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Criticism: ‘Entergalactic’: Kid Cudi’s last album and first film

Arts+criticism+writer%26%23160%3BShea+Kissell+reviews+Kid+Cudis+debut+animated+film+Entergalactic.
Via IMDb

Arts criticism writer Shea Kissell reviews Kid Cudi’s debut animated film “Entergalactic.”

Film rating: 4/10
Album rating: 7/10

Sept. 30 showed itself to be a memorable day for rap music releases; big names such as Denzel Curry, Freddie Gibbs, Lucki and Kankan all dropped new music. But only one release came alongside a 90-minute animated Netflix film: Kid Cudi’s “Entergalactic.” 

Cudi dropped onto the scene in the late 2000s with a cosign from Kanye West, and would come to release melodic rap classics such as “The Man on the Moon” trilogy, and a critically acclaimed 2018 collaborative album with his previously mentioned mentor, “KIDS SEE GHOSTS.” Now, Cudi shifts into the world of visual arts with the release of “Entergalactic,” his 8th studio album with a film counterpart on Netflix. 

“Entergalactic,” the album, is not to be confused for a film soundtrack, as Cudi explained on Twitter.

“Entergalactic is a Kid Cudi album. Not a soundtrack.” Cudi said. “This is another beautiful solo effort I think [you] all will enjoy.”

The album is Cudi’s most atmospheric work yet, containing 15 songs and multiple features from other stars like Ty Dolla $ign and Don Toliver. However, his sound hasn’t changed much since his 2020 release, “Man on the Moon III: The Chosen.” This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but don’t go into this album expecting anything new or innovative. “Entergalactic” might as well be another sequel in the “Man on the Moon” saga. 

Cudi’s signature psychedelic voice is utilized well in tracks like “In Love” and “She’s Lookin’ For Me,” and Dot da Genius delivers some standout production on “Willing to Trust” and “Angel,” among others. 

While “Entergalactic” may not be the album of the year, it serves its purpose well as a decent collection of songs to put some headphones on and space out to, or to pump through the car stereos on a night drive. It’s received generally positive critical acclaim, with Pitchfork bestowing a 6.5 rating and calling it “purely enjoyable.” 

The cinematic component of the release has managed to find success as well. The TV-MA animated film was co-created by Cudi and TV Producer Kenya Barris, and stars the rapper himself, his friends Timothee Chalamet and Ty Dolla Sign, and Jessica Williams. It follows the romantic adventures of Jabari and Meadow, two Manhattan neighbors and artists who are trying to find balance in the chaos of life. 

The animation style is much like that of 2018’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” Any single frame of the film can serve as its own piece of artwork. But the smoothness of the characters’ movements are frustratingly inconsistent, and at some points distractingly choppy. At the very least, it takes away from the unique vision behind the film’s visuals, heavily inspired by the late fashion legend Virgil Abloh, who was a close friend of Cudi’s.

As for the writing, it’s no Oscar-winner. The plot is predictable, and the characters are shallow. Imagine a cookie-cutter romance between two gentrifiers. The music gets tied in with the story, but watching the movie doesn’t really add anything to the listening experience. 

However, like the album, “Entergalatic” the movie offers some innocent, casual enjoyment. There are a couple funny moments, and some beautiful visual counterparts for some of the songs. If you’re interested in following Cudi’s career, or just a diehard fan, it might be worth checking out, but it’s definitely not necessary to watch the movie to get the full experience out of the album. 

The film has gained better reception than the album, including both a 95% positive score from both critics and audience on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 7.5 rating on IMDb

This won’t be the rapper’s last contribution to film and television, but it might be his last to music. In an interview with Apple Music, Cudi said he was growing tired of making music, and wanted to focus on visual arts, like film and fashion. 

“I kind of want to put [music-making] on the back burner … I think I kind of want to be done with it,” Cudi said. 

So whether Kid Cudi is just taking a break from music, or closing the door on it all together, he’s left behind a replayable, catchy, cosmic farewell album, with a mediocre Netflix original film to go along with it. 
 

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