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Bob

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Bob last won the day on May 7 2013

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  1. The Ringer went in on Will for his patented "I will do a live impromptu performance of my hits every time I need to market a movie". This performance on Colbert ranked pretty high on their rankings. (This is a separate article from the Ringer article I just posted about him being the original gangster on the Ringer's site). https://theringer.com/will-smith-suicide-squad-fresh-prince-4d1662ed7b36#.6u1p0y2lh
  2. Didn't see this posted yet on the forum (if so, apologies). With the frustration abound about Will's lack of engagement in the music scene, I thought I'd share this article from the Ringer (the heir to Grantland, the niche sports and pop culture site). It got me on a positive note about the Fresh Prince. Much of what it discusses is what we've mused about on the forum for years, but I thought it'd make people smile, as it did for me. Some of his rhymes would be pretty shocking if he did them today given his brand. Anyway - enjoy: https://theringer.com/will-smith-started-as-a-gangsta-rapper-65e7a9afa51e#.t0bg4yf7m Build a Case Will Smith Was a Gangsta Rapper by Shea Serrano Before there was NWA, there was … the Fresh Prince? Arturo Torres Will Smith started out his career as a gangsta rapper. I understand that it feels stupid to read or consider that for the first time, but did you know that when Alfred Wegener first presented the idea of continental drift in 1912, he was widely criticized and mocked? That’s true. Scientists used to think that there were mountains on the earth because the earth was shrinking and the mountains were just excess material pushing up on itself, like how after you blow a balloon up real big and then let all the air out of it, it gets wrinkly. So: There was this album that came out in November of 1987 called N.W.A. and the Posse. Occasionally it gets listed as NWA’s first album, but it was just a compilation album that starred NWA. (This was about nine months before they released Straight Outta Compton, the album that made them the most famous gangsta rap group of all time.) N.W.A. and the Posse had 11 songs on it. Five of the songs were by acts that had some sort of tie to NWA but weren’t actually in the group (the Posse, as it were), and the remaining six featured members of NWA. I mention this all because one of the songs led by an NWA member has an important connection to Will Smith, otherwise known as the Fresh Prince, otherwise known as the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. The song is called “Fat Girl.” It’s by Eazy-E and Ron-De-Vu, and it’s about a woman Eazy-E says is overweight and also in love with him. In the second verse, Eazy-E describes an altercation between the two: She begins aggressively pursuing him, hugging him and kissing on him without his permission. There’s a point where she gives him a hug so big that she lifts his tiny body up off the ground, and that’s just a great and happy thing to think about — his little Nike Cortez gangster shoes dangling at the end of his helpless legs. But then he breaks free of her grip, runs to his house, and begins loading a gun to defend himself. (This seems like an overreaction on his part.) She comes running at him and he tries to shoot her, but his gun jams so he grabs a harpoon gun(!) and swings it at her. It’s unclear whether or not he hits her with it — he raps, “As I swung, the fat girl fell,” which leaves it open to interpretation — but based on the provocative nature of Eazy-E’s songs, I’m inclined to believe that he connected. (However, prior to this moment, I wasalso inclined to believe that Eazy-E was not an avid marine-life hunter — having ready access to his own harpoon gun would seem to suggest otherwise, so there’s a chance I’m wrong here, too.) It’s a weird scene and a hostile scene, but not one that seems even a tiny bit strange happening in NWA’s version of the universe. And this all connects back to Will Smith, whose gummy-rap music is generally considered the antithesis to NWA’s gangsta rap anarchy. Here’s how: Jive Records Seven months before N.W.A. and the Posse was released, Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff put out their first album, Rock the House. The first song on the album is called “Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble” and it’s about how girls aren’t anything but trouble (rappers in the ’80s liked to title their songs in the most direct ways possible). It’s fun and it’s catchy and Will Smith is Will Smith so it all feels very nonthreatening to listen to, even today. But the thing of it is: Nearly the exact same scenario plays out with Smith and a girl as in Eazy-E’s “Fat Girl,” and it ends just as violently, if not more so, depending on how you feel about trash cans. Smith meets a girl, they make chitchat, then she becomes aggressive. He raps, “She started grabbin’ all over me and kissing and hugging,” and so what do you think Smith does to this girl who is grabbin’ all over him and kissing and hugging? I’ll tell you what he does, because if you don’t already know then you’ll never, ever guess: He ****ing punches her in the chin. Can you even believe that? Picture that. Picture Will Smith punching a woman in the chin. It’s as unfunny to think about as it is funny to think about Eazy-E getting lifted up off the ground during a hug. There’s a version of “Girls Ain’t Nothing but Trouble” that came out in 1988 and it had a proper video, so it’s the way more popular version of the song. In that one, he just shoves her away after she starts kissing on him. But the punch is there in the original version on Rock The House. The full line is, “She started grabbin’ all over me and kissing and hugging / So I punched her in her chin, I said, ‘You better stop buggin’!’” After he punches her, the woman starts yelling that she’s been raped(!!), and so guess how he responds to that? He hits her again, except this time WITH A GODDAMN TRASH CAN. The full lyric: “I got scared when she started to yell / So I hit her with a trash can and ran like hell.” (They scrubbed this part from the 1988 version as well. In that version, he gives her his wallet and runs away. Which is not a better solution.) ....(continued at: https://theringer.com/will-smith-started-as-a-gangsta-rapper-65e7a9afa51e#.t0bg4yf7m)
  3. Bob

    20 Years of JazzyJeffFreshPrince.com

    This is amazing. I can't believe from Da south is what he remembers?!?! Jeff is absolutely right. That's nuts. Thanks for making this site it keeping it running. And indulging some of us when we weren't so versed in hip hop (I remember debating Ludacris as a social commentator - hahaha). Fun times.
  4. Bob

    The fall of Will Smith

    Good read. It actually reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend about how Will and Dwayne Johnson ("The Rock") have, in different ways, faced parallel struggles. I'd be interested to see if anyone else agrees with this: Will balanced music and film to great success when his movies were blockbusters. As his focus shifted to Oscar-worthy leads, Will's demeanor about the music industry soured, in a play for respect and credibility in the eyes of Hollywood's critics. He no longer was a duo with Jeff, as their collaborations for movie premiers became a novelty rather than a true collaboration. When the Oscar never came for Pursuit of Happyness, Will tried his hand a few more times (e.g., Seven Pounds) and found himself struggling to regain traction. What followed was sporadic shifts back into action, sequels and a moonshot goal to get his son huge starpower. Dwayne balanced sports entertainment and film until he and his then wife (who was his manager) split. He soured on his former profession and just like Will, declared he was done with that element of his life. He tried to diversify and build a resume independent his roots, but he couldn't gain traction. It was only when his ex-wife re-entered as his manager, that he remembered his roots and found a way to spark his creativity and commercial success through leveraging his roots rather than ignoring them. I think Will is doing something similar here. I think he's realizing that he is inherently the Fresh Prince in so much of what makes him tick. He has a creative mind and an outlet that truly allows such creativity is music. It's something he can perform live in front of crowds and really get a feel for the audience's reaction. Dwayne has done similar, returning to sports entertainment, as he said, to stay connected to the pulse of the fan since it's all in the moment. Will's freestyle game was legendary, his best music was when it was in narrative form (Brand New Funk, followed by Just One of Those Days and Nightmare on my Street are at the very top of my list). To lend from an earlier article posted where Jeff mentioned the ability to just release songs now and a different interview where Will acknowledged the 16 bars and repeat formula is archaic, I think Will just wants to be creative again. And he knows music is going to produce so many positive derivatives in his career in film too. It's a win-win and I'm excited because he seems truly back.
  5. I'm still cynical to a degree that I'd put actual the over/under on actual Jeff beats at maybe 2 songs on the whole album. I hope I'm wrong and that it's much more.
  6. ​I'm very much of the same opinion. He doesn't need to preach it, per se, but I think that there's no gain or benefit to him doing it, so why start now? I almost think he didn't say the word completely, but the point remains that he has so much equity built up in how he's approached rhyming that I would hate to see it dropped. Especially now that people have really moved away from hard lyrics. No one is clamoring for the G-Unit types anymore. If anything, much of popular hip hop has gotten over the "coolness" of a curse. ​what about the success of the straight up compton movie and the success of the new dr dre album? there's still some gangsta rap in mainstream today ​I think those are outliers. Important ones, absolutely, but not the trend. They all come back to a group that paved the way in that realm. It's not critical mass like it was ten years ago, where it's the norm.
  7. ​Yeah, really I have to say I'm happily eating my own words. I remember one time deep in the archives of this forum I was exasperated and was ranting something to the effect of "there's no chance. He's commented dismissively about it, he's shooting for an Oscar and therefore has lost all appetite. And AJ was steadfast in the "you never know, he's got it in his blood." Funny enough, Will's performance in Concussion and therefore it's consideration for Oscar season is going to squarely hit the same timing as his return to music. ....So in a sense, what do I know lol.
  8. Bob

    HI GUYS!

    Welcome back (from a fellow absentee)...It's great to see the community going strong. I hate when I disappear myself but it's that much more reassuring to see everyone here holding down the fort.
  9. I'm going to do everything in my power to be front row for a Philly show. I may also do a Chicago show, as I'm out here for business school. I kicked myself for missing Live 8 in hindsight.
  10. ​I'm very much of the same opinion. He doesn't need to preach it, per se, but I think that there's no gain or benefit to him doing it, so why start now? I almost think he didn't say the word completely, but the point remains that he has so much equity built up in how he's approached rhyming that I would hate to see it dropped. Especially now that people have really moved away from hard lyrics. No one is clamoring for the G-Unit types anymore. If anything, much of popular hip hop has gotten over the "coolness" of a curse.
  11. AHHHHHHH!!!! This is awesome. When I saw the post on facebook, I thought it was some kind of "oh here's a song he did ten years ago." Then I reread...and reread. and then listened. And listened again. And then went to his site. Somethings happening. This is amazing. You guys rock to have this forum still running. So so hyped for more Fresh Prince music. What's interesting is the same type of buzz for this song is the buzz we saw for Switch. I distinctly remember radio hosts saying "this is different and could be hard to put down". The same type of curiosity is playing out now. (Side Note: This is my hour and a half delayed response after forgetting my password. Makes me realize that as life changes, and my so much has, the community is a great anchor just to say hi and be back in it all. Hope everyone is doing well!) .....
  12. Wait - was this the willywood verse? I listened to each one and it must have been lesser parts of the rap, because I didn't hear the infamous "Take the H out of Hollywood..."
  13. Bob

    A message from Jeff

    Haha that delay was priceless. Good to hear from him.
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