If Kid Cudi really is retiring his rapper persona, as has been strongly indicated in recent interviews, Monday night could have served as an early farewell party of sorts.
At a special screening at Netflix’s Tudum Theater in Hollywood, the star was all smiles as she answered questions and celebrated the release of “Entergalactic,” Netflix’s new animated special that serves as a sort of companion film piece to Cudi’s new album. same name.
“I’m overwhelmed, you know?” Cudi, who created, starred in and executive produced the project, said immediately after the screening, sitting next to the film’s director, Fletcher Moules. “This past week has been really exciting to see the criticism, to see the response. We’ve been working on this for three years, man.”
Featuring an all-star cast including Jessica Williams, Timothée Chalamet, Laura Harrier, Ty Dolla $ign, Vanessa Hudgens, Jaden Smith and Macauley Caulkin, the film premiered on Netflix on September 30 to very positive critical reception. .
“We texted this week, and I was like, I never knew Twitter could be a love platform,” Moules joked.
Backed by several tracks of Cudi’s signature melodic space rap from the accompanying album, Netflix’s “Entergalactic” follows a character voiced by Cudi, Jabari, an artist struggling to navigate the chaos of his love life in the New York City. The film, Cudi explained, grew out of what was initially an anthology series that, in its first season, would focus on the theme of love and include a stand-alone animated episode. Cudi began developing the idea with Kenya Barris, who encouraged him to change course, eventually leading to “Entergalactic,” which Netflix has billed as a TV special.
Barris “told me it would be bad if we ran it all animated, because that’s something Netflix was looking for,” Cudi said. “So I decided to take the only animated episode I was going to have in my anthology and just extend the story.”
“Entergalactic” started with the music first (“Angel,” “Do What I Want,” and “Willing to Trust” were the first three tracks that inspired early ideas for the project), but as the project took shape, the writing Both the film and the album informed each other.
“The album itself came together pretty quickly,” Cudi said, “just because in my mind I already knew the beats of what I wanted to cover, I just pieced the story together in my mind from the beginning.”
The unique album and movie concept, dreamed up and spearheaded by Cudi, was also what helped attract its star-studded cast, from friends like Chalamet and Ty Dolla $ign to far-flung fans like Williams and Harrier. “I felt like Tony Stark, a bit like putting the Avengers together,” Cudi said, laughing.
The project could signal something of a bookend for Kid Cudi’s career as we know it. While promoting the film and album, Cudi indicated both in a recent interview with Zane Lowe and in his appearance on Hot Ones that he was leaning toward withdrawing from personality and less interested in making music.
“The Kid Cudi stuff, I think I want to put it on the back burner and relax with it,” Cudi told Lowe. “I think I want to end this. I think (I am) closing the chapter on Kid Cudi. The goal of ‘Entergalactic’: I was bored with making albums… I went into this wanting to do something epic and different.”
While Cudi established his stardom on his influential output as a musician, most notably with his 2009 multi-platinum debut album “Man on the Moon: The End of the Day,” the 38-year-old has worked as a relatively prolific actor for years. . He has appeared in blockbusters (“Need for Speed”) and indies (“James White,” “X”) and served as a bandleader on the alternative comedy show “Comedy Bang Bang.”
“Entergalactic” is one of several projects to come out of Mad Solar, the production company Cudi founded in 2020, perhaps pointing toward a more concerted approach to film and television, both behind and in front of the camera.
Not everyone in Cudi’s camp is expecting a complete turnaround in his career. “To me, nothing has changed for Scott,” Karina Manashil, his former agent and close confidante who is now president of Mad Solar, said backstage when she was asked about Cudi’s recent comments. “Now everything we’re seeing, it’s not so much a change. What’s more, now he has everything around him that allows him to do all the things that he was always capable of, and he’s in the headspace to experience all of those things.”
On Monday, Cudi himself refrained from elaborating on his possible retirement from music or a change in direction. Instead, he offered a characteristic moment of personal vulnerability as he recounted what he hoped fans would take away from the film.
“I want people to feel hopeful that their person is out there in the world,” Cudi said. “I haven’t had any luck finding that person, but I did this to remind myself, ‘Scott, your person could be out there. You could have a magical moment like this with someone. So I know there are a lot of people out there who feel like maybe their persona isn’t out there or that it’s hard to find a person, but this is supposed to be a reminder that true love exists.”