Kid Cudi Says Kanye West Is 'OK,' Not In Rehab Or India

'Rehab for what? Being awesome?' Cudi asks rhetorically of his friend and mentor.

Ever since he rocketed from the mixtape circuit to the Billboard albums chart, [artist id="3066140"]Kid Cudi[/artist] has relied on [artist id="1230523"]Kanye West[/artist] for guidance, support and the occasional cameo. He considers West to be his friend, his brother and his mentor, so in the wake of Kanye's interruption of Taylor Swift's speech

at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, Cudi decided it was time to take on some of the rumors swirling about his friend, too. In particular, the whispers that West has taken refuge in an Indian ashram, or that he's being pressured by those close to him to check into rehab.

"All that's definitely false. I mean ... rehab for what? Being awesome?" Cudi told MTV News backstage at the Ulalume Festival

in Columbia, Maryland, last weekend. "We talk every once in a while. Like I said, he's like a brother to me, I worry just as much as the next person, but when I say Kanye is cool, believe me, Kanye is OK. He's a strong dude. I mean, we've seen him grow from College Dropout to now ... the things he's dealt with, the things he's been through. He's a strong dude."

But until Kanye makes his return, Cudi will be honored to carry Kanye's mantle. Starting on November 27, when he'll be the opening act for Lady Gaga's Monster Ball Tour, which takes the place of West and Gaga's canceled Fame Monster outing.

"I didn't get his blessing or anything, I just agreed because it'd be an honor. From what I heard, Kanye backed out from the tour because he wanted to work on something — maybe a project — or just wanted to take some time off," Cudi said.

"And ain't nothing wrong with that. It's not like he got fired, and I was like 'I'm taking your job!' It's like, 'Ye fell back, and I was like 'OK.' "