Willow Smith, daughter of Will and Jada and brother to Jaden and Trey, dropped a surprise album last night. Ardipithecus, named after what Willow tells Fader is “the scientific name of the first hominid bones found on earth” features production from her older brother Trey and JABS, who she’s worked with before. Impressively, Willow has the sole songwriting and production credits on most of the songs. It’s her debut album. She is 15 years old, guys. Wow.
The album is 15 songs — one for each of her years? — and, separated from the weight of her name (and “Whip My Hair“) plays like one of most ambitious debut albums of the year. It’s hard to calculate the privilege, both financial and creative, that come with being born under the roof of Will Smith, but it’s hard not to give it to Willow: this thing is not half-bad. And it certainly isn’t boring, even if she’s got some work to do on her lyrics — though, it is refreshing that a teenager is referencing her classes, dorm rooms, and her buddies in songs. Her aesthetic and production are beyond most teenagers’, but her point of view is blissfully grounded in the everyday.
Along with the album, Willow officially dropped the first single, “F Q–C #8,” which she says is one of a series of songs she’s created around a cast of invented characters. (A lesser song, “F Q–C #7,” was released in May of this year.)
Listen to the single below. Ardipithecus is available on iTunes and streaming services.