Jaden Smith’s “Blue Ocean” is, Like, Super Important

  • Kanye West’s “Runaway”

    Frank Ocean’s “Pyramids”

    Kendrick Lamar’s “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst”

    These are somber, stripped-down, moody productions that let us in on the inner struggles of today’s biggest rap artists. Jaden Smith wants to join this group of elite artists with “Blue Ocean V19,” a pompous, outrageous song that isn’t devoid of all merit, but it’s hard to imagine how Smith thought this would be received.

    Most artists who put together a complex, multi-layered song like this at least have a “Good Life” somewhere earlier on in their catalog, but Smith has no such thing. His “catalog,” as it were, is filled with semi-philosophical tweets, though one wonders if these came out of Smith’s own head or from an inspirational message board online.

  • Source: twitter.com / Via: twitter.com

    Stuff like this has built him a following of Internet trolls, though it’s unclear whether even the immense fame that comes with being a member of the Pinkett-Smith family will be enough to establish a real music career for Jaden.

    He’s starred with father Will in two films: 2006’s The Pursuit of Happyness and 2013’s disastrous After Earth.

    And now, he’s planning to drop an album. “Blue Ocean” won’t be on it, but it may be a taste of what we can expect. The lyrics on “Blue Ocean” are filled with fear and anxiety, perhaps a glimpse of what lives in the mind of someone who is destined to be famous regardless of artistic output.

    “Don’t tell me you love me, I know I’m just trippin,” he sings over a piano/squawking bird intro. Later, during the only portion of the song that could be considered a real rap verse, Smith reveals his own insecurity around women: “I met a girl at Coachella / I like her but you know I couldn’t tell her / cause she had her own fella.”

    And this gets me around to why I’m not being completely, over-the-top snarky right now. I kind of feel for Jaden Smith. It’s seemed from an early age that he wants to perform — music or film or television hasn’t really seemed to matter. After Earth was embarrassing not just because it was a bad movie, but because it seemed like his dad was just trying to hard to give Jaden what he wanted.

    Now, after that debacle and another year of getting mocked on Twitter, it seems that the younger Smith wants, more than anything, to be taken seriously. As a person, I will try to do that, even if I can’t yet take him seriously as a musical artist.

    It’s the eccentricities of “Blue Ocean” that elevate it to near-parody, and show that Jaden Smith may not be ready to take the leap yet to real artist. The several minutes of muted vocals over rain and piano that mimic Kanye West’s “Blame Game,” the almost angry scream-rapping of lines like “you’re the orange juice to my pulp” keep it firmly out of the range of those now-classics I mentioned earlier.

    One thing I won’t do, however, is write him off just because he’s Will Smith’s son. It must be challenging trying to be a dark, thoughtful rapper when you’re a rich 16-year-old who’s spent his entire life in Malibu (Though I’m sure it pales in comparison to coming from the slums of Harlem). But, he’s a kid. Just one that happens to be living his life and all of his art in public. Who among us would elect to publish the poems we wrote when we were 16 across the Internet? (Note to self: delete Angelfire history.)

    So, considering all this, I’ll continue to give Jaden Smith a pass, and hope he’ll still entertain me on Twitter. I just hope he doesn’t look back with too critical an eye on his teenage output.

  • UPDATE: Follow-up track “Trophy” is more like it.