The Smith family is certainly pro-creativity. Not content with acting since the age of seven, Jaden Smith is following in his father’s (and sister’s) footsteps, turning his attention to the music industry.
‘The Cool Café’ is Jaden’s first mixtape, and quite honestly it’s a refreshing surprise. The production is expertly crafted, complimented perfectly by his flow. Drawing inspiration from Kid Cudi, SBTRK, Purity Ring and Foster the People amongst others, the 18 tracks might not break ground lyrically, but considering Jaden is only 14-years-old they put some of the genres bigger names to shame.
Highlights include the brilliant ‘Cries’ which sees Jaden rapping over the instrumental from Purity Ring’s Lofticries – the result is an atmospheric and captivating track which stays with you long after the final beat, and is surely earmarked as a single, ‘Find You Somewhere’ which sees Jaden bringing in his sister Willow and taking the party towards the club (you’ll understand when you watch the video, directed by his mum), and ‘Pumped Up Kicks (Like Me)’ which is centred around that familiar beat.
This is certainly a strong start, a statement of youthful intent. And it should be taken seriously. Yes Jaden maybe 14, and he maybe the son of the Fresh Prince. But he does possess very real talent, both vocally and lyrically. He also has an ear for a beat too. Right now this may be hip-hop with a pop sentiment, but lets face it, there are artists out there striving for this sound, and consistently missing it every time, when compared to this offering – and they’re much older and supposedly wiser than a 14 year old. And that’s the main thing to remember here, he’s fourteen! So let’s keep it in perspective, be excited by what it means and what it could yet mean when say he’s 17, and be in awe of a kid who’s so achingly cool at such a tentative age.
With the imminent release of his lifestyle brand MSFTS, music could well turn out to be a passing fascination. Those formative teenage years have a habit of sprouting a multitude of interests/career directions/fads. But let’s hope that Jaden actually kicks on with this, there is definitely potential there, and at the end of the day ‘The Cool Café’ is by no means a difficult listen.