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REVIEW: Jaden Smith’s “Syre”

Julissa Castillo, Contributing Writer

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On Friday, Nov. 17, rapper Jaden Smith released his debut studio album, Syre, through MSFTSMusic and Roc Nation. The album consists of 17 tracks and the genres include alternative hip-hop, electronica, and R&B. It features artists A$AP Rocky and Raury, as well as vocals provided by Pia Mia, Kevin Abstract, and Jaden’s sister, Willow.

Smith is the son of actors Jada Pinkett and Will Smith. His acting career began in 2006, alongside his father’s roles at times, and branched out as he grew older. In 2010, he started his music career as a feature in Justin Bieber’s “Never Say Never,” but in 2012, he began creating underground.

Smith began this project in 2014, and struggled with it for a while. In an interview with Complex, he said, “I realized that ‘Syre’ was the answer, what I had to move forward with. People love to just talk about me by name and say, ‘Oh, Jaden Smith this, Jaden Smith that.’ It’s time for a new awakening and a new consciousness. Anybody who thinks they know me, this album’s something completely different from what they think.”

Syre begins with a four song opener, each named by a single letter, that spells out “BLUE” and they altogether sound like one cohesive song. It starts with Willow Smith singing about God’s creation of mankind and then breaks into different themes such social justice, emotional turmoil, privilege, and how Smith is viewed in society. Smith constantly changes the vibes in this album, especially in this opener, from a ballad to trap to soft rock and everywhere else he could think of. In “E”, he says, “Man I swear the city hate the melanin / just how I hate the weapons that they sellin’ ‘em.”

“Man I swear the city hate the melanin / just how I hate the weapons that they sellin’ ‘em.””

Smith’s fifth single, “Icon,” gives him the platform to brag about his accomplishments. On the date of his album release, he released the music video to this song. The production of this song is strictly trap and is upbeat to create the proper platform for Jaden to prove himself. He, “What you call an icon livin’? / Start a record label, MSFTS just did it / Nylon cover, five minutes, whoa / We too hot in the business / Bout to make a movie independent / Need new trucks, independent / I need you to listen to the vision” and refers to himself as a walking icon.

Smith discusses all of his emotions, feelings, and struggles in unique and different styles/genres. This project is made to go against the grain, to be different. It perfectly resembles Jaden Smith and who he is inside and out. Some might say this album shows how scatterbrained Jaden is, but others might argue that there is beauty in the mess of the album, it is the reality of a young adult in the society we live in today.

Listen to Syre on Spotify, TIDAL, and Apple Music.

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REVIEW: Jaden Smith’s “Syre”