Jaden Smith is a young actor, rapper, singer, self-acclaimed fashion visionary and Twitter prophet. His debut album, “SYRE,” dropped Nov. 17 from Roc Nation and was three years in the making. Its dreamlike cover art has Smith lying down and looking out onto a pink sunrise (or set) with big yellow letters spelling ‘SYRE’ in the middle. This closely parallels the deep vibe Smith has ardently attempted to convey.
The 17 songs follow many formats that his hip-hop contemporaries have already coined. He overlays altered vocals to create a choir-like feel in “L” that is similar to Kanye West and pulls beats back slowly to sing in a Frank Ocean fashion with translucent lyrics in “U.” Similarly, Smith wears the influences from artists such as Travi$ Scott, Kendrick Lamar and Migos on his album’s sleeve. This poses the question of just how original his art is. It is difficult to pick out any stylistic, melodic or lyrical choice that is specific to him or has never been heard before.
After analyzing the lyrics, it is clear the entire piece is purely aesthetic since most of the content on the album has already been heard elsewhere. Regardless of the album’s underwhelming nature, Smith doesn’t hesitate to relate himself to many a musical legends such as when he spits, “Girl, I’m Martin Luther, Martin Luther King,” “K. Dot is comin’ out of me” or “Jimi Hendrix with the flex.” He also has an entire track — “George Jeff” — dedicated to being a modern George Jefferson. He focuses heavily on how he is quickly making his way to the apex of the music business, conveniently ignoring the fact that he was born in an extremely high tier. This ego can be heard throughout all of “SYRE.”
“SYRE” fits perfectly into what one can assume Smith meant by the phrase “A Beautiful Confusion” because regardless of his neglect to produce genuine content, there is potential. Tracks like “Icon” and “The Passion” provide a youthful, energetic vibe that can definitely be channeled into something real. This is only Smith’s debut, and there is clearly potential in his thoughts and conspiracies, as well as the risks in terms of format that he is willing to make, for him to advance musically.
Email Avani Jurakhan at [email protected]