Artist Kid Cudi takes marketing to the next level with his Netflix animated romantic comedy “Entergalactic,” which features songs from his new album of the same name. What was originally intended to be a series was turned into a 94-minute television special, filled with the familiar voices of popular actors and talented musicians, such as Timothée Chalamet (“Little Women”) and 070 Shake. What is surprising is that what appeared to be a promotional device is much more: It is an entertaining and relatively meaningful piece about the struggles of balancing love and work. Not to mention that the animation is extremely visually appealing, and the soundtrack perfectly fits the plotline.
Within the first scene, the audience is introduced to Jabari (Kid Cudi, “Westworld”), a street artist who has recently received an opportunity to have his work turned into a comic. With a new job and a significantly larger salary, he moves into a glamorous apartment in New York City. However, we quickly realize that Jabari doesn’t quite fit into this new lifestyle: He’s a pothead who rides a bike everywhere, eats Chinese food out of the carton and re-wears the same articles of clothing (and not because he’s an animated character).
In fact, this new life of luxury and increased social status seems to be a lot for Jabari to wrap his head around, so much so that after rekindling his relationship with his ex-girlfriend, he tells her that he isn’t in a place to make a relationship work. That is, until he meets his neighbor Meadow (Jessica Williams, “Love Life”), a free-spirited photographer. Instantly upon seeing her, Cudi’s “Angel” begins to play in the background, and Jabari’s whole bachelor mentality goes out the window. He is completely entranced by this heavenly woman, and whether or not he wants to admit it, Jabari is smitten by the girl next door.
For those who are fans of Kid Cudi, “Entergalactic” is a must-watch. It is entertaining regardless of one’s knowledge of the musician; however, there are various allusions to his work that fans will especially appreciate. For example, the street work Jabari gains recognition for are murals of a character named “Mr. Rager,” which is also the title of a single from Cudi’s album Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager. For both Cudi and Jabari, Mr. Rager represents an alternate identity that surfaces at times of peak creativity.
One could argue that the plot of “Entergalactic” mimics that of nearly every love story, but the series’s colorful visuals and “vibey” music sets it apart from the rest. It’s also refreshing to come across an adult animated rom-com with a character like Jabari who, similar to the rest of us, is just trying to figure his life out. He may be an animation, but he is considerably easy to relate to, which is only made more evident through the show’s visuals. With its intense colors and electric patterns, the animation illuminates Jabari’s emotions, making the story that much more powerful.
Some may remain skeptical of this series and rightfully so: it is strangely the length of a film and essentially the promotion for a music album. Additionally, it consists of trippy animation and an emotive storyline, which are two very overstimulating things. Nonetheless, it is these relatively unusual aspects that make “Entergalactic” a success and, inevitably, the first of its kind. Thus, it can be said that “Entergalactic,” both the animation and the album, display a culmination of Cudi’s creativity.
Daily Arts Writer Molly Hirsch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.