According to Jaden Smith, the prodigal son of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, it’s not familiarity that breeds contempt — it’s competition. Equally praised and condemned for his tendency to push the limits of whatever creative space he’s occupying at the moment, the dreadlock-holding, prom dress-wearing pioneer of avant-garde streetwear fashion soon populated a niche in Hollywood of his own creation.
Regarded for years as little more than Kylie Jenner’s ex-BF and a constant source of confusing tweets meant to shed light on the nature of the universe (we see you, “deep AF” meme), Smith shattered a number of high-profile perceptions by dropping his three-years-in-the-making debut studio album “Syre.” In addition to securing features from hip-hop heavyweights like A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar for the project’s track list, Smith’s “Icon” single racked up more than 100 million Spotify streams and cemented the young artist’s position as a rapper worthy of respect.
In a recent interview with Complex, Smith revealed that his newfound position as a strong contender for hip-hop’s coveted throne placed his relationship with industry veterans like Kanye West, Drake, and Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino on shaky ground.
“It’s really changed,” he said. “I always felt like Little Homie before and that allowed me in all of their circles. But now that I’m on the charts next to them, I’m not really Little Homie anymore.”
When pressed about the nature of his exclusion, Smith admitted that he is no longer welcome in the top-tier rap community due to his budding career. “It’s more like, ‘You can’t hang out with us anymore. We didn’t know you were making an album this whole time. We thought you were just Little Homie giving us free water and shit. You’re not really cool with us anymore,'” he revealed.
Here’s to hoping we can soon return to a time when Glover freely refers to Smith as royalty and Drake performs with the young star’s image on his chest — after all, the “Syre” artist really IS “just an icon living.”