The Power of Sampling Kurt Cobain's "Burn the Rain" in Cudi Montage

After all the ghoulish sounds and spooky flourishes that riddle KIDS SEE GHOSTS, the album's final song begins with a lone guitar:

Burn the Rain by Kurt Cobain is an unfinished track found on Montage of Heck—a collection of home recordings released in 2015, years after the Nirvana frontman committed suicide. In that song, Cobain sings:

Burn the rain
Come down and pain
Fame million
From the loving of her
From of loving
From the love of rain
From the loving
Friends and I way

This song is clearly Cobain battling his demons—the pain, the fame, the inability to reciprocate love are all embodied by the "rain," which Cobain would like to burn away.

This is very reminiscent of KIDS SEE GHOSTS, which features Kanye West and Kid Cudi battling ghosts of their own. On the album's opening track, Feel the Love, you can hear Cudi sing "I can still feel the love" as he's pulled into a dark realm by Pusha T, who encourages the Kids to live an unhealthy life. The rest of the album features the Kids being pulled further and further into that dark place, until becoming a master of their own environment on Freeee and being "Reborn." From there, the Kids must learn to conquer their ghosts, which continues on the track Kids See Ghosts and ends on Cudi Montage.

So why the Kurt Cobain sample? Knowing that Cobain ultimately committed suicide and lost his battle with his demons, why bring the ghost of Cobain into the song?

To find an answer, we can look back at the track Kids See Ghosts. In the intro of that song, Yasiin Bey sings:

Kids see ghosts sometimes
Kids see ghosts sometimes
Kids see ghosts sometimes
Spirit (spirit, spirit, spirit)
Movin' around, just movin' around
Kids see ghosts sometimes
Kids see ghosts sometimes
Kids see ghosts
Spirit (spirit, spirit, spirit)
Yeah, that's the king

In the first half of the intro, ghosts are just spirits, "movin' around." But in the second half, those spirits are "the king." So what "spirits" are moving around the Kids? Are they good or bad? And who is the king?

Kid Cudi provides the input we need:

Stop that movement, stop that movement
Y'all can't move me, this my movie
Y'all can't stop me, y'all too sloppy
Carbon copied, carbon
Same thing, in a room
Sittin' by myself, findin' heaven soon
Many things that will trouble you
Look beyond for a feelin' like you never knew
Reachin' out, huntin' for the truth
I'm guessin' I'm just sick of runnin'
All this time searchin' hard for somethin'
I can hear the angels comin'

In the first half, once again, the "ghosts" are moving around. Cudi says "Y'all can't stop me," meaning these ghosts are not his friends, are trying to tempt him. This becomes even more dire as he says "findin' heaven soon," meaning the ghosts are bringing up suicidal thoughts.

But the second half of that verse—as Cudi asks for help, the angels come forth, which leads right into Yasiin once again singing "Kids see ghosts sometimes." Which makes you wonder: "Are the angels coming because he's committing suicide...or were they sent by God to save the Cudi? Is 'the king' God?"

Near the end of Kids See Ghosts, Yasiin sings in the bridge:

Civilization without society
Power and wealth with nobility
Stability without stasis
Places and spaces

This further illuminates the distinction between the ghosts being good or bad—demons or angels. Simply, the ghosts become what you allow them to be. If you allows the ghosts to dictate your existence and influence you, then they control you, force those suicidal thoughts. But if you become a master of your environment? Build your own civilization? Be noble with your power and wealth? If you commit to moving forward and avoid stasis? Then those ghosts become positive spirits that help you become better.

With all of this in mind for Cudi Montage, the Burn the Rain sample shouldn't be heard as a dark omen, but instead a reminder of why it's important to control your own mental health and internal environment.

And Cudi and Kanye have chosen to do that by letting God into their lives. The song ends with the Kids and Mr. Hudson singing over and over:

Lord shine your light on me, save me, please
Hmm-mm-mm, woah, woah
Stay strong

Let's look back at that Cudi line from Kids See Ghosts: "I can hear the angels coming." Knowing that the Kids are letting God back into their lives to better themselves, this statement doesn't seem as scary, does it? If Cobain isn't a scary ghost but instead a good angel coming to help them through a dark time, then Cobain's presence on this song takes on an entirely different meaning and brings a hopeful ending to the album.