Will Smith

Will Smith

Synopsis of Pop Music

"I go psycho when my new joint hit,
Just can't sit,
Gotta get jiggy wit it..."

In the 1990’s, plenty of people hit it big as rap artists, pop stars, film stars or television stars, but there was one person who found success in all these areas: Will Smith. Since the late 1980’s, this multi-talented performer has lent his many gifts to the worlds of music, television and film. In the process, he has scored hits in each of these media and has also become one of the finest (and most popular) all-around peformers in modern entertainment.

Will Smith grew up listening to rap and r&b in Philadelphia. He began his musical career as the ‘Fresh Prince’ half of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. This hip-hop duo tempered street sounds with pop hooks and a radio-friendly delivery. As a result, they scored major crossover success on the pop and r&b charts with songs like “Parents Just Don’t Understand” and “Summertime.” Smith also successfully took his ‘Fresh Prince’ persona to television on the long-running sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. After it ended, he earned dramatic acting credibility with a role in the film Six Degrees Of Separation.

Smith soon became a movie star with lead roles in the action hit Bad Boys and the sci-fi smash Independence Day. He returned to music when he was asked to add some tunes to the soundtrack of his next film, the comedic sci-fi adventure Men In Black. Using his real name for the first time, he recorded its title song. “Men In Black” was a mellow but bouncy groove topped off by an effortlessly slick rap from Smith. It quickly became a massive crossover hit on r&b and pop radio.

At the end of 1997, Will Smith released his first solo album, Big Willie Style. It was a smooth blend of hip-hop and pop elements with the friendly, lighthearted sense of groove that had become Smith’s trademark. “Men In Black” was featured on this album, as was Smith’s sentimental hit cover of the Bill Withers classic “Just The Two Of Us.” “Miami,” a danceable tribute to the city of its title, became another hit from this album. All these songs also boasted slick, high-tech videos built around Smith’s charismatic presence. They were in constant rotation on MTV and no doubt helped these songs cruise up the charts.

In 1999, Will Smith starred in the summer spectacle Wild Wild West. Of course, he did the poppy-yet-grooving title song and scored a hit with it. Smith’s “Wild Wild West” featured samples from the Stevie Wonder classic “I Wish” and also featured Wonder himself as a guest star in its cinematic video. Smith followed his big screen success with another smash of a solo album, Willenium. Its first single, “Will2K,” became a hit, and its accompanying video, which featured Smith leading a collection of party-going pals through various decades, was a much-requested MTV favorite.

Will Smith shows no signs of slowing down in the new decade. He continues to stay active in many different areas of the entertainment world, and there’s no doubt the future will be very bright for this gifted and multidimensional talent.

Artist Release History

1997 - Big Willie Style
1999 - Willennium

Pop Sub Categories

hip hop

Essential Music Albums

Big Willie Style (Sony)

Band Members

Will Smith vocals