SPORTS BKN-BULLS-HEAT 37 FL

Will Smith and his son, Jaden, watch Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs between the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. 

Packed with unpredictable beats yet mellow themes, Jaden Smith’s debut studio album is an ambitious attempt at a genre bending sound as he attempts to find his voice in today’s music industry.

Actor, self proclaimed fashion icon and now rapper. Jaden Smith, son of the Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, released his debut album in late November. With a surplus of trap oriented Sound Cloud artists on the rise, Jaden separates himself from the pack with silky smooth production and melodies on his first album.

For months now, Jaden has been releasing singles featured on "SYRE," such as “Batman” and “Fallen,” which came along with compelling and cinematic music videos that peaked my interest in his work. Recently signing to Roc Nation at the ripe age of 19, Jaden has been trying to break into the music industry for some time now-but is this album enough to propel him past his rich kid stigma with that comes along his family name? Or will people continue to paint him as just a boy from that forgettable "Karate Kid" reboot?

With a bold length of over an hour within 17 tracks, this album kicks off with tracks "B," "L," "U" and "E." This combination of four tracks that flow into each other seamlessly illustrates the dreamy sunset theme that Jaden emphasizes from beginning to end.

About a third of the way into the album he provides club worthy hits cuts such as “Breakfast" and “Falcon.” It’s clear that the young artist is still finding his voice in this album, as it walks the lines between alternative rock, hip hop and even an electronic sound. With that said, the second half of this album was underwhelming to say the least.

Even though the production and overall sound on songs such as “Ninety” and “Fallen” was enjoyable, it’s definitely not for everyone. My main struggle with this album was the lack of cohesiveness and consistency throughout. Jaden fails to weave his narrative interludes into something that could possibly elevate the album. They’re usually overly abstract and I constantly found myself hitting the skip button. Along with that, it seems like he is biting off a bit more than he can chew when he compares himself to Martin Luther King Jr. and even entertains conspiracy theories on “Hope.” His personality and style bleed from each and every song, but to many he will often come off as someone in a position of privilege that is simply trying too hard to seem woke without an actual vision for social change or improvement.

This album really is something unique in it’s own right. It surprises you with beat switch-ups, acoustic portions and even a couple party anthems. I can’t stress enough how much I liked the production on this album, it really laid a foundation for Jaden’s aesthetic that I found new and refreshing compared to today’s popular music. I would not recommend it to someone that focuses heavily on lyricism when it comes to rap albums, but more to people looking for something alternative to put on their playlists and surprise their friends with.

Omar Garcia is a blogger for The Vidette. Any questions or comments concerning his blog can be sent to ogarci3@ilstu.edu.

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