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Burgeoning rapper Kyle saving fans like Kid Cudi saved him

meganarmstrong
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meganarmstrong
Burgeoning rapper Kyle saving fans like Kid Cudi saved him

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, rapper Kyle said that when he was an unknown depressed teenager growing up in Ventura, Calif., Kid Cudi’s music saved his life.

Specifically, Kyle told writer Dan Hyman, “At the time everybody in hip-hop was so damn cool and so damn perfect," he explains. "And Kid Cudi came out and he was the first person I could relate to that was hurt. 'You're not weird for being depressed.' Kid Cudi has saved lives. He saved my life.”

Now, 23-year-old Super Duper Kyle has worked his way into a position to change others’ lives through his upbeat attitude and infectious music. The most popular example of this is his platinum single “iSpy” featuring Lil Yachty, which has gone viral and peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song can be interpreted in many ways, but Kyle told Genius that it is about the intricacies of finding under-the-radar cuties to flirt with on Instagram.

And so, I repurposed this theme behind “iSpy” to find the under-the-radar fans that Kyle might not know he’s impacting. Somewhere in Kyle’s comments was Alegra Gianna (@alegraxgianna). Through Instagram direct messaging, she says, “Kyle has impacted me a lot. I’ve met him once before about two years ago (in Oakland—at that show in Oakland two years ago, Kyle talked about how Cudi saved his life), and he is such a great guy to his fans. Super nice and down to Earth. Some of his songs have really impacted me—like his song ‘Wait On Me.’ It’s super powerful and helped me through a lot.”

Specifically, Alegra leans on the lyrics “Don’t lose sight there/there’s a light there/And I’ll be right there when you need”—she explains, “It’s about his grandpa that passed away, and my grandpa passed away.”

Alegra led me to Hailey. As soon as I message her about Kyle, she answers. “I have met him and, well, him being so happy, I feel like it rubs off on me in a certain way,” Hailey says. “I grew up in a very hard home and still am struggling with it but just his way of music and the way it sounds and the lyrics, it makes me happy even though I'm struggling with stuff at home.

“He’s a real-life superhero, and he knows it. He saves people through music. … I'm getting a wave tattooed soon for him and another artist who have both impacted my life.”

“He's made such a huge positive twist on my life,” Hailey adds, “and I honestly can't say I would be as happy as I am now if I hadn't discovered him. I've been a fan since KID was a thing, and now it's like he's this big thing. I'm so happy I got to grow and see the fan base grow as well. It's beautiful.”

On Saturday, April 29, Kyle’s Super Tour arrived in Ventura, Calif., where it all began.

The next night, Kyle took his tour to Los Angeles. And in a photo from that show’s comment section was 19-year-old Pidda Salado. Sunday night’s show was her first concert ever. She says Kyle makes her happy and helps her have a more positive mindset. She’s never met him, but after the show Sunday night she had a dream about him. “Last night, I threw my bracelet on stage,” she explains, “and he spotted it and got it. I was the only person who gave him anything. He tried putting it on, but it’s not a slip-on one, so he just gave it to his friend. And it’s been on my mind like, ‘Did he get it? Nah, he has probably more important things to remember. But he knows that was for him? Did he, maybe?’

“It’s just been taunting me, and I want to know. So in my dream after the show, he was on stage and most people were gone, but I stayed along with others and got to talk to him. I asked if he liked the bracelet, and he’s like, ‘Yeah, it’s so dope!’ And we ended up hanging out. Unrealistic things.”

But the help Kyle unknowingly provides Salado is real. She says she has been listening to him for years, “since I was in high school going through some heartbreak. He taught me that it’s OK to be sad and be in touch with your feelings but after that, to stop, back up and be happy because it’s gonna be all alright.”

Salado says that, during his set in Los Angeles, Kyle told the crowd, “If you guys just came for ‘iSpy’ take two steps back, and if you been f—ing with me since “Beautiful Loser” then take two steps (toward the) front!” Salado was on the balcony right in front of him. She notes that Kyle used to reply to fans a lot more frequently on Twitter, but it’s become more rare since his fame rocketed thanks to “iSpy.”

During every show, Kyle performs the most literal form of crowd-surfing: instead of holding him up, fans hold up a yellow surfboard that Kyle is standing on. On Saturday night, his fans in Ventura held him up the way Cudi had held him up when he was just a kid in this very city with dreams and feelings and problems, just like them.

Photo credit: Kyle's Instagram (@superduperkyle), photo taken by Gibson Hazard