I remember a time when Jaden Smith’s cryptic tweets would puzzle me to the point of a headache. While some tweets threw me for a loop, others were advanced and forward thinking. Jaden won me over some time ago when he first spoke about his movement with MSFTRep (Misfit Republic). The self-proclaimed divergent thinker, has grown from being only the son of Will and Jada Smith, the Karate Kid to the man that we see today. Stepping onto his own throne, Jaden’s gift to us, SYRE, is an album that never becomes too congested or perplexed. That’s one thing that I really loved about the album, one concise, controlled, and easy-to-follow sound.
Taking the same New-Age thinking that he shares with his sister Willow, and putting it on wax was genius. Crediting Frank Ocean’s ‘Blonde’ and Kanye’s ‘The Life of Pablo’ as inspirations for his debut, the 17-track project is sonically aesthetic. The opening track for the album (‘B’,’L’,’U’,’E’) which cuts up in four parts, shows just how the mind of Jaden works. Tapping both his sister Willow and singer Pia Mia for the cinematic opening track, singing of the creation of man and the lack of sleep without Ny-Quil. However, like his tweets some of Jaden’s rap lines are questionable. On the tracks “L” and “U,” Jaden not only manages to put Martin Luther King and Kama Sutra in the same sentence. ““Girl I’m Martin Luther, Martin Luther King/Life is hard, I’m Kamasutra-ing.” But in the following track, Jaden tops of that line with a reference to an artichoke. “Man I’m artichokin’/I can’t breathe, that’s the art of chokin’.” It is evident that Jaden isn’t the next J. Cole, but the lyrics are fun to decipher.
Working with A$AP Rocky on “Breakfast,” Raury on “Falcon” and even inviting his girlfriend Odessa Adlon on “Lost Boys,” Jaden accomplished one thing that he said he wanted to do.” I really wanted to be like Kanye and work with a bunch of artists,” Jaden shared during an interview with Billboard. The album is quite personal to Jaden, aside from inviting his family and friends to be a part of the 3-year in the making project, he named the album after his middle name. He admits that it is a story of him “coming to be a young adult” and how it “wasn’t easy at all.” Topics of Police Brutality, drug abuse and him avoiding the path of misogyny in hip-hop can be heard over folk, 70s Rock and Techno music. “I’m exploring all genres [of music],” Jaden said as he hopes to collaborate with K-pop musicians in the near future. “I’m going to get so0me of my favorite artists on some songs with me, so that’s going to be the start of my K-pop career.”
Listening to Jaden sing and rap about a menagerie of different topics can be a little unnerving at first. Talks of the Illuminati and a reference to 9/11, would make you believe you are listening to some pre-adolescent conspiracy theorist who just discovered the weird side of YouTube. SYRE is beautiful, and confusing just like his tweets. The beginning of a new era, new music, and a way of life.