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The Music Scoop

TARYN OKAMOTO • THE SPECTATOR

TARYN OKAMOTO • THE SPECTATOR

TARYN OKAMOTO • THE SPECTATOR

TARYN OKAMOTO • THE SPECTATOR

Sofia Sayabalian

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The Incredible Smith Family:
A Look at the Lives of Will, Jaden, and Willow Smith


When you hear the name Jaden Smith or Willow Smith, you might think of the inspiring father figure that catalyzed their start in the entertainment industry, Will Smith. As the children of Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, Jaden and Willow have made their mark in the music industry while having dabbled in various films as well. I would like to share my appreciation of these three individuals with you, and I hope you learn something new and interesting about their uprising.

TARYN OKAMOTO • THE SPECTATOR
TARYN OKAMOTO • THE SPECTATOR

Will Smith

At the age of 16, Will Smith met Jeff Townes and duo launched a successful hip hop career as DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince. The pair produced iconic tracks like “Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble” (1987) and “Summertime” (1991). As Smith’s career began to gain traction, he quickly became known for his lighthearted rhymes and uncluttered raps. In 1990, the sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” began, where Smith starred as a fictionalized version of himself. For the next couple of years, Smith immersed himself in his acting career and took a break from producing new music with Jeff Townes. After a few more hit singles, Smith decided to focus heavily on his acting career and went on to star in a myriad of Hollywood blockbusters. He later returned to the realm of music as a solo artist where he swiftly became a musical sensation, selling millions of albums. Whether you grew up watching “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” listening to DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, or enjoying his various roles on the big screen, Will Smith continues to be a nostalgic and inspiring figure for many.

Recommended songs:
Will Smith: “Men in Black” (1997)
DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince: “Summertime” (1991)
Will Smith: “Party Starter” (2005)

Jaden Smith

Born in Malibu, CA, Jaden Smith (known professionally as Jaden) has worked in the entertainment industry since a young age. He’s been casted in various films, some of which include “The Karate Kid” (2010) and “After Earth” (2013), and he’s released three main musical projects which are “CTV2” (2014), “Syre” (2017), and “The Sunset Tapes” (2018). Aside from interweaving himself in both the film and music industries, Jaden has a clothing and lifestyle brand called MSFTSrep where he specializes in designing slick streetwear. However, Jaden has been a target for criticism especially from the hip hop community. When the influential released “Syre” in 2017, some people felt that Jaden was struggling to find his own voice and that the record lacked originality. In truth, Jaden is just as much a hip hop fan as the next person, and he pulls influence from a variety of artists like Tyler, the Creator and Kid Cudi. If anything, Jaden’s delivery in “The Sunset Tapes” feels more authentic perhaps because it’s more of a mixtape than a concept album. In tracks like “Distant,” Jaden becomes more vulnerable and experimental, playing with beat switches and auto-tune. At the end of the day, Jaden’s an innovative artist who is adding a fresh and dynamic element to the alternative hip hop scene.

Recommended songs:
“Icon” and “George Jeff” off “Syre”
“PCH” off “CTV2”

Willow Smith

Willow Smith quickly gained recognition with her vibrant single “Whip My Hair” which was released in 2010. She started to craft her own voice in her debut album “Ardipithecus” (2015) where the track “Wait a Minute!” quickly became favored among listeners. Like her brother Jaden, Willow has been involved in some acting endeavors but has stuck with creating music for the most part. She has a riveting sound, which at times feels ethereal and organic. The track “9” featuring SZA is a great embodiment of this musical description. In 2017, Willow released her record “The 1st.” This album takes listeners on a journey through Willow’s mind, where she finds herself feeling a closeness to an inner, universal kind of energy. She references feeling a connection with elements such as the third eye, infinite galaxies, and evolution. Willow’s echo-like vocals paired with the airy instrumentation create a lovely combination; the track “And Contentment” is a great embodiment of this, as Willow sings over soft guitar riffs. “The 1st” is a mature sophomore album to “Ardipithecus,” and it’s definitely worth a listen. At just 18 years old, Willow is unlike other creators of her time.

Recommended songs:
“And Contentment” and “Human Leech” off “The 1st”
“9” off “3”

The unity among Will, Jaden, and Willow Smith is inspiring in how they all possess such a strong familial connection that’s portrayed in the work they do. Whether it’s Jaden or Willow having worked alongside their father in films, or the two branching out to create music, each member is brilliant in their own way.

Author’s note: I would like to give a special thanks to Zach Andrews for offering me this idea to write about.

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