Jaden Smith’s creative complexity shines on his 17-track debut, studio album “SYRE,” released on Nov. 17 by Roc Nation Records. Presenting one of the better produced albums of 2017, the 19-year-old film and television actor, water-bottle company entrepreneur, fashion designer and musician continues his entertainment journey following his 2012 debut mixtape, “The Cool Cafe: Cool Tape Vol. 1.” Smith’s creative group MSFTSMusic, which includes his sister and fellow musician Willow Smith, continuously dedicate their talents to “supporting and waking up the population of planet earth, through attaining knowledge and personal growth,” as previously stated by Smith.
Smith’s labels by mainstream consumers over the years have ranged from transgressive to misunderstood to crazy. “SYRE” feels designed to cut through all the noise and confusion surrounding him. The album is most distinguishable by its extended, emotionally detailed verses that shed light on Smith’s teenage anguish. Opening with melodic vocals from Willow that are captivating to listen to, the tracklist begins with four tracks named ‘B’, ‘L’, ‘U’, ‘E’ which all blend into one another creating a 13-minute intro that is surprisingly creative.
“Breakfast,” which features A$AP Rocky, veteran rapper and friend of Smith, has a nice, repetitive beat with solid bars and impressive flow from Smith. Sadly, the Rocky feature is barely a feature at all, when all he does is speak to Smith in his distorted, Flacko voice which can be difficult to hear. Despite the disappointment, the song properly introduces Syre, who seems to be a young man on a mission. An ominous voice ends the song with, “So you think you can save rap music?,” defining Syre’s objective.
‘Hope’ follows ‘Breakfast’ and once again Smith spits some grade-a-bars with a very nice flow. The entire album is chalked full of amazing beats that feel like they are taking you on a musical journey, showing the production is the star of this album.
‘Falcon,” arguably the best on the album, pairs a beautifully written bridge and produced beat with the soft, melodic vocals of Raury. The beat and music in the track change so drastically, the creativity is felt up until the end of the song.
“Ninety” and “Lost Boy,” both very passionate and quite long, give off the catchy vibe most of the album holds. Others include ‘Batman’ which is really enjoyable if you like the Dark Knight, and “Icon,” where Smith flexes his lyrical prowess.
Through the first listen of this album, it definitely seems scattered with tracks going back and forth that are drastically different in style. “SYRE” requires patience, thorough listening, and an attention to detail. Otherwise, it’ll sound like a strange blend of hip-hop and alternative rock the casual listener won’t care to decipher.
“SYRE,” as Smith describes, is like a “beautiful confusion;” the journey of a kid who’s stumbling along the path to enlightenment. While Syre is a kid who’s been floating in limbo trying to save rap music, Smith definitely seems to have found his footing in the rap game.