He’s not claiming to be “The King of Rock” but Jaden Smith just dropped his major label debut, Syre and it’s pretty damn interesting and original. It’s also a take on his full name, Jaden Christopher Syre Smith. But, while his father [The Fresh Prince] is arguably considered a pioneer in the genre, Jaden shows he is no different, with a vibrant display of versatility and distinction.
Syre is more than a concept album, although you might think otherwise from the track list, with the first four tracks spelling out “B,” “L,” “U,” “E,” but individually they’re much deeper than what’s on the surface. The first is a sweet lullaby featuring Willow Smith and Pia Mia, who sing on the three-minute electronic rap track. The second is a much wavier electronic-tinged track featuring Norwegian producer Peder Losnegård, a.k.a. Lido, that allows Jaden to tap into his internal monologue. Jaden shows that he might even be capable of spitting as fast and concurrently as Stormzy, as gospel singers chime in before the track descends into electronic madness. The four-part track ends with a slow David Gilmour-like guitar licks as Jaden raps over this emotional melody.
A$AP Rocky jumps in for a verse on the two-part track “Breakfast” which provides listeners with just a sneak peek at young Jaden’s true potential. I mean, he must have been a samurai in a past life or something, because his bars really cut deep on this heavy drum beat. And this isn’t the first time the two have worked together. Jaden previously appeared on A$AP Mob‘s Cozy Tapes Vol. II.
The album continues with “Hope” an inspirational six-minute rap over trap-heavy beats, which fade into the sounds of bells chiming silently, before coming back in hard and fast with the electronic drum and bass-filled track, “Falcon” featuring Atlanta R&B/soul singer-songwriter Raury.
“Icon” might as well have been the album’s lead single, because on it’s own it’s just too hot to handle. Looking beyond the incredibly well-sampled wail of Cab Calloway, from his song, “The Hi De Ho Man,” the track is exactly what it says it is… it’s iconic.
That’s right. We may truly be seeing a rap superstar in the making, but Jaden is also a multi-talented young man with a lot of potential and at just 19-years-old, when he should be thinking about school and books, he’s already got things pretty well made and it looks as though he could be on the fast-track to becoming a hip-hop heavyweight.
It also features such other noteworthy tracks as “Batman,” “Fallen,” “The Passion” and the title track, “Syre,” a spoken word story-song that tells of his life as a “beautiful confusion,” a story of feeling misunderstood at a time of awkward adolescence.
Jaden Smith may have more than just a “career” in hip-hop… he has a real calling, one that can be felt through each track of the album. Whatever the future brings, we hope this is only the start of what’s to come from the young rapper.
STREAM: JADEN SMITH – ‘SYRE’