Before Scott Mescudi became a household name, he was just a Cleveland kid named Cudi. In the summer of 2008, Mescudi released A Kid Named Cudi. It shot his career into hyperdrive and defined hip-hop in the 2010s. The 17-track mixtape is a dreamy concoction, the story of a young man finding himself in a world that is becoming unrecognizable. Its lyrics are weighty, touching on depression, addiction and death. But it felt honest to the city of Cudi's birth. As Cleveland was struggling and changing, so was Cudi.
Henry Palattella is an associate editor at Cleveland Magazine. He once tried out for a professional basketball team. He didn't make it.