2017 has been a great year for rap/R&B/hip-hop music. We’ve had Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN., Khalid’s American Teen and Drake’s More Life. Now we have Jaden Smith’s debut album SYRE.

Reviews for this album haven’t exactly been great, but you know what? I enjoyed it.

Given his reputation as a bit of an oddball, I was expecting something very similar to Miley Cyrus’ album ‘Miley and her dead petz’. Surprisingly, it was slightly less weird than that but it was still definitely quite bizarre.

With commentary between songs that is reminiscent of Jaden’s role as ‘The Boy’ in Childish Gambino’s album Kauai, this album is more than just a collection of songs- it’s a kind of musical story. Childish Gambino seems to have inspired this album in a way, given the way the songs flow into each other either with intertwining music or poetical prose. Linking each song is a continued narrative about a mysterious figure called Syre. It’s quite unclear but given the fact that one of Smith’s middle names is Syre, it’s very possible that he’s talking about some vague and fictional version of himself.

There are a few lyrics that are… uncomfortable. “I spit that radiation like I’m Chernobyl” and “Look, Fahrenheit 451/Building seven wasn’t hit and there’s more shit to come/The Pentagon is on a run” are just some examples of careless and insensitive lyrics but on the whole, the majority of the lyrics are fairly wholesome. Smith sings about the more platonic and personal aspect of relationships which is a refreshing change from the type of language most rappers use to describe their love-lives.

Overall SYRE is a good album and some of the criticisms are a little harsh but understandable. The 17 songs are all completely different to the type of rap we’re used to but with ‘weirdo rap’ on the rise, this album may just be a little ahead of its time.

Album highlights- Watch Me, Ninety