When Willow Smith's Whip My Hair was released in 2010, I, like a lot of people, just shrugged it off as a kid who had the connections and capability to get signed to a label due to her famous parents. Like when TV stars release singles for the hell of it, and they're catchy as, but they also kind of suck. By HANA EHRHORN.
However, if you can forget about the repetitive hook for a second, it seems like, oddly enough, Willow Smith might actually be the next generation's beacon for R'n'B. I know how it sounds, but bear with me.
Whip My Hair peaked in the US at number 11, number 2 in the UK, but only managed to get in at 36 on the Kiwi charts, and after that we didn't hear much from the pre-teen celebrity. However, about a year ago, I'd been seeing more and more articles about her older brother Jaden and his infamously erratic Tweets.
So when an interview with T Magazine began circulating, where the two were talking about quantum physics, meditation and prana energy, naturally, it sparked my interest.
I was impressed with the total transformation of the Smith kids, and thought, y'know what, maybe their stuff is transforming too. Off to YouTube I went.
One of the first videos that popped up is Willow and Jaden live at the Fader Fort, performing a song simply called 5. Woah guys, alty. I bit, and clicked play.
Frankly, I don't think I've ever been totally amazed by an artist when they decide to change directions musically. Apart from the Arctic Monkeys, because damn, who wasn't. But these kids have become ridiculously groovy, especially Willow. Jaden's raps don't totally blow my mind in the video, but the soul emanating from this lanky 14-year-old girl was crazy palpable.
After replaying it about four times, I clicked on another song from the same performance, called 9. More numbers. This time, Jaden didn't goosestep on to the stage halfway through the song, rather, Willow was joined by SZA.
If you don't know who SZA is, you need to get on to that. (Warm Winds, Child's Play, these are all gems.) The collab was perfect, the two have very similar sounds (leaning towards that chilled out, lowkey kind of style – think Frank Ocean if he just woke up) leading me to think that SZA may be a contributor to – or at least very big influence on – Willow's new sound.
Frankly, I'm not entirely sure how to communicate what I'm getting at here. Here are some videos (above), click them and listen to them whilst disregarding the fact that Whip My Hair was ever a thing.
I swear you'll be impressed.
And also be embarrassed by how unlike this you were at 14.
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