November 17, 2017
To be iconic is to be a person that is revered or idolized. Most icons are not idolized until after their death. Jaden Smith wasn't being so humble when he wrote "ICON." And that lack of humbleness is a big mood. It's probably a little bit cocky to call yourself an icon, but life is too short to not think highly of yourself.
It has been a long time coming for Jaden. He has been making music since about 2012, mostly stuff that wasn't too popular but was still heard by many of his followers. So what better way to get people to take his music seriously than to speak his work into existence.
This wasn't his first single off of his debut studio album, but it was the one that encapsulating his sound and his spirit moving forward. Let's break this song down.
I need you to listen to the vision (woo)
The first verse on this track intentionally comes before the chorus. For anyone who hasn't listened to Jaden before, this is his way of getting you to pay attention. Whether you haven't listened to him because of who his parents are, because he's a young kid, or because you have some preconceived notion of what he represents, this is your opportunity to listen to his vision.
A lot of music out right now, specifically rap music, consists of "dirty" lyrics and messages that aren't pushing the young generation forward. Jaden's goal is to cleanse your palette with his unique sound that is different from what you're used to hearing.
And while it is near impossible to be completely unique in your sound, it's all about the vision. He has that goal in mind that he wants to change the perception of himself and the music itself.
I am not a Mayan, I'm a menace (menace)
The Mayan's had infinite knowledge and were to believed to have known much of the future based on their calendars. Jaden isn't trying to act like he knows what's next, instead he is acting as a menace in the industry by attempting to break down the walls of what is supposed to be known.
He doesn't want to waste his time by trying to diss other artists currently in the game, he'd rather sit back and do his thing. The message being displayed in this part of his second verse is one of self-reflection. Living in his moment, he is able to realize that he can put prove the "professors" wrong who may have told him his vision wasn't clear enough or even attainable.
As an actor, writer, thought-provoker, fashion symbol, and musician, he is beginning to realize that he is someone that people look too as iconic.
I'm going straight to the top with the crew
The vision and goals are big. There is no point to limit himself to whatever others believe he is capable of. Yet, he knows that he should not rush anything.
There is a slight fear of what is on the other side of his goals. He believes that if he achieves all that he perceives is to be achieved, then there will be nothing else to accomplish. This is a real fear of many of us. The grass seems greener on the other side, but what happens once you're there?
If you accomplish everything too soon, there may be a sense of contentment. Jaden wants to take it step by step and enjoy the process, so that when his goals are finally reached he can sit back and reflect on everything he's earned.
Put a hundred thousand in a bible (Bible!)
With some closing words to his verse, he is betting on himself. Many people will say "bible" when they are stating that they are serious about something.
Now listen, there isn't a single artist in the rap game right now who doesn't owe something to Kid Cudi. He is the originator of most of the sounds that all of these artists are trying to create. A lot of rap guys want to be rockstars and be unique, and it all stems from the music Cudi has been creating for years.
Jaden's nod to Cudi is just one of the many that artists have been giving to him over the years. And as long as Jaden is willing to follow in Cudi's footsteps, the more likely he is to continue to create influential music.
He ends the song with the simple repetitive hook of "I am just an ICON livin'." This message is stated many times to pose as a reminder to himself and the listener exactly who he sees himself as in this moment.
The future looks bright for Jaden. And while he may never be able to live up to the name of his father, his influence on his generation will be iconic.