“I learned a lot from the experience [of making] a show like this — it’s the first time where you actually have no boundaries on what you can say,” says the “iSpy” rapper.
Kyle wants to prove that he does, in fact, have the range.
As an MC with a Billboard Hot 100 top 10 hit to his name (the bubbly “iSpy,” featuring Lil Yachty, which peaked at No. 4 in 2017), as well as a burgeoning actor (he played the lead in the Netflix film The After Party), the Ventura, Calif. native is adding another bullet point to his resumé as the host and co-producer of Fuse’s first adult animated series, Sugar and Toys.
The show — helmed by The Boondocks and Black Dynamite producers, Carl Jones and Brian Ash, and which premieres on June 9 at 11:00 pm ET — features Kyle as a woke jokester, who can trade punchlines with Gerald "Slink" Johnson (who plays the title character in the Adult Swim show Black Jesus) one minute and rock a rainbow wig mocking Tekashi 6ix9ine the next. The program itself has no reservations about shading Kyle’s peers: Take the sketch called “The Lil’s” that pokes fun at every rapper with a “Lil” stage name, or another that Lego-fies Donald Glover’s hit show Atlanta.
The show’s forte, though, is turning loaded social commentary about immigration, race and politics into unfiltered KaBlam!-esque shorts with a hip-hop flair. If seeing Donald Trump as a nagging orange T-Rex is your type of entertainment, Sugar and Toys may be for you.
“I wouldn't even call [the show] controversial, because it's actually real and we're just interpreting it in a funny way,” Kyle told Billboard on Monday night (June 3) in his green room during an intimate Los Angeles screening event for the show.
He also contemplated the creative risk of having his musical brand attached to the show. “I was almost trying to pull back on it a little bit, ‘cause I've never stepped into this world before," he says. "I've always been the rapper that's just a nice guy. And then it felt kind of good and fun to just let it go and be like, yeah, fuck it, let's make Trump a dinosaur. He's a fucking monster. Let's talk about Kanye tweeting crazy shit.”
While Sugar and Toys aims to present trending topics as a Sunday-night comedy with Saturday-morning cartoon antics, Kyle hopes to simultaneously shake up his rap persona with this endeavor. "I learned a lot from the experience [of making] a show like this — it's the first time where you actually have no boundaries on what you can say, and that's a weird thing as a creative,” he said. “Even in my songs, sometimes, there'll be a story I don't want to tell or an opinion I don't want to give, because I don't want to hurt somebody's feelings. But this is not about that. This is about making fun of serious issues."
Kyle’s early memories with animation included munching on Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs while watching shows like Ed, Edd n Eddy, and SpongeBob SquarePants — which both get spoofed in Sugar and Toys as Ye, Yeezy N Yeezus and SludgeBlob DespairPants, respecctively. “Cartoons were such an instrumental part of my life like every other little kid. There’s a lot of shit I learned from cartoons,” he said. He hopes to create similarly impactful experiences for audiences tuning in to Sugar and Toys as well.
As for his main hustle, Kyle says that working on a risk-taking show helped him expand his creativity for his forthcoming sophomore album — and worry less about his nice-guy persona. "I think in the rap world, you want people to fuck with you so much that you care about it so much. I've kind of reached a point where I think I don't care if people like me. You can't please everyone," he said. "At the same time, with just my love of comedy, being a part of something like this [show] is awesome. So making this new album, I'm definitely giving less fucks than I gave before because I'm already making this cartoon show that's gonna flame everybody. So I might as well just get ready."