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Kid Cudi’s Netflix Special ‘Entergalactic’ is an assertion that creativity and comfort can coexist | Sing About Me

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty, I’d like to give Scott Mescudi his flowers. “Entergalactic” blew my expectations out of the water.

I’ve always been a fan of Kid Cudi’s music, but I was skeptical about how his artistry would translate from the booth to the big screen. This special served as an audacious inauguration into the world of film and multimedia. He has only a few production credits from the past couple of years, so I walked into this project without the faintest clue of what the end result would look like.

If you haven’t seen “Entergalactic” yet, let me be the first to tell you that several years of work amounted to something truly ethereal. It feels lazy to simply call the thing a visual album — the soundtrack is a butterfly garden, don’t get me wrong — but the music takes a backseat to grossly captivating animation, lavish character design envisioned by Virgil Abloh and a rom-com tale that’s as sweet and succinct as it gets.

Cudi helms a star-studded cast, that’s jam-packed with Hollywood goliaths and past collaborators, as the voice of Jabari, a graffiti artist that’s inked a fresh deal with a major comic publisher in New York City. He moves into a gorgeous open concept flat in Manhattan, shortly thereafter meeting Meadow, an up-and-coming street photographer that just so happens to be his next-door neighbor.

The plot follows the quintessential rom-com format — Jabari is woken up to blaring music in the apartment over, tosses his slides on and angrily muscles his way through a sea of inebriation only to find out that the owner is the girl of his dreams. She asks if she could treat him to lunch the next morning, setting up a high-fashion love story that sees sparks fly and go haywire in the span of ninety minutes.

Yvonne Tang | Senior Graphic Artist

The special is well worth the watch. Literal paintings in motion make for a visual experience worth a thousand Netflix subscriptions and the off-kilter artisphere entices the viewer into a rom-com story that feels as refreshing as cold water on a sunny day. Timothée Chalamet and Ty Dolla $ign also play Jabari’s best friends, so if you were still looking for a selling point to hammer the pitch home, there it is.

Behind all of the cutesy overtones of “Entergalactic,” it is an ode to the fruits that are to be picked from working within the creative sphere. Jabari and Meadow aren’t painted out to be the stereotypical struggling artists that Hollywood loves to write around. The pair relishes in success from the very beginning of the special, and their upper echelon lifestyles seem natural rather than birthed from luck or a one-in-a-million chance. The writers attach material success to artistry without ever blatantly touching on it, normalizing the pursuit of a dream rather than pushing the stigma of aspiring artists as people who are in over their heads — it’s really cool to see.

Jabari and Meadow are starving artists who have found material success because they’ve stayed true to their craft. The former refuses to sell out when hired by Cosmic Comics amid urges to rebrand his gritty “Mr. Rager” character in accordance with the lighthearted company brand, and the latter — already well-established through her independent work — reaffirms his resolution.

Because of that determination, both characters are living in state-of-the-art Manhattan lofts as if they belong there. They ball out at extravagant clubs and attend exclusive art parties as if it’s another day at the office. There is never a moment within the special’s run time where any individual doesn’t exude confidence with every word or movement as if to say “I know exactly what I’m doing, and I’m winning as a result,” and it inspires meager music journalists like me to trust the process and keep trudging along.

I think what Cudi did here is uber-significant if we’re to open the gates of closed-mindedness and stop scaring the hopeful away from turning fantasy into reality. The motif of an artist hitting it big against all odds is getting a little stale, and normalizing artistic success in film and television would see young adults viewing a creative path as a viable career choice rather than an idealization.

In any event, give “Entergalactic” a spin if you haven’t yet. I’m as sad as the next guy about Cudi saying that he might put his music career to rest on “Hot Ones,” but if that means he’ll be pumping out more stuff like this, I’d be a very happy camper.

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