Will Smith was trending on Friday for doing what he does best: rapping.
The Fresh Prince dropped a verse on the remix to a Joyner Lucas track called “Will.” In the music video to the original song, Lucas dressed up like the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and rapped about how he’s “feeling like Will.” He proceeds to reference nearly every Will Smith movie in the catalog.
Lucky for us, Will Smith just joined him to tell us what it’s actually like to be Will.
The 51-year-old proved he still has it by dominating this remix. Check out his verse:
As this is Twitter user says, his “breath control, cadence, flow are all A1.”
But as Will Smith makes abundantly clear, he’s been doing this for a long time:
Back before there was streaming sales
Way before the iTunes and the fans had to get CDs still
Sixty million records sold
I was on fire – I ain’t even need a grill
He’s right. Will Smith was one of the best rappers alive back in the late eighties and early nineties. His classic debut album (back when he was still the Fresh Prince) Rock the House was the spark that ignited his unforgettable career.
His track, produced by his legendary partner DJ Jazzy Jeff, “Girls Ain’t Nothin But Trouble,” featured storytelling on par with the legendary Slick Rick.
Smith released a few more albums before he became a star actor. Slick Rick continued rapping and became unequivocally known as the godfather of storytelling rap. Who’s to say Will Smith couldn’t have had a similar impact if he stayed the course with hip-hop?
He would’ve had a hard time overcoming his “clean” image, which he addresses in his latest verse.
Did all with no cusswords
I ain’t have to curse just to keep it real
Even when the streets called me corny
I still ain’t never let the hate break me
Even when “the Fresh Prince” switched over to “Will Smith” and became a mainstream hit-maker, he never dropped his attention to the craft of hip-hop. Yes, he made corny sell-out hits based on blockbuster movies, but he still kept his love for storytelling.
Check out “Just the Two of Us,” which he released in 1997, at the height of his fame.
His lyrics are clear and audible. His storytelling details put right in his moment. And his flow is excellent. There’s plenty of current rappers who could use a heavy dose of Will.
Rap is an ever-evolving art form, but the basics of what makes a good rapper have never changed. The best rappers of today still give attention to the craft of creating good songs and lyrics and saying them audibly. Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Pusha T, Kanye West, Big Sean, J. Cole — they all heed these basics.
And then there are some rappers that could desperately use some tips from Big Willy.
Post Malone makes catchy songs, but can he try, like just a little bit, to write lyrics? At least hire a ghostwriter. Instead, it feels like Post hired an actual ghost because his lyrics are nonexistent.
Check out this verse from “Rockstar.”
F**kin’ with me, call up on a Uzi
And show up, man them the shottas
When my homies pull up on your block
They make that thing go grrra-ta-ta-ta (pow, pow, pow)
He could benefit from a little guidance from Will.
I’ll admit, I just heard this guy for the first time. I listened to about five whole songs and caught maybe five whole words. He is mumble rap on novocaine. The Fresh Prince could give him a master course in pronunciation, and maybe we could understand two words per song.
Warning: NSFW (I think?)
Honestly, 6ix9ine could just use a hug. Maybe Will Smith could take him to Miami and let him ride some jet-skis.
Warning: NSFW (for sure)
He could show 6ix9ine how to have some wholesome fun in the Summertime. Maybe he could even introduce this young Tasmanian devil to Scientology. This boy needs help in whatever form he can get it.
But Will Smith does not. He’s still a master, and he’s doing what he can to balance out the hip-hop universe. We appreciate your efforts.