jaden smith drops 18th birthday track referencing tight jeans, harriet tubman, and the prison system

"Just because you see the melanin doesn't mean that I'm a felon," Jaden rhymes in the very smooth, very relevant birthday jam.

by i-D Staff and Hannah Ongley
08 July 2016, 3:18pm

With all the skirt-clad strides he's made towards breaking down barriers in the fashion world, it's easy to forget that Jaden Smith is also a very good musician — and that, prior to today, he hadn't even turned 18. But if the track he just dropped in honor of his own 18th birthday is anything to go by, modeling gender-neutral dresses is definitely still a side hustle for the eldest Smith kid. 

"LABOR V2" rides on a sleepy string arrangement reminiscent of a retro video game soundtrack, with Jaden repeating the number "18" and referencing his fashion resumé. "I know you don't like me, and it's 'cause you just like me," he rhymes, "I just chose not to wear the wife beater with the Nikes and a white tee, now everybody wearing tight jeans." He then name-checks Harriet Tubman in the line "I'm underground like I'm Harriet Tubman" — alluding to the abolitionist heroine's work leading slaves to freedom on the underground railroad — before segueing into a very pertinent attack on police racism and the prison industrial complex:

"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."

Damn, Jaden. Listen to the whole thing below. 


Text Hannah Ongley
Photography Columbine Goldsmith

Jaden Smith
music news
labor v2