Jaden Smith effortlessly covers the hip-hop spectrum on his debut album, Syre | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Jaden Smith effortlessly covers the hip-hop spectrum on his debut album, Syre


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Long before I realized Jaden Smith was carving out a rap career, I found his weirdness endlessly entertaining. The 19-year-old son of superstar couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith has been blowing up the world of Twitter since age 12, sharing his deep thoughts and musings on topics as disparate as Illuminati conspiracies and chance encounters with Owen Wilson. More recently, he’s posted about how much he loves the Twilight movies and his appreciation for potatoes. Smith has been dabbling in hip-hop for just about as long as he’s been on social media, and at the end of last year he released his first official record, Syre. The album is a bit of a scattershot affair, jumping all over the hip-hop spectrum. It opens with four dark, introspective Weeknd-flavored tunes, “B,” “L,” U,” and “E,” before bouncing between ethereal screw and hard-hitting psychedelic trap on “Breakfast” (which features a verse from A$AP Rocky) and later segueing into off-kilter, sparkly electro on the single “Icon.” Though Syre hasn’t captivated me nearly as much as Smith’s Web presence, his seemingly effortless ability to handle so many different kinds of rap makes for a totally solid debut. The album’s follow-up, Erys (“Syre” backward), is set to see the light later this year.   v

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