A Syre Searching for his Own KingdoM
When Jaden Smith first burst on the scene as a rapper it was hard to take him serious. The formula actor turned rapper has rarely worked, with the exception of Drake. Furthermore, few actors could shake the image left from being seen as a certain character. If you don't believe me ask Orlando Brown who played Eddie on that's so Raven. Jaden Smith has seen this same thing happen to him because of movie roles from movies like "The Pursuit of Happyness" where even in his acting debut he was overshadowed by his father. A shadow he has been looking to get from out of ever since. Even in his rap debut from the movie soundtrack The Karate Kid Jaden being taken serious as a rapper was a hard thing to do. By the time Jaden had returned for his second attempt at a rap career the damage had already been done. The acting, the controversial outfits he wore, and the modeling magazine career cumulated into Jaden's return to rap more like a gimmick or parody act than a charting topping rapper. Add on top of this his father is the unanimous prince of hip-hop, and it's easy to see why Jaden Smith has been seen as a young kid always searching for his crown and more importantly his kingdom. But with Jaden's recent release "Syre" Jaden proves that his book on rap royalty is far from being finished.
The album starts out with the track 'B' which is a lullaby like intro sung by both Willow Smith and Pia Mia (which aren't credited on the track). The track 'B' is the first of a 4-song intro which spells out 'B-L-U-E' but it's not until the 2nd track 'L' that we actually hear Jaden Smith rap his first bars. As soon as Jaden starts to spit my ears perked. This is unexpected. This is his truth.
And I'm sorry mama, know you taught me better
Throughout the album there are a lot of musical influences that can be heard. For example, 'Watch Me' which samples from Kanye West's 'Black Skinhead' is a very rock influenced track and carries on the feel that Kanye set in the original track. He also pays homage to Kanye's "30 hours" which features a shoutout outro which Jaden incorporates on his track 'Lost Boy' while shoutingout some of his people. On the track 'Ninety' Jaden seems to be influenced by OVO artists PartyNextDoor, with a smooth vibe Jaden sings the chorus about finding the perfect one. There's also a pretty funny skit at 3:06 where he frantically goes to the recorder because mid-verse the tape is no longer recording. On the track 'The Passion' Jaden seems to be influenced by Travis Scott using auto-tune and an aggressive delivery. and even a little spoken word at the end.
There are not too many artists credited on the album as far as collaborations. On the track 'Breakfast' which features A$AP Rocky is more of a dialogue between the two and not a true collaboration with both rapping or singing. Raury is the true standout feature on the track 'Falcon' who not only sings on the bridge but also spits a nice 8 bars as well.
Hope is the stand out track of the album. It feels like Jaden has found his own lane on this track and a catches a pocket that is just right for him.
Instruments play a big part in the production of Syre. Throughout the albums you can hear the emphasis on live instrumentation such instruments as the guitar can be heard on 'Lost Boy'. Or other sounds like the church organ on 'Fallen' and 'The Passion'. Many albums I feel don't put this extra care into the production but I feel like this makes the album that more enjoyable.
'Fallen' is the love track of the album where Jaden is expresses his affection and attraction to a significant other believed to be his now current girlfriend Odessa Adlon. Love is a strong word.
She said, "love is a strong word"
Some of the more upbeat tracks of the album are 'George Jeff' and 'Rapper' where it sounds like he is trying to make a statement about his position in the rap game before the end of the album, Most rappers would wind down the sound to a softer tone but Jaden throws out some braggadocios lyrics and throws a few subliminals. It is possible.
Syre has many different concept such as being the hero Bruce Wayne in the track 'Batman'. Another example is his repeated reference to his brother being shot on songs 'Ninety', 'Fallen', and the title track 'Syre'. But most importantly with Syre Jaden seems like him, comfortable and in a lane of his own. Although Jaden still doesn't have that 'Summertime' hit (some of which can be attributed to the digital age and lack of album sales) that his father has, it seems like rather than running from the shadows he has embraced them. It's safe to say that this Syre has found the kingdom that he always longed for. Both UNEXPECTED. And his TRUTH.
Check out Jaden's video Batman and see if you can catch this line.
"You was protecting the bank and then you walked off with a mil"