The photo of Kid Cudi on the cover of the new issue of Complex magazine depicts him as a not-quite-finished jigsaw puzzle — and in the interview inside, the rapper discusses how he put his life and career back together after a rocky start.

Cudi hit it big with his first two albums, ‘Man On The Moon: The End Of Day’ and ‘Man On The Moon Two: The Legend Of Mr. Rager,’ but his life was spiraling out of control. There was heavy drug use and brushes with the law, including an arrest for kicking down a woman’s door while he had cocaine in his pocket.

Cudi straightened out his life, quit drugs and sobered up. He fired his managers and now handles his own business affairs. He stars in the HBO series ‘How To Make It In America” and is working on a rock-themed album called ‘The Wizard.’ In the Complex interview, Cudi candidly addressed his life, his career and what it’s like making music sober.

He says after he kicked drugs he realized he needed a hobby. “I can’t be chillin’ in the house playing video games all the time,” he says.  ”And I can’t be in the clubs, ’cause that led to the disaster. So what am I going to do? Why don’t I try to pick up an instrument?”

Last fall he picked up the guitar and, as he put it, “started fiddling with it.”  He says the instrument came naturally to him, although he adds, ”I’m not saying that the first time around I was shredding riffs. But I was able to pick it up and pick, and go up and down the neck, and find melodies. I was like, ‘S***, I want to just make jams with this instrument.’ It was something that I took very seriously.”

Cudi admits that creating music without being under the influence is stressful — but he says he loves the challenge.  ”It’s like a kid learning to ride a bike—you can’t have those training wheels forever,” he says.  “I have to learn how to be inspired by other things than my turmoil and pain and stress. I have to learn how to sit in the studio, clearheaded, and make a jam.”

The issue of Complex with Cudi on the cover will be out October 4.

Watch the Kid Cudi Complex magazine interview video below: