Will Smith recently has been showing to the world that after all these years that he still has the itch to get behind the mic and spit a couple of bars. Whether it is in the studio and doing a freestyle or hopping on songs with his son Jaden Smith or the artist Nicky Jam.In recent years there has been several occasions where a buzz was going on regarding a full-fledged comeback. In 2011, Mars a frequent producer of The Game said he was in talks to work with Will Smith. Will Smith while making the rounds promoting 2015’s film Focus disclosed spending studio time with Kanye West. Maybe finally now a full-fledged project is in the works.
Will Smith in The Studio
On the surface when you look back at Will Smith’s rap career the typical consensus would be that his music was fun, light, humorous, and pop. That he would be considered more of a pop artist than a hip hop one. The reality though is if you dig deep in his discography, you will find Will Smith is actually an underrated hip-hop artist. Throughout his 30-year career Will Smith has had tracks that have showcased that as an artist he should be taken more seriously. Whether it was early on as part of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince or later on as Will Smith.
The first track to mention is “Brand New Funk”. The promotional single off the 1988 album He’s the DJ, I’m The Rapper. The song is laced with classic jazz, hip -hop, and soul samples including James Brown. Will Smith raps in perfect synchronization with the cuts and scratches from the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff. Throughout the song Will Smith switches up his delivery with absolute ease. The second song to mention, Jazzy’s Groove off of 1989’s And in This Corner… was similar in vein to “Brand New Funk” encompassing the elements of classic hip-hop.
Dj Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince – Brand New Funk
Dj Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince – Jazzy’s Groove
The third track is the So-So Def remix to “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It”. A total departure from the original, produced by Jermaine Dupri. Released in 1998 in association with Will Smith’s biggest selling album, Big Willie Style. Along with Will Smith on the track is Big Pun, R.O.C, and Cam’ron. The last tracks to mention were from Will Smith’s follow up 1999 album Willenium. The song “So Fresh” was an ode to old school hip hop. Will Smith appears along with hip hop legends Biz Markie and Slick Rick. With DJ Jazzy Jeff providing the cuts and scratches. Lastly the song “Rain” with Jill Scott singing the hook. The lyrics are powerful with a deep message. A song when listened to closely is truly moving.
Will Smith -Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It (So-So Def Remix) feat. Big Pun, R.O.C, and Cam’ron
Will Smith – So Fresh feat Biz Markie and Slick Rick
Will Smith – Rain feat Jill Scott
Throughout his career Will Smith has released 9 albums sans compilations. Five albums going gold, one platinum, and three multi-platinum. One more album would round out the discography to the number 10. It would be an opportunity to showcase his talent and be appreciated for what he has done for hip-hop over the years.