For more than a decade, we have come to know Jaden Smith the actor, the philosopher, even Jaden the ecologist who owns a … water company. Jaden the musician is however a little trickier to identify.
There are a few phases in Jaden’s musical career. There’s the 2011 version which finds a 13-year-old standing alongside Justin Bieber and innocently rapping, “Now I have the world in my hand / I was born of two stars so the moon is where I am. land. ” He’s the artist before puberty, before swag and hot beats. To be fair, it’s also Bieber before all of these things. You can’t expect much from boys who mature in front of millions of people. But they both grew up as artists, and quickly.
At 14, Jaden released his first mixtape, The Cool CafÃ©: Cool Tape Vol. 1, and the second volume a few years later. By this point his voice had deepened, his lyrics had matured and he was starting to take rap a little more seriously. Yet these outings were mostly dismissed as mere side projects of a rich and famous kid with too much free time.
It’s hard to take seriously someone who has an automatic head start in life, especially one with their hands in so many different cookie jars. How can someone really master the craft of making music when they also lend their voice to anime projects, clothing design, and, you know, pyramid building? Are we really gonna take a boy who writes ALL of his tweets like this and said, in a really weird 2014 New York Times interview, that his goal in life is to be “the craziest of all time” seriously?
Well, we might have to. His project in gestation for three years, Syre, comes at the right time. Hip-hop and rap are evolving at an ever-increasing pace, and Syre fits perfectly into these trends. Many tracks borrow from rock or include an appearance by a pop star or infuse electronic music into its choruses. And Jaden’s music fits into the genre’s fluid moment that is happening. He’s experimenting with a new style called âPop Runk,â as he dubbed it in a recent interview with High Snobiety, admitting that even he doesn’t know what it means exactly. âIt’s pop mixed with something you don’t understand and can’t describe,â he said. “I try to take popular culture and mix it all up and give the world something new.”
This phase of Jaden’s musical career turns out to be the most exciting. Last month when he released seven videos that teased the songs of Syre, everyone has asked for your attention. Some included trap music beats with Jaden’s aggressive rap layered; others were carried along by a soothing guitar and emotionally charged vocals. It wasn’t clear what you were going to encounter when you hit play, providing an intoxicating surge of unpredictability with every click.
Jaden the musician has therefore become an enigma. At the moment, this is a good thing. It keeps those who watch and listen eager to see what his 19-year-old brain comes up with next. âI created a new game,â he told High Snobiety. And, from now on, he’s the only one with the playbook.