eighth of shrooms just so I could see the universe
I try and think about myself as a sacrifice
Just to show the kids they ain’t the only ones who up at night
The moon will illuminate my room
And soon I’m consumed by my doom
Once upon a time, nobody gave a fuck
It’s all said and done and my cock’s been sucked
So now I’m in the cut, alcohol in the wound
My heart’s an open sore that I hope heals soon
I live in a cocoon opposite of Cancún
Where it is never sunny, the dark side of the moon
So it’s more than right I try and shed some light on a man
Not many people of this planet understand, fam

Second verse to “Soundtrack 2 My Life” by Kid Cudi.

Cudi references a “sixth sense”, perhaps a reference to the 1999 film about the young boy who can see dead people. He’s been feeling this way, paranoid, ever since his father died (1995, when Cudi was 11 years old).

Trying to figure out the meaning of life, Cudi “split an eighth of shrooms just so I could see the universe”. An eighth (3.5 grams) is generally considered to be a strong dose of shrooms, and a common way to experience a still-strong trip is to take half an eighth.

When he raps, “I try and think about myself as a sacrifice”, this is is way of consoling himself. He thinks that if he can at least show some listeners that they aren’t alone, his life won’t be a complete waste.

“Once upon a time, nobody gave a fuck” refers to the idea that nobody cares about your problems other than yourself. The next line gives a been, there, done that vibe, suggesting he doesn’t care anymore either.

The line “so now I’m in the cut, alcohol in the wound” has a double meaning. Rubbing alcohol to clean a cut. Drinking alcohol to clean an emotional wound.

The chorus hits again before the third verse:

I’m this close to go and trying some coke
And a happy ending would be slittin’ my throat
Ignorance to cope, man, ignorance is bliss
Ignorance is love and I need that shit
If I never did shows then I’d prolly be a myth
If I cared about the blogs then I’d prolly be a jackass
Don’t give a shit what people talkin’ ’bout, fam
Haters shake my hand but I keep the sanitizer on deck
Hope I really get to see 30
Wanna settle down, stop being so flirty
Most of the clean faces be the most dirty
I just need a thoroughbred, cook when I’m hungry
Ass all chunky, brain is insanity
Only things that calm me down; pussy, and some Cali tree
And I get both, never truly satisfied
I am happy, that’s just the saddest lie

Third verse to “Soundtrack 2 My Life” by Kid Cudi.

This verse contains the darkest lyrics in the song, with Cudi contemplating suicide rather directly.

First, he raps about “trying some coke”, suggesting that cocaine is a coping mechanism for him. This falls in line with his very public struggle with drug addiction through the 2010s.

“Ignorance to cope, man, ignorance is bliss / Ignorance is love and I need that shit,” Cudi raps. Meaning that he would rather know nothing and be happy. He uses ignorance, such as indulging in alcohol and drugs, as a way to escape.

Then, he brings in some societal commentary, rapping “most of the clean faces be the most dirty”. Many people who present a happy, clean life, are rotten or unhappy on the inside.

He also raps about wanting a lover, being tired of meaningless casual relationships on one hand. On the other, the “Only things that calm me down; pussy, and some Cali tree”. Meaning he smokes weed and has sex to calm down.

That doesn’t work though, because no matter how much of both he gets, he’s still unhappy. The music does sound good, though.

One final chorus rides this one out, and we all sing along.

Watch the video for “Soundtrack 2 My Life” by Kid Cudi below.

Kid Cudi – “Soundtrack 2 My Life” (Music Video)