Watching Jaden Smith run and bounce across the stage with a seemingly infinite supply of energy leaves no doubt that the 20-year-old rapper had an incredible time performing his Rolling Loud 2018 set. Yet Smith’s borderline aggressive enthusiasm was not entirely matched by the impressive crowd gathered during his performance Saturday afternoon.
Having only just released his debut album last year, Smith is fairly new to the rap scene but still managed to stand out as an introspective and talented lyricist on SYRE with hit tracks such as “Watch Me” and “U” that featured subtle beats and lyrical melodies.
Dressed down in a sweatshirt, jeans and kicks and sporting his signature bleached hair, Smith certainly reminded the crowd that he was no longer playing the part of the aspiring philosopher and instead was intent on building his music career. With lyrics that tackle topics such as colorism and police brutality, Smith’s music has definitely molded itself into a more nuanced body of art.
Perhaps in an attempt to crown himself an authentic rapper, Smith strayed away from the unique elements of his music during his performance and instead attempted to mold his songs into trap-heavy tracks they were not intended to be.
In fact, Smith overshadowed his own passionate renditions of songs such as “Batman” and “Icon” during his short set by aggressively attempting to make the crowd mosh to tracks that clearly were not meant to be moshed to. Smith’s enthusiasm did not translate well to the audience and was met with disgruntlement among the fringes of the crowd, especially when Smith made the decision to perform his song “Icon” twice during an already compressed set.
Regardless, Smith managed to deliver a technically impressive performance that covered a wide range of his music, showcasing the quirky new-age twist on rap that has quickly made SYRE a resounding success.
Slated to join J. Cole’s KOD Tour this fall as an opening act, Smith seems to still be in the process of finding his artistic identity as a musician but seems to have a promising foray into rap ahead of him.