Jaden Smith turned 18 today (July 8) and what better way to celebrate than to drop a surprisingly self-aware and increasingly enlightened track?
The actor/rapper teased "Labor V2" on Twitter yesterday with some shameless self-promotion, shouting out specific publications and demanding they keep their eyes out for the song: "I Turn 18 In 3 hours, London Time, And Ima Drop A Song On Willows Soundcloud So Get Ready."
But when he didn't come through with his promise, he gave the most honest and average answer — "I'm Having Birthday Dinner." We couldn't fault him.
It's Coming I Just Need To Get Back To Willows Computer, I'm Having Birthday Dinner.— Jaden (@jaden) July 7, 2016
But now it's here. And the six-minute track starts with cinematic strings fit for a noir thriller. Then a brassy hi-hat. Then a jazzy, plucked bass. Then some down-shifted vocals. All before Jaden begins to spit, backed by some drums. And, without a chorus or hook, his delivery feels like free-flowing word association. And, based on the lyrics, it seems the nation's recent tragedies aren't lost on him; they're arrogant and encouraging. It eventually ends with a trumpet-driven coda and we're left wondering when homie got so woke.
Read his most poignant lyrics below:
"I'm a black panther, wah' me pounce quick/ get the fire hose, finna douse them."
"Ain't gon' fill me up with your doubt, pen talk/ with your girl saying, 'How can this lil' joker fit a thousand words in a sentence?'/ like a Malcolm X/ Y Z, don't try me/ Misfits around the globe regard me highly/ And I'm running from the cops, Cyrus/ Man, these jokers probably think I'm Miley."
"Take a pair of parables and tear 'em up/ for your damn poetry, embarrass us/ I'm underground like I'm Harriet Tubman/ Clique is training, we preparing to run shit/ Feeling lit, I'll take my parents to London/ Trust, you don't want this/ The clique is ready for the function/ You ain't ready for the subject."
"'Since when is Jaden golden?'/ I was learning, you ain't notice/ now I came back and I'm on my grown shit/ Look here, baby, you should focus/ The ignorance is numbing you and now I'm spitting this/ and novocaine is over."
"Turned a lyricist into a soldier/ How many times have I told ya/ And how many times am I telling them/ just because you see the melanin doesn't mean that I'm a felon/ I'm here to show you the intelligence/ What is the bullshit you're selling them/ They just want us all in jail and then/ they can take away our right to vote and use the free labor/ Ay, I know you're not a slave, bruh/ And I didn't even need to say much/ Man, you knew since you was born there/ you were sent down here to save us/ But life just keeps throwing shit at you/ and you was looking for a break, huh?"
Hear "Labor V2" below.