Jaden Smith is known by many for various reasons like being Will Smith’s son, a controversial meme and as a musical artist/actor. Many are quick to criticize Jaden as an artist as many are under the assumption that he is only famous or known due to the high profile of his father however, it is undeniable that from what we have seen so far, he has a much more promising career than his father.
In his newly released debut album ‘Syre’ (entitled after his middle name) Smith collaborates with artists ‘A$AP Rocky’, ‘Willow Smith’ and ‘Raury’ to create what he believes to be his “confessions” on “808’s” and has sold more than 20,000 albums in the first week of release and is currently 24th in the billboard top 200. This is a concrete start considering this is his first official album.
It is clear to see the progress made between Smith’s debut in 2010 with his feature on Justin Bieber’s “never say never” and his own breakout song in 2012, “Pumped Up Kicks (Like Me)” which lacked substance and character in comparison to his debut single ‘Fallen’ off of ‘Syre’ released on Youtube in December 2016 to tease the idea of a new album.
The first four tracks on the album only have one letter each and are placed in order to create ‘Blue’. Now, whilst you may think this is done so that the listener can have a crack at guessing Smith’s favourite colour or mood, the real purpose is to create a musical journey that lasts thirteen minutes as each part plays off of the former but also still manages to sound pretty good when separated. The final part of the quartet ‘E’ gives us a strong ‘Childish Gambino’ vibe, one of Jaden’s earliest collaborators and influences.
Jaden first collaborated with artist ‘Childish Gambino’ in 2014 with ‘Late Night in Kauai’ and it is clear to see his influence throughout ‘Syre’ especially through tracks such as ‘Ninety’ and ‘Lost Boy’ which posit intricately mixed vocals and lyrics to create a chilled vibe and to convey Jaden’s existential crisis.
“When I open my eyes, I wish to see you
But your phone doesn't ring and you're gone all the time”
Another past collaborative artist we can draw parallels from is ‘Tyler The Creator’ who Smith worked with on his recent album ‘Flower Boy’. This influence can be heard in the music of ‘George Jeff’ which has that ‘hard’ beat and multiple ‘screeches’ in the background normally associated with Tyler’s music.
For those who get tired of heartache and chill vibes, Smith brings in the heat with tracks such as ‘Falcon’ ‘Watch Me’ and ‘Icon’ which are slowly but surely making their way through the charts with ‘Icon’ also reaching 8million views on youtube within a week.
These songs I believe, are perfect for a club or just something to get a party going. They are a hype man’s dream with the amount of energy each one produces and I can only imagine the atmosphere they create live.
A final honourable mention on the album is the song ‘Batman’, very similar in style to Drake’s ‘Jumpman’. This song created a lot of controversy with people upon release with accusations that Jaden had ‘stolen’ Drake’s flow and because he also dressed up as a ‘white Batman’ in the video. Regardless, the song is still fire and is, in my opinion, brilliant.
Overall I score the album very highly. If I was to score it higher it would need to have had included more artist collaborations to spice it up a little e.g. Tyler The Creator or at the very least given more space to A$AP Rocky to add a verse on the track ‘Breakfast’ to include more of a diversity of styles within the album.
I give it a solid,