A few weeks ago the hip-hop world collectively gasped when Philly rap hero and Hollywood super star Will Smith made an appearance at Meek Mill’s listening session to show support. The news was only compounded by the fact that the $20 Million a movie man showed up with Jay-Z riding shotgun.
This moment could have easily been written off as a Hailey’s Comet-esque event never to be repeated in this lifetime. Something you just say “that was dope” and tell your kids about it. But just this weekend there was another Will Smith sighting at Gabrielle Union’s birthday party freestlying on the mic with Doug E. Fresh.
As of late Will’s kids have been more visible in music circles so these appearances are refreshing to say the least. I would take it one step further and say that I hope Will is easing his way back into the rap game himself. You ask why. I ask why the hell not?
Will released his first album in Rock The House in 1986/87 with his partner DJ Jazzy Jeff and the duo went on to win the first Grammy for a rap song, “Parents Just Don’t Understand.” Will has four solo albums to his credit including the 9X platinum Big Willy Style. The last time he dropped an album was 2005’s Lost & Found which was certified gold.
On the tail end of his rap career Will was derided by some as being too pop and that he used ghostwriters. Even those that claim to want to be like him now (*cough* Bow Wow) took shots in interviews. But with all the money he was making in film who needed rap anyway? So he gracefully bowed out. Most of us could live off the residuals of “Summertime” alone. His kids could pick up where he left off.
However, after watching Will rap with Doug E. I got the sense that he still wants this, but maybe feels like fans aren’t checking for him. But I will go on record saying that Will should give us another album. Lord knows he has more interesting things to talk about than half the songs we hear on the radio. And he can’t do any worse than his peers like LL Cool J.
I would love to hear what Will’s version of Life Is Good would sound like after everything he’s been through from the constant divorce rumors to dudes trying to kiss him.
In fact, this is something that’s been on my mind before his recent public appearances. This summer when I was in Philadelphia I asked one of his former collaborators Vidal Davis if Will would ever rap again. Watch the clip to see what he had to say. But if anyone within six degrees of Will reads this (*cough* Skillz) , tell him we want him back in the booth.