Kid Cudi pulled out of his tour dates opening for Lady Gaga because of conflicts with his “acting commitments” (although we still suspect that punch he threw at a fan had something to do with it). Now you can see if his exit from the hugely successful Monster Ball tour was worth it: by catching his performance in HBO’s new show How To Make It In America. The dramedy, which premieres this Sunday at 10 p.m., features Cudi in his first acting role. (Unless you count his portrayal as a daily herb user in his video for “Cudderisback” all an act for the cameras. If so, then just call the man Stanislavski, hand him an Emmy and book him on Inside the Actor’s Studio!) Catch a clip of Cudi in the first episode below:
Cudi—who goes by his real name, Scott Mescudi, in the credits—plays Domingo Dean (a name inspired by the names of his two brothers), a New Yorker helping his two buddies start a fashion line. This is his longest scene in the first episode (which you can watch in full here), and although it’s brief, it’s a promising start:
How To Make It In America – Clip 1
Cudi may be enjoying tons of success as a rapper—he was nominated for three Grammys and is working with just about every major artist currently on the charts—but he recently spoke to MTV about finding a release in acting that he couldn’t quite find in music:
“The fact that everybody is finally getting to see me act and stuff is part of my dream coming true. It’s just really dope, and people could see me be silly. My album was so deep and serious, and that was just me showing my dark side… Acting is therapeutic — just being able to pretend to be somebody else for a little bit, it’s dope.”
“This guy’s raw talent,” his co-star Victor Rasuk says of Cudi in a recent interview. “When I started acting, people would say the same thing about me. So, to see Kid and to see him go from just, ‘Oh, I got a part on this show, I’m going to try to act’ to really taking it seriously and flourishing and growing has been an amazing transition.”
Rave reviews by cast members aside, Cudi worried that his newfound side gig might somehow hurt his street cred in the hip-hop world. Says Cudi: “I would dip away from sessions with Kanye and go rehearse my lines when nobody was around, because I was very self-conscious and I didn’t want them to see me and make fun of me.”
The show even has its own mixtape, featuring Cudi, Junkie XL, Lupe Fiasco, Jadakiss and more. You can download all the tracks from the How To Make It In America mixtape for free at the source.