To be honest, I had no idea that Will Smith’s son was ever in the hip-hop game, and I can’t image that I am the only one who thought that.
Jaden Smith being from a big acting family, I just assumed that he would only do acting and not get into rapping so going into this record there were two things that I thought.
To my surprise, this wasn’t as bad as expected, and even with its faults, it is a record that Smith should be proud of and learn from for future releases.
He first released a mixtape in 2012, as well as several other EPs, but they never really cracked the surface of any music listener. Going back to listen to them, I’m not surprised. They feel so flushed out and childish.
Let’s start with what went right on this project. The production on the record is pristine and every beat is smooth and crisp.
So, together the production and the beats create a great feel song after song.
On top of that, Smith has a very smooth delivery, whether it is his rapping or his singing. I’m not saying he is perfect, since he does have a dry delivery, but he doesn’t try to do something he can’t do. He works with his strengths and knows his weaknesses.
This is what really pulled me into the record when I first listened to it, and if it was just these ideas, then this record would probably be around an 8/10.
But what really makes this record suffer, worse for others than for me to be honest, is the lyrics. Once again, I have said lyrics are a tough topic to judge since for some artists it works to have silly lyrics. But, it is another thing when someone like Smith is trying too hard to say he is “the best rapper out there.”
One of the biggest examples, and a pretty prominent idea on the record, is how Smith will “save rap music.”
First of all, why does rap music need saving? It is one of the biggest genres in the world right now and is dominating every other genre out there.
Second, even if it needs saving, do you believe that you will be saving it? You are a 19-year-old kid; you need to build up more fans and have more records under your belt before you do anything.
There are several other examples on this record, like how he goes through these hard times living in the hood, but Smith has lived a pretty great life with a hugely successful actor as a father.
Another issue with this record is how bloated this whole project is. With 17 songs and a nine-minute song that is just really a five-minute song with three minutes of nothing, there is way too much on this record Smith should have taken the best tracks off this and thrown out the ones that weren’t meant to be like “Lost Boy,” “Batman,” “George Jeff,” “Rapper” and “SYRE.”
One last thing is how much Smith wears his influences on his sleeves. Actually, he basically is copying his influences especially on songs like “Batman,” sounding exactly like Future. And “Falcon” sounds like a song right off Vince Staples’ latest record.
Other artists that come to mind are Tyler the Creator with Smith’s beat choices, Kanye West with Smith’s vocal tuning and production choices, Brockhampton with Smith’s experimentation choices, Kendrick Lamar with his production choices and trying to be a conscious rapper, and many others.
Overall, I would still give this record a try, just for the great beat and production choices. At least Smith tried his best and should be proud of this record, even if he is acting like a kid on the project.
Happy Listening, Gannon University!
• Genre: Pop Rap, Alternative RnB/Hip-Hop
• Rating: mid 5/10
• Favorite Song: Hope
• Least Favorite Song: Batman