Kid Cudi (Ft. MGMT & Ratatat) – “Pursuit of Happiness (Nightmare)” Lyrics Meaning

Photo of author
Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

“Pursuit of Happiness (Nightmare)” by Kid Cudi featuring MGMT & Ratatat is a haunting portrayal of seeking contentment amidst the highs and lows of life. The song paints a vivid picture of the party scene, hedonistic pleasures, and the subsequent emptiness that often follows. Kid Cudi speaks to those who seek escape from their pain, reminding them that fleeting happiness isn’t always what it seems. He’s not just sharing a tale, but rather his own struggle with inner demons and the search for genuine contentment.

Ever been lost in the whirlwind of life’s party only to ask, “Is this it?” Stick with us for a deeper journey into Cudi’s mind.


“Pursuit of Happiness (Nightmare)” Lyrics Meaning

Starting with the lines, “Crush a bit, little bit, Roll it up, take a hit,” Kid Cudi doesn’t shy away from describing the hedonistic tendencies that many indulge in as a form of escapism. The late-night escapades, epitomized by “Two AM, summer night,” show a carefree attitude. But it’s not all glitz and glamour.

The repetition of “I’m screaming out, ‘Fuck that’,” showcases Cudi’s rebelliousness against societal norms and expectations. But there’s a vulnerability hidden underneath when he sings, “If I fall if I die, Know I lived it to the fullest.” It’s a brave front, masking the fear of a life unfulfilled.

The chorus “I’m on the pursuit of happiness and I know, Everything that shine ain’t always gonna be gold,” is the song’s heart. It emphasizes that seeking happiness, especially in superficial ways, won’t always yield the desired results.

When Kid Cudi asks, “Tell me what you know about dreamin’, dreamin’,” he’s delving into the deeper issues of anxiety and existential dread. The “night terrors every night” and “Five AM cold sweats” indicate a mental battle, the kind that’s all too familiar to those struggling with inner torment.

In the end, Cudi’s repeated acknowledgment, “I’ll be fine once I get it, yeah, I’ll be good,” serves as both a mantra of hope and a reflection of the ever-elusive nature of true happiness.

The Story Behind “Pursuit of Happiness (Nightmare)”

Kid Cudi’s transparency about his mental health battles has always set him apart in the music industry. This track, from his debut album “Man on the Moon: The End of Day,” perfectly encapsulates the duality of his world – the juxtaposition of fame, partying, and the darker, more introspective moments that come after.

Cudi’s collaboration with MGMT and Ratatat brings a blend of psychedelic rock and electronic, setting the musical stage for a trip into the mind’s recesses. It’s not just about the typical highs of life but the subsequent lows that follow.

Many fans and critics have speculated that the song is a reflection of Cudi’s struggles with depression and substance abuse. And in subsequent interviews, Cudi has been open about his battles, making this track resonate even more deeply with listeners.

The song’s poignant ending, “Why did I drink so much and smoke so much?” serves as a brutal moment of introspection. It’s a reminder that the things we often pursue for happiness might be the very things holding us back.

In “Pursuit of Happiness (Nightmare),” Kid Cudi offers more than just a catchy chorus. He provides a glimpse into the human soul, the ongoing battle between the pursuit of superficial joys and the deeper, more genuine contentment that we all seek.