*My disclaimer: Before you read this, please know that both Kid Cudi and his song “Pursuit of Happiness” top my list of favorite things. I’m posting this mainly because I have been exiled by my boss to an empty floor of the firm and, having no legal reports to write up, I had no choice but to write one of a more psychological (farcical) nature.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—powerful ideals expressing the inalienable rights of mankind which mightily resound within the nobly yellowing folios of the Declaration of Independence. Upon first glance, it would seem a simple matter to categorize Kid Cudi’s song, “Pursuit of Happiness,” as an enthusiastic tribute to joy and to the universal quest on which we all embark to obtain it. For, as Aristotle, among others, would argue, according to the hedonic principle, the drive for happiness is natural, as all people are motivated to experience pleasure while avoiding pain. However, a more thorough analysis of the lyrics and of some of the key images in the song’s music video provides deep and startling insight into Kid Cudi’s mind and personality, exposing great inner turmoil and what very well may be signs of antisocial personality disorder (APD).
Early in the song, symptoms of APD become apparent as Kid Cudi heavily implies that he is smoking marijuana, beginning the song with “Crush a bit, little bit, roll it up, take a hit,” and he then proceeds to admit that he is “drivin’ drunk” and simply does not care. This callous behavior, blatant violation of several laws and clear display of substance abuse are all indications of APD. What’s more, buried deeply within the psychological profundity of his lyrics, one might notice Cudi’s subtle yet disturbing confession that when people tell him to slow down while driving (implying that he tends to speed, which is an additional act of lawlessness and disregard for the safety of others), he responds by screaming out obscenities. The violence and aggression of this unsettling reaction further demonstrate the presence of APD and of a very troubled soul.
In the music video, Kid Cudi positions himself in the center of a dimly-lit room–glittering with gold flakes that are inexplicably falling out of the ceiling–that is stuffed full of shiny, vaguely metallic people, most of whom are in the process of stuffing themselves full of alcohol. Cudi, perhaps the leader of the dipsomaniacs, makes a strong introduction in the video as we straightaway find him sipping wine straight from the bottle with other glittering glass goblets and bottles placed conveniently close by. As the video continues, the drinking never seems to stop and viewers are made to observe a dizzying progression of crapulence and to wonder how many bottles can be popped before the inebriates start slipping in their own forsaken sipsauce. Unsurprisingly, I must note that those suffering from APD are at high risk for substance abuse.
Interestingly, at intermittent points throughout the video, the people around Kid Cudi seem to move at a different speed than he. This is representative of the disconnection between Cudi and other human beings, as those with APD are frequently characterized by a lack of empathy, remorse or any lasting relationships. The disparity in speed of physical movement is visually indicative of Cudi’s focus upon himself and his own desires while he disregards the thoughts and feelings of others. Cudi, again, displays his indifference towards the feelings of those around him when he violently sprays a champagne bottle in the faces of a few unfortunate women at the party. The alarmed expressions on their faces—their mouths open in horror, or perhaps in kneejerk attempts to gulp down some of the jettisoned bubbly—are unmistakable indications of their displeasure. Kid Cudi does not appear to care in the least bit and, in a reaction quite contrary to remorse, he laughs at the champagne-drenched drunkards, leaving us unnerved and wondering why anyone would attend this man’s party.