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Sunday February 5th

Column: Kid Cudi breaks barriers in music and film

Kid Cudi performs on the Ciroc main stage during the first day of Rolling Loud Miami at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, on July 22, 2022. (Daniel A. Varela/Miami Herald/TNS)
Buy Photos Kid Cudi performs on the Ciroc main stage during the first day of Rolling Loud Miami at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, on July 22, 2022. (Daniel A. Varela/Miami Herald/TNS)

Musician-turned-actor, writer and producer Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi is finally back with his newest project, “Entergalactic.” 

After starring recently in Ti West’s critically-acclaimed slasher “X” earlier this year, as well as in Adam McKay’s polarizing “Don’t Look Up” at the end of 2021, Cudi has finally released his long-awaited Netflix collaboration.

Originally conceived as a live-action series, “Entergalactic” developed into what Netflix is calling a television special, and is accompanied and soundtracked by Cudi’s eighth studio album of the same name. This is his first album release since he concluded his “Man on the Moon” trilogy in 2020 with his album “Man On The Moon III: The Chosen.”

Set in a gorgeous, pastel-drenched New York City, “Entergalactic” follows Jabari, a young artist (voiced by Cudi) as he navigates the (not so) mean streets of Manhattan after falling in love with his new neighbor Meadow (voiced by Jessica Williams). 

While the story is ultimately classified as a romantic comedy, it doesn’t follow a strict plot line. Backed by beautiful animation from DNEG reminiscent of 2018’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” “Entergalactic” is at its best when it simply lets viewers soak in the amazing comic book and street art-influenced visuals as they’re accompanied by the lush, airy production of the soundtrack.

An eclectic bunch of characters voiced by Timothée Chalamet, Vanessa Hudgens, Ty Dolla $ign, Jaden Smith, and more share funny — and sometimes terrible — takes on love and life as viewers are navigated through the world of “Entergalactic.”

This slice-of-life aspect of the special may turn off some viewers, but I believe it perfectly fitting. 

“Entergalactic” is not a movie or a TV show. It’s an aesthetic accompaniment to the album. And it’s not a medium that has been deeply explored before. 

Sure, R&B artist The Weeknd released a series of interconnected music videos and even a short film with his 2020 project “After Hours,” but that is something far different from Cudi's project. Another comparison people may draw is to Beyoncé’s 2013 self-titled visual album. And while that record is amazing in its own right, the two are truly incomparable. 

An effort that may seem a little closer in comparison is Childish Gambino’s 2013 project “Because the Internet,” which was released with an accompanying screenplay, though it never made it off the page.

Cudi wanted to take that next step with “Entergalactic.” And it may have taken him a little longer than anticipated to finish it — the project was originally announced back in 2019 — but it is a truly amazing experience, visually and musically. 

With today’s technology, the possibilities for combining music and visuals are endless. I think, and hope, that “Entergalactic” is only the start of a new wave of audiovisuals.

Back in the late 2000s, Cudi shook up the music world with his vulnerable lyrics and new take on alternate hip-hop. Now, nearly 15 years later, can he do it again?

@dthopinion

opinion@dailytarheel.com

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