SYRE — Jaden Smith

Jennifer Franco, Staff Writer

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I want to start by saying that I didn’t know was that Jaden Smith had previously done other projects in music such as Cool Tape Vol. 2(CTV2) and his This Is The Album EP, and after hearing them they’re honestly pretty good and from what I had gotten from Smith up to that point was that he was a thinker who merely wished to translate his thoughts into mediums of expression.

Many people have always said a lot of different things about Jaden Smith, saying that the things he says aren’t substantial. Well that should change as he strikes big with his debut album SYRE which is powerful and sharply produced. Smith has been working on the album for three years.

Smith starts his album with not just one opening song but four track openers, technically speaking, which are “BLUE” (stylized “B,” “L,” “U,” and “E”). Off the bat Smith showcases such incredible growth that is apparent through the musicality, experimental vocal cadences and pitches, and precise focus that was displayed on verses that he uttered throughout the four tracks.

‘B,’ bringing the album to a fantastic start with a beautiful intro before Smith enters the track dramatically. ‘L’ takes a darker step forward, as Smith raps about overcoming stigmas against both himself – as the album tries to do – and in society. ‘U’ supplies an anthemic vibe, with an incredible build that has Smith going absolutely off as it goes on. Finishing off with ‘E,’ with a folky intro that leads into a song which raps about fame. It’s a powerful way to kick the album off. It was a phenomenal opener, and one that catches the attention.

The rest of SYRE definitely keeps things up. There really isn’t a bad moment on the record; lots of places could use more, but there’s nothing definitively dragging it down. Smith’s music does not shy away from his influences. Hints of Childish Gambino, Kid Cudi, and Kanye West reign supreme. He is very blatant in showcasing his interpretations of his idols, even stating on the track “Icon” that he “owes it all to Cudi and to Tycho.” On a tracks like “Watch Me,” it is very easy to see the resemblance to Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead” off of his Yeezus LP. It is also intriguing to see the resemblance to Kid Cudi’s song “Surfin,’” off of his recent LP Passion, Pain, and Demon Slayin’. Other tracks such as “George Jeff” showcase even more similarities to artists like Childish Gambino, and how he utilized his skill set on a track such as “I.The Party.”

Smith incorporates such various styles that it creates an enjoyable listen. Jaden Smith shows his maturity in SYRE. It’s a great hip-hop record for a genre that’s becoming too safe, and he really wears his mind on his sleeve here. SYRE presents this nineteen year old who is attempting to do something that strays away from conventional formulas, and inspires a new generation to do the same.  Smith elects to not solely follow trends. Rather, what he offers is his own interpretation of these styles in an attempt to create sounds and music that drastically differ from the pool of new music we receive day in and day out. And on that front, SYRE is a successful record and one that has immense potential in kick-starting the career of Jaden Smith as more than just the son of Will Smith. Jaden Smith definitely is becoming an artist not to mess with.