Jaden Smith – Syre: Trust Funds Didn’t Innovate Hip-hop, But Didn’t Disappoint Either

>> I was worried it would be difficult to objectively ponder this record, considering it was released by a name whose only reputation in the media at this point is that of an actor’s spoiled kid. Jaden Smith’s only notable feat prior to this full-length seems to be a Twitter feed with a ridiculous factor one-upped only by the current US President. With complete honesty, however, I was happy to be put in my place by Jaden Smith, whose recent drop Syre was full of flow, interesting production and an assortment of tastefully self-absorbed music videos.

The Good:

The Hollywood trust-fund network and money definitely paid off when it came to the production and arrangement of each song. While the tracks can be considered heavily produced with minimal analog instrumentation, the beats and synth are all structured well around bars and choruses. The first four songs, B, L, U, and E are a powerful opening to the record that sums up this concept.

Smith’s flow is actually pretty decent. There are some areas in which he begins to get repetitive, but he handles it elegantly with a sense of charm and pride. On the note of these adjectives, Smith surprisingly stays reasonably humble throughout the entire record in an attempt to show how real he can be under the Vuitton and Batman suits.

The Bad:

Considering how deep Smith was able to appear with random blasts of abstract shower thought tweets, the lyrics he came up with on the album are quite a let-down. In fact, there are two main categories that his songs’ themes can be lumped into: generic, half-assed romance and nonsensical attempts at pointing out problems. Problems which, for the record, range from socio-political to conundrums that only other pampered LA folk can relate to.

Aside from these ill-witted categories, there are other disturbing motifs that the aspiring rapper developed. There were a lot of unnecessary comparisons of the gent to Reverend Martin Luther King (Jr., I can only assume) as well as other no-context name drops to Jimi Hendrix and Elvis Presley.

Beyond the inappropriate mentions of random albeit actual musicians, Smith in more than one song mentions how he and a potential beau are somehow representations of our favorite biblical couple, Adam and Eve. I almost admire the attempt to continue seeming like a notional and meta figure in today’s day and age, but I think Smith’s days of getting deep are behind him. I digress.

The Review:

If hearing about first world problems and the inevitable success and ability of a young aspiring artist are what you seek, look no further; If you’re a hardcore hip-hop enthusiast, keep moving. If you’re a pop fan who is satisfied by sound content alone, Syre is for you; If you ever listened Biggie’s Juicy on repeat to appreciate some dope lyrics, it might be best to sit this one out. I wasn’t feeling great about myself after paying for this record, but Jaden Smith’s Syre helped me to again realize that everyone’s art deserves a chance. 3.0/5 <<