Kid Cudi hails from Cleveland, Ohio, and is known as Scott Mescudi to his mom. This anthem for the "lonely stoner" who frees his mind at night caught the attention of Kanye West when his tour DJ A-Trak released it on his Fools Gold label in Spring 2008. West subsequently signed Kid Cudi to his Good Music label as the song became a hit across European dancefloors. Later in 2008, the Cleveland rapper/singer appeared on "Paranoid
" from West's 808's & Heartbreak
This song has had a number of remixes. In Europe, a house mix by the production duo The Crookers has proved most popular, while in the US much of the single's success has been attributed to the Jim Jones remix.
Kid Cudi told The Guardian January 20, 2009, that when he recorded this song, he was not in a great place emotionally. Cudi explained: "I was going through a lot of stuff at the time in my life and so I felt like I needed to write those things down just to get them off my chest. I wasn't really thinking about making a hit record or anything like that, I was just making the song to get my feelings out."
Cudi told The Guardian, that when he heard the Crookers remix, he "immediately loved it." The Cleveland rapper added: "I thought they did an amazing job. I didn't think it was going to be as ill as it was. Before I heard it I thought, 'Ah, it's techno so it's going to be cheesy,' but it came out really ill."
Kid Cudi was not a big fan of the music video for the Crookers re-mix, which was set in a supermarket. He wrote on his blog that not only did he not approve of the promo, neither did his managers, the Crookers, or his record label. The rapper added: "We just expressed to the people who shot the video and told them we didn't like it and wanted to try (something different). Next thing u know, within hours it's alllllll over the f---ing Internet."
The song was born from Cudi humming. He recalled to Complex magazine: "I was at work and I was sitting there humming ideas into my Sidekick."
In 2004, Kid Cudi moved from his Cleveland hometown to New York City. He stayed with his uncle, Kalil Madi, until he kicked him out. "We were actually beefing because he forced me out the house when I didn't have another situation set up, so I was bitter," he told Complex
The rapper's uncle passed away in 2006 and Cudi wrote this song inspired by his feelings of regret at not patching up differences before his death. "I never apologized for it, and that kills me," he said.
The song inspired a TikTok trend in 2021 where users mouth the line "now look at this" before showcasing an unusual or funny video, while the song continues as an instrumental.
Cudi admitted to being unhappy with the song's use on TikTok because it's far removed from the original intent behind his lyrics. "When I made 'Day N Nite,' I wanted it to help people. I never imagined it would be used in a joking manner. It threw me off a lil bit," he said.
In 2022, Coldplay covered "Day 'N' Nite" for a Spotify Singles Session. The group rarely does cover songs, but this one called out to them. "In my head I could hear a version of it quite different from the original, that hopefully just reinforces what a brilliant song it is," lead singer Chris Martin said.