By Paiea Kalili
When you hear Will Smith what is the first thing you think of? Movie Star? TV Star? Father of Willow and Jaden Smith, or maybe the guy who made “Men In Black”? It’s almost forgettable that what made him famous in the first place was his rap skills, and we should be ashamed of ourselves for how we as hip-hop have treated him.
Now, I’ll willing to admit the Will Smith we know now is a family man, and not the greatest rapper to try and hype up. Remember “Switch” anyone? But the Fresh Prince ?!?! That guy was a legend, and hip-hop still doesn’t give him his proper respect. I’m here to give him his just do.
West Philadelphia born and raised, on the playground… yeah we all know the story. Coming out in the 1980s’ during a time when Run-DMC, Eric B & Rakim and NWA were all coming up, he stood out in his own right. Smith’s biggest talents were his ability to switch his wordplay and be witty and BE HIMSELF. To keep it a bean, young Will Smith was just a dope a** rapper. Shout to DJ Jazzy Jeff!
People love to make fun of Smith for the radio pop chart singles of the 90s’. Yes, they are cheesy, I can’t front .
I’m also not going to act like I don’t hit a two-step whenever that “Men In Black” or “Wild, Wild West” song comes on either. Smith tells Esquire Magazine, “Thirty days before I graduated from high school, my record came out,” said Smith. “I had a month of having a record on the radio and being a high school student. It doesn’t get too much better than that.”
Case in point, don’t forget this is the same guy who had a number one song in the country, while he was still in high school! Not to mention being a dope ass freestyler until this DAY!
Smith has an arsenal of hits like “Parents Just Don’t Understand”, “Charlie Mack 1st out the Limo”, “Girls Aint Nothing But Trouble”, “Summertime”, and my favorite track, “Brand New Funk”. Tell me those tracks don’t bang, and I’m taking your hip-hop card.
The Fresh Prince did everything from having the freshest Jordans, to bagging the baddest chicks, to having a whole f*cking TV show marketed around him that started out as a quick cash grab idea, and then turned into one of the most iconic sitcoms of the 90s’. So before you talk sh*t on his “happy raps”, remember who Smith was; an ill rhymer, who gave us banger after banger before he became even bigger than rap itself. So, I’m going to leave on the only note you can when you think of the Fresh Prince with one of his best songs.