Cudi first performed his song “Tequila Shots” and donned a green cardigan reminiscent of the one Cobain wore during Nirvana’s famous 1993 MTV Unplugged show. Cudi also paid homage to “SNL” legend Chris Farley in the look, sporting a t-shirt featuring the late comedian, who died of a drug overdose at age 33 in 1997. Cudi later posted on Twitter that the cardigan was from elusive streetwear brand Cactus Plant Flea Market.
The tribute continued in his second performance, which featured the song “Sad People.” Cudi rocked an Off-White floral dress custom made by Virgil Abloh, causing many fans to draw comparisons to a similarly-patterned dress Cobain was famously photographed in. The white, wide-skirted spaghetti strap ensemble featured a flower print and the words “off white pattern” on the upper torso and was accessorized with a necklace of diamond skulls and flower petals. Furthermore, this week marked the 27th anniversary of Cobain’s death in 1994, making Cudi’s outfits seem even less like coincidence.
On Sunday morning, Cudi confirmed that both of his outfits were in reference to Cobain when he thanked Abloh and retweeted several fan posts about the tribute.
“Virgil designed the dress for me,” Cudi wrote on Twitter. “I told him I wanted to show love to Kurt w a floral print sundress and this man made a masterpiece. Thank You @virgilabloh ur a fuckin genius!! Love you man we did it!!!”
Virgil designed the dress for me. I told him I wanted to show love to Kurt w a floral print sundress and this man made a masterpiece. Thank You @virgilabloh ur a fuckin genius!! Love you man we did it!!!
— The Chosen One (@KidCudi) April 11, 2021
“Kid Cudi pulling the ultimate Kurt Cobain tribute on #SNL on the week of [his] death,” reads one of the retweets. “@KidCudi all about love and suicide prevention and awareness!!!”
— Danny Armstrong (@DArmstrong44) April 11, 2021
Cudi also tweeted that he has a collection coming out with Off-White, which will include the dress he wore on “SNL.” Cudi wrote: “I’m doin a collection w Off White and the dress will be included!!”
Im doin a collection w Off White and the dress will be included!!
— The Chosen One (@KidCudi) April 11, 2021
Cudi has been open about the effect Cobain has had on his life and music, and even got a tattoo of Cobain last year. “Sad People” appears on “Man On The Moon III: The Chosen,” Cudi’s seventh studio album and third installment of his “Man On The Moon series,” released in Dec. 2020. The song alludes to uncertainty when it comes to success, and mental health struggles that may arise, with lyrics like: “In the dead of the night, I have these dreams / What’ll happen to me? Will I burn out? / Have I been wrong? What does it mean? / All these things, can’t understand why / Say something’s wrong with me, I know.”
Cudi’s musical endeavors have seen several high points, including the hit singles “Day ‘n’ Nite” (2008), the David Guetta track “Memories” and Kanye West’s “All of the Lights” (both in 2010), as well as his 2020 side projects with The Scotts (with Travis Scott) and Kids See Ghosts (with West). But his career transcends music in some ways, thanks to well-received acting roles in HBO’s “We Are Who We Are,” which focuses on topics of identity and gender fluidity, as well as”How to Make It in America,” “Entourage” and IFC’s “Comedy Bang! Bang!” Cudi also recently co-founded his own production and music management company called Mad Solar, backed by LeBron James.
Last year, Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Harry Styles made headlines when he wore a Gucci dress on the cover of Vogue. The image incited conservative pundit Candace Owens to publicly plead to “bring back manly men” and quickly became a trending topic on Twitter.
Fans came to Styles’ defense as did many celebrities, including Zach Braff, Jameela Jamil and “Lord of the Rings” star Elijah Wood, who responded that, “Masculinity alone does not make a man. …. In fact, it’s got nothing to do with it.”
Styles himself told Variety in a Dec. 2020 cover story, “To not wear [something] because it’s females’ clothing, you shut out a whole world of great clothes. And I think what’s exciting about right now is you can wear what you like. It doesn’t have to be X or Y. Those lines are becoming more and more blurred.”