Steven Universe Creator Rebecca Sugar on Working With Chance the Rapper

Before Steven Universe: The Movie premiered on Cartoon Network this past Monday, few details were known about the film. Folks knew there was a time skip, that it was a musical, and a couple smaller details had already been revealed -- including the fact that Chance the Rapper helped out with some of the music. That collaboration was, according to creator Rebecca Sugar, an amazing experience.

Ahead of the premiere, ComicBook.com had a chance to speak with Sugar about all things Steven Universe from what might come next to specific spoilers about the inspiration for the film. In addition to all this, we asked her about what it was like to work with Chance, and Sugar revealed that his impact on the movie was a significant one.

steven universe movie review cropped hed
(Photo: Cartoon Network)

ComicBook.com: Chance the Rapper is listed as a co-EP and has having worked on some music for the special. How did that happen, and what was it like to work with him?

Rebecca Sugar: Oh, it was amazing to work with Chance. I had met him previously. I went to a concert. I went to the Be Encouraged Tour and got to spend time with him and asked if he would be interested in collaborating with me on this, and he said yes. So, I flew to Chicago and came to his studio. We started talking about the themes of the movie and my goals for it. The song that I worked on with him was the first of all the songs I wrote for the musical, so working with him also really informed how I approached every song after.

As a songwriter, I studied animation and drawing. When I think about drawing, I really understand how all the little nuances make a really massive difference, like the texture of a line or the difference between a slightly more furrowed set of eyebrows. All these subtle expressive techniques for drawing stand out to me when I look at a drawing. I don't have that for music. But when I went and talked to Chance, there were so many subtle suggestions he made about how to approach the song that really opened my mind, things like what you're thinking about as you're singing and how that affects the way that you sing, or subtle changes in rhythm that make something go from sultry to playful.

We started working on "True Kinda Love" together, which he had a huge hand in. He really wanted to capture this feeling of a kid swinging their arms, this really free, positive feeling that had to do with the rhythm of the word true and just the mentality of it. It was amazing to me how what you're thinking could change so much about a song because when I write songs, I'm like, "Here are the lyrics. Here are the chords." It was very bare bones for me. That really changed my whole way of thinking. The execution now, it's clear to me how crucial it is. I started to think about music a lot more like the way that I think about drawing where the subtlest changes can really alter the character of a piece of music.

*****

0comments

Have you watched the movie? Or maybe just listened to the soundtrack? What do you think of it? Let us know in the comments, or hit me up directly on Twitter at @rollinbishop to talk all things animation! You can also check out our full review of the film, which we gave 5 out of 5, right here.

Steven Universe: The Movie premiered earlier this week on Cartoon Network. The official soundtrack and digital version of the movie are available wherever such things are sold, and the soundtrack specifically is available to stream on a number of platforms. You can check out all of our previous coverage of the film right here.

Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.