The Making Of Kid Cudi‘s “Pursuit Of Happiness” With E.VAX Of Ratatat | Deconstructed

My road to producing started with “Pursuit
of Happiness.” 10 years later, it’s still, if not Kid Cudi’s
most popular, it’s one of his most popular songs. He just can’t get on a stage unless he performs
“Pursuit of Happiness,” like the crowd will riot. It’s cool to be apart of something that
has longevity like that. The day I made “Pursuit of Happiness,” I had
been in touch with Cudi a little bit. I’m not sure how he got turned on to Ratatat
in the beginning. He worked at like a clothing store and at
that time, nobody had heard of him. He was just like this dude on Myspace. I think we had just done like a long tour
in Europe and came home, and they were just like, “You gotta play beats for Cudi tomorrow.” This was my first time really playing beats
for a real rapper that was going to have a record out so I was like, “I gotta do something
quick.” So he’s like literally in a car on his way
over and I’m like feeling around the keyboard and just like, I had a sound that I had created
on that keyboard and I was like “Maybe I can do something with this.” And just basically as fast as possible… Just laid that down and then like, the doorbell
rings. I’m like, “Alright.” Instantly, he heard that beat and was like,
“Oh yeah.” I was just messing around. I didn’t really know that I was onto something
yet but he had the ear for it. The first sound that I started with was that
keyboard sound. That’s a Nord Wave keyboard which is one
of the worst keyboards I’ve ever bought but it did have that one sound. It’s basically an organ tone that’s being
run through a format filter. The second thing I did was, I added some chords. It just totally follows the melody. So I’ll play that. It’s two pianos playing really simple chords
basically using the melody as root notes and just filling it out with some high, sparkly
piano. There’s like three kick drums here. There’s a filtered version of the kick that
happens during the verses I guess. There’s a couple snares. 2 or 3 snares. There’s a bunch of other like white noise,
sort of like little fills. That’s just like playing with the cut off
knob on the filter. And then there’s all these… So I was literally just like sitting there
with the Moog Voyager. Then there’s some weird stuff in here. There’s like this little… That’s from a Indian… A recording of an Indian hand drum. And then there’s like this other really
weird thing. Basically sounds like white noise, but it’s
a recording of a radiator steaming. If you take like the kick and snare out, the
beat is actually really pretty weird. Then I took all of that and I threw it through
a filter and that’s the beat for the verse. There’s guitars in the verse that are super
simple. Then there’s a harmony. So you put it all together, it starts to sound
like something. There’s a bass guitar. This is the solo that Mike did when we went
into the studio with Cudi. He did this. At the very end, we brought in these… Some more keyboards. It’s like four layers of the similar idea. Cudi did like a lower octave of his voice
on the chorus that I always thought was cool. But there’s like, six layers of him on
the chorus. I always like those low octaves. So this is what it sounds like with everything. It’s one of those things where it happened
so fast that I didn’t have time to overpolish it or anything. It stays true to this kind of like very simple
straightforward beat and I think it suits what Kid Cudi ended up doing with it. The music is so easy to relate to that it
all kind of fits together. If I had spent a week on it or something,
I probably would have made it too complicated and it wouldn’t have resonated that same
way. Cudi’s become this like real mythical character
for like, I think people of a certain age because he was just like speaking frankly
on his tracks in a way that nobody was used to hearing rappers speak. If you mention Kid Cudi to certain people,
they’re just like, “Bro that’s the guy.” I’ve heard so many people say, “I wouldn’t
be here if it wasn’t for Kid Cudi.” It’s pretty amazing that just being frank
and honest with people turned into this super solid connection that’s very lasting obviously. “Day ‘N’ Nite” was on the radio at
that point and stuff and I was like, “I kind of wish we made a real hit like Day ‘N’
Nite or something.” But then it turns out, this ends up being
like… It has like such a crazy life.


love the song, love the deconstruction, but man either they filmed this when he was having a bad day or this guy genuinely the most boring guy in the world

I love these videos cause every time I go back and listen to the song I can pinpoint all of the different sounds mentioned in making the beats or lines; the various octaves in the chorus, etc. It just adds to the beauty of the music.

Honestly, every time I listen to that song I feel like we've never done anything better since. Ratatat, MGMT and Cudi on the same track, a fucking miracle.

I had that ratatat album in high school… I heard man on the moon and instantly heard that ratatat sound. So dope

1:53 that synth is probably my favourite sound in the world. It just means so much to me and every time I hear the song I have to pause whatever I'm doing and appreciate it.

I stumbled upon this song 6 years after it was released. It really is great…. especially the piano bit in the end.

this is a proper fucking producer right here. unlike all those stupid fucking bitches with FL studio who all sound like $2 rip-offs of metro boomin's dumb ass

i actually first heard Ratatat in a skate video from DVS callled Skate More, i was shocked when i found out they worked together…it truly is a masterpiece

i used to produce music, was signed all that I always over complicated things and over did it, some of my best tracks were made in 1 day


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