Nick Cannon Flexing His Mogul Muscle In Hollywood

'Drumline' star directs video, launches sketch-comedy show

While many folks born in 1980 are still deciding what to do with their lives, Nick Cannon is working on his next move as a Hollywood player.

We last saw him acting alongside Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere in last year's "Shall We Dance," but he recently took the jump from thespian to director with his video for the song "Can I Live."

"I shot it like a short film and I only had a one-day shoot," shared the multi-tasking Cannon. "I had 50 setups in one day and the whole narrative to pull off. It was definitely an ambitious goal, but we achieved it."

Tatyana Ali ("The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air") plays an 18-year-old pregnant mother, who's deciding what to do outside of an abortion clinic. "Can I Live" is from the perspective of the baby inside her stomach telling her that he needs to live. The video's script — based on the story of Cannon's mother who was 18 when she had him — doesn't sound too much like Nickelodeon's fun-loving "All That" actor.

"I'm definitely light-spirited, but I just felt like my music had to have a little more depth," the "Drumline" star explained. "It's fun having songs about parties and gigolos, but I really wanted to use my music as a form of art. Art is supposed to spark conversation and make people think, and I wanted to do that with this song."

"Can I Live" isn't the only thing sparking conversation these days, as Cannon's stock is quickly rising in Tinseltown. After beginning as an actor and writer for Nickelodeon, Cannon has opened his own film and television production company called Mr. Renaissance Entertainment, and has sold several scripts. The most recent sale happened to be to his mentor, Will Smith.

"I have a movie coming out August 26 called 'The Underclassman.' ... I just sold something that has me and Lindsay Lohan attached to Revolution that myself and Adam Sandler's Happy Madison are producing called 'Blindsided.' And I also just sold a script called 'Extra Protection' to Universal, and Will Smith is producing it."

Cannon is also training for a boxing film that "Honey" writers Alonzo Brown and Kim Watson are still finishing up. Each day he does cardio and lifts weights while making sure he packs in 5,000-6,000 calories. Aside from counting calories, Cannon has begun counting jokes, as his sketch comedy show "Wild'n Out" begins airing on MTV July 13.

"I was doing stand-up with my friends, and we always play improv games and act silly," Cannon explained. "I was like, 'It'd be amazing if somebody could capture this and make a TV show.' And that's exactly what I did. I just took my own money and rented out a club, promoted it, got some cameras and put it together. I shot it myself and then sold it to MTV."

Meanwhile, back on the music front, Nick has been working on a few songs for longtime girlfriend Christina Milian's next album.

"My relationship is great," Cannon assured. "That's my best friend. She's actually featured on a song on my album, 'You Remind Me.' I'm more on the producer side of her album. I just love writing songs with her."

Nick also did most of the production for his own upcoming album, Stages, with a little help from the seemingly omnipresent Kanye West.

"The only person I've worked with on my album was Kanye," Cannon said. "And between the stuff that I've done and the stuff that he's assisted on and produced for me for this album, I don't even need anything else."

Stages is due in the fall.