Willow Smith Samples Radiohead’s ‘Codex’ on Precocious ‘Sugar and Spice’
But seriously, what just happened?
Update: The song has been pulled from Smith’s official SoundCloud and YouTube channels.
Kids say the darndest things, don’t they? One day they’re all, “I whip my hair back and forth,” and the next they’re like, “I sat in front of the TV screen, society’s always screaming at me. / They wanna puncture me and then wonder why I bleed.”
That’s an actual lyric from the new song that 12-year-old Willow Smith leaked today via her SoundCloud profile (under the name Arbre Mort, which is kinda brilliantly/very emo-ly French for “dead tree”). The hot new jam is dubbed “Sugar and Spice” and it’s neither a hot new jam, nor anything as peppy as its title would suggest. Instead, the young Smith sings wistfully about some serious dejection over Radiohead’s gorgeously elegiac King of Limbs standout “Codex.” Her delivery is a little bit Rihanna and a little bit Nick Drake (kidding, but also not) as she couches her well-articulated ennui in terms that children and adults alike can identify with: “I tried to be sugar and spice, but I’m melancholy and can’t do anything right / The monsters under my bed keep making noise at night, I just want silence.” Whoa. What happened to the girl that wasn’t going to let haters keep her off her grind? Is it strange that we’re so pleased to see a little girl so sad? If the results keep winding up as oddly bewitching as this, someone please take away her teddy bear ASAP.
Smith signs off her Arbre Mort profile with the words “Maulheureux Bound,” the first word in that pairing being French for “misery.” Shit just got real. (See also: A Brief History of Rappers Sampling Radiohead.)