Jump to content
Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince Forum

Happy 40th B-day Will


Recommended Posts

Hey..there is Will Smith tribute on allhiphop.com on features about him! Mostly positive feedbacks from people! Great to see on Will on a front page of a major hiphopsite...maybe the number one hiphopsite in the world!

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince was a hip hop group that experienced extreme popularity in the 1980s and 1990s. The vocalist, Will Smith (The Fresh Prince), met Jeff Townes (DJ Jazzy Jeff) while trying to make a name for himself in West Philadelphia's local hip hop scene. After joining forces with Clarence Holmes aka Ready Rock C, the team became local celebrities. Holmes left the group in 1990 and sued them in 1999.

They received the first rap Grammy ever in 1989 for "Parents Just

Don't Understand". The two are still friends and claim that they never

split up, having made songs under Smith's solo performer credit.[2]

Early years (1985-1987)

Jeff Townes and Will Smith were introduced to each other by chance

in 1985. One night, Townes was performing at a house party only a few

doors down from Smith's residence, and he was missing his hype man.

Smith decided to fill in and both felt strong chemistry: so much that

Townes was upset when his hype man finally made it to the party.[3]

Soon after, the two decided to join forces. Smith enlisted a friend

to join as the beatboxer of the group, Clarence Holmes (Ready Rock C),

making them a trio. Philadelphia-based Word Up Records released their

first single in late 1985 to 1986 when A&R man Paul Oakenfold[4] introduced them to Word Up with their single "Girls Ain't Nothing but Trouble," a tale of misadventures with the opposite sex.[5] The song sampled the theme song of "I Dream of Jeannie."

Smith became known for light-hearted story-telling raps and capable,

though profanity-free, "battle" rhymes. The single became a hit a month

before Smith graduated from high school.[6] Townes was known for his turntable acrobatics, and he is credited by many as inventing a style of scratching called transforming.

Based on this success, the duo was brought to the attention of Jive Records and Russell Simmons. The duo's first album, Rock the House, which was 1st released on Word Up in 1986 debuted on Jive in March of 1987. The album sold about 300,000 units. That same year, the band found themselves on their first major tour with Run DMC, Public Enemy, and others.

He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper (1988)

Their 1988 follow-up album, He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper made them multi-platinum stars. Mostly recorded in the UK, the album was rap music's first double-vinyl LP release (also issued as a single cassette and CD). "Parents Just Don't Understand," the lead-off single, made them MTV household names. "Parents Just Don't Understand"

also gained the honor of the first Grammy for a hip hop/rap song, which

was met to mixed feelings. Nevertheless, the single was a success,

launching the group into even more mainstream stardom.

The video showed Prince's misadventures of trying to get around his

parent's strict rules in a very comical way, very much like their first

single "Girls Ain't Nothing but Trouble."

It gained much airplay on TV channels such as MTV, giving the group

much attention. The song was played on the first episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and referenced a few times. The video did not feature the beatboxer Ready Rock C.

Another single, "Nightmare on My Street," showcased a fictional confrontation with movie villain Freddy Krueger. Coinciding with the release of the fourth Nightmare on Elm Street film (1988’s The Dream Master); New Line Cinema was not pleased. A video allegedly shot for the single was buried, and

a disclaimer was hastily included on pressings of the album indicating

that the record was not officially affiliated with any of the Nightmare films. (Ironically, Jive Records ended up releasing the soundtrack to the next film in the series, The Dream Child.) The lead single from Rock the House and "Girls Ain't Nothing but Trouble" were re-released and changed a bit from its original 1985 release, referencing singles "Nightmare on My Street" and "Parents Just Don't Understand":

Jeff: Man, first your parents just don't understand

Will: Word, I know, man.

Jeff: Then you have these crazy nightmares.

Will: Why Me? Why Me?

The last single was "Brand New Funk" sampled a James Brown song and quotes; however it is Ready Rock C saying get down in the song. In the song, Prince explains how Jeff has brought in a

tape that contains a very cool song that he cannot help but rap over,

and how fans react to it. The song was well received by many hip hop

fans, due because of its funk sound and lyrical spins and the fact that

it showed off more of the skills of Jazzy Jeff. The video was shot in

black and white, showed live performance clips from a concert, and

featured 2 Damn Hype Dancing. This is the only music video to feature

the third member of the group, Ready Rock C (it is possible he was in the "Nightmare on My Street" video, but it was allegedly axed).

And in This Corner..., television, and hiatus (1989-1990)

The group up until 1990

1989 saw the release of And in This Corner…, the group's third LP. While the sales were a success, reaching gold, the trio's popularity was slipping. The crossover curse of various rap acts had come to pass, as their initial audience

felt they had become too accessible; non-crossover rap acts like Big Daddy Kane and Boogie Down Productions had bigger street followings; meanwhile, pop radio had latched on to new faces like Tone Loc and Young MC, while non-radio followers became more enamored with hardcore acts like Ice-T and 2 Live Crew.

The lead single, "I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson"

was in the same vein as their other lead singles; with this one having

Will say he could literally beat Mike Tyson in a boxing match. Jazzy

Jeff is shown training Prince to perform this task, and after Prince

loses, Jeff then claims that he might be able to do it himself. James Avery and Alfonso Ribeiro (co-stars of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) show up as Don King and member of the fighting crew's posse, respectively.

The next single was Jazzy's Groove, sampling Nautilus in the chorus and bridge. The song features much more of Jazzy Jeff, like in Brand New Funk; Jazzy Jeff gives a 'math lesson' by making the sound clips add 1+1, 2+1, and 2+2.

Due to a self-admitted spendthrift attitude [7], Smith felt he had nothing to lose when a producer from NBC and Quincy Jones approached him with an idea for a sitcom, with Townes appearing as a recurring character, named "Jazz". The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air boosted his profile and his pocketbook. Smith blew through almost 2.8

million dollars, while giving none to the IRS for taxes. Soon after

"And in This Corner..." was released, Smith was sentenced by the IRS to

pay this all back. For the first three seasons of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Smith had 70% of his paycheck garnished by the IRS.

Ready Rock C left the group in 1990 due to creative differences. Smith claimed that beatboxing at this time of hip hop was "played out"[ Holmes later sued the duo in 1999.

Homebase (1991-1992)

Still having a bit of extra money from starring in the successful sitcom, the duo to stage a comeback album in 1991, Homebase.

The platinum album featured a more mature sound from the group, with

Smith rapping in a deeper, consistent voice and changed their sound to

fit the era's trend of hip-hop. Homebase featured the lead-off single “Summertime”, which added rap lyrics to the music of the Kool & the Gang instrumental "Summer Madness" and has become one of their most enduring

hits. The video features clips from a family reunion in Philly, and

shows the duo being driven around while sitting atop a car. Summertime

earned the duo its second Grammy win. The next singles were "Ring My

Bell" and "Things That U Do". Both featured the typical sound of the

early 90s. Both videos for the songs featured a different version from

the original found on the LP.

The final single for the release was "You Saw My Blinker", a song

about an old lady that crashed into Prince's new car and his anger at

the events that happened thereafter. This is the first (and one of the

only) songs where Smith curses, saying the word 'bitch' (To the left lane I tried to switch, then, you saw my blinker, bitch). Prince's voice is a bit deeper than usual, to make it sound like he's agitated, similar to "Then She Bit Me" from And in This Corner... This song reached #20 Billboard Hot 100 and #22 Hot R&B/Hip Hop singles.

Code Red and unofficial split (1993-1994)

Code Red,

their last studio LP as a duo was released in 1993, reaching gold

sales. This LP featured a self admitted harder sound than their other

songs, with Jazzy Jeff saying "We wanted to take a new direction. It

wasn't that we were concentrating on harder, it was just different" [9], featuring more jazz and soul samples than previous releases. The lead single "Boom! Shake the Room"

reached #1 in UK and Australia, and featured a harder sound than any of

their other songs. Other singles were "I'm Looking For the One (To Be

With Me)", which is similar to "Summertime", and "I Wanna Rock", which

showed off more of Jazzy Jeff's DJ skills.

Shortly afterward, Smith began to pursue acting full-time. He played his first lead role in 1993’s Six Degrees of Separation. 1996’s Independence Day cemented him as a major draw, and he left the Fresh Prince sitcom that same year. Strangely, he and Townes ended up being sued by

Jive, who alleged that the duo was still under contract to create more

albums. In an interview, Smith has stated that while shooting Men in Black he approached Jive with the "Men in Black" single;

they turned him down, saying that it couldn’t be a hit. In the

aftermath of the movie and soundtrack’s success, the duo settled the

lawsuit out of court. Hence, their greatest hits compilation includes two cuts from the M.I.B. soundtrack.

Since then, Smith has released three solo cds on Columbia/Sony

records. After being dropped by Columbia he released 1 cd in 2005 on

Interscope. Townes released 2 albums on the famous UK DJ label BBE. He has also become an R&B producer of note, overseeing releases by Jill Scott, Rhymefest and many others.

2008 tour

The duo is planning on a 2008 summer tour connecting dates with the openings of Smith's film, Hancock

Link to comment
Share on other sites

continuation ^^

Big Willie Style is the first solo studio album recorded by Will Smith, after spending most of his career as the latter half of DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince. The album, regarded by critics and fans as his signature album (and, by many, as one of the most innovative and consistent rap albums of all time), was released on Columbia Records in the United States on November 25, 1997 and featured a total of four hit singles (all of them reached the UK Top 3) – "Men In Black" (released earlier in the year on the soundtrack for the movie of the same name), "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" (which redefined popular use of the word jiggy), the retro-styled jam "Miami" and the meaningful message to fathers and sons of "Just the Two of Us".

The first single from the album, "Men in Black", was not released in

the U.S. as a physical single, and was therefore unable to chart in

Billboard. "Men In Black" enjoyed a worldwide release, and reached #1

in many countries. The song spent an entire month at the top of the UK

singles charts, becoming the 6th biggest hit single there in 1997. The

second single from the album, "Just Cruisin'"

was also from the movie "Men in Black", and was a minor hit worldwide.

The track was only included in the British edition of "Big Willie

Style". The follow-up, "Gettin' Jiggy wit It" was a big hit, spending 2 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 from March 14, 1998 to March 28, 1998,

Smith's first #1 hit in his homeland. The track became a Top 5

elsewhere. As a fourth single, "Just the Two of Us" was released in

August 1998, and was another big hit, reaching #2 in the UK and making

the U.S. Top 20. The final single was "Miami", accompanied with an

expensive, ambitious music video, and released in November 1998. The

track also made an impressive performance in the charts, reaching #3 in

the UK and #17 in the U.S.

In the U.S. the album debuted at #31 and then began to lose position

until "Gettin' Jiggy With it" was released, rising to #10. Then the

album began to fall again, but, in the wake of the release of the very

well-received "Just the Two of Us", the album reached a new peak

position of #8, where spent 3 weeks. In the U.S. spent a total of 7

weeks on the Top 10, 69 weeks on the Top 40 and 99 weeks on the whole Billboard 200. The album was eventually certified 9x platinum by RIAA on July 20, 2000, denoting 9 million shipments in the U.S alone.

Meanwhile, the album debuted in the UK charts at #63 and then fell

positions very quickly, but it gained new chart power with the release

of "Gettin' Jiggy With it", reaching #11 in March 1998. Then the album

began to fall again on the list, but stayed constant gainings through

the entire 1998 following the subsequent single releases. Then, on late

January 1999,

in the wake of the release of the final single "Miami", the album

finally reached its peak position of #9, and then began its final fall

on the charts. This unusual chart run from the album materialized on

just one week on the Top 10, 38 weeks on the Top 40 but a total of an

impressive 108 weeks inside the whole UK albums charts, making 3

re-entries on it.

Worldwide sales are over 14 million, making it one of the best-selling rap albums of all time.

Smith won 2 Grammy Awards in the Best Rap Solo Performance category for the songs "Men In Black", in 1997, and "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It",

in 1998, making of Smith the only artist in history to receive two

Grammies from this category for two songs from the same album.

Nas was

also a co-writer on this album with Will Smith. He is credited under

his real name, Nasir Jones and worked on 3 songs on the album including

the #1 hit "Getting Jiggy Wit It".

Willennium is the second solo studio album released by Will Smith. Surrounded by the unprecedented success of Big Willie Style, the album was released on Columbia Records in the United States on November, 1999 and featured a fantastic production (surrounded by a big number of celebrities featured). Willennium produced a new string of hit singles. The first of them was "Wild Wild West," originally released earlier in the year on the soundtrack for the movie of the same name. Although the movie was a big failure, the song managed to be a huge hit throughout the world, reaching #1 in the U.S. on July 24, 1999,

and on the United World Chart the same day (Smith's only #1 hit

worldwide). The song also managed to reach Top 10 positions worldwide,

including a #2 peak on the UK charts (where it was blocked by ATB's "9pm (Till I Come)".

The following single was the huge hit "Will 2K". The song was specifically created as a party song for the New Year's Day for the new millennium. It sampled The Clash's "Rock the Casbah" and referenced Prince's then-timely song "1999" with the lyrics, "Now we gonna party like it's nineteen...hold up, it is." It also poked fun at the hype surrounding Y2K. The song only reached #25 in the US chart but peaked at #2 in the UK chart (this time blocked by Robbie Williams's big-seller "She's the One/It's Only Us" Double-A sided single). The track also ranked at #32 on Blender's list of the "50 Worst Songs Ever". [1]

The blockbuster predecessor album, Big Willie Style, dissapeared from the charts only two months before Willennium after enjoying an almost 2-year chart run materialized on over 9 million copies sold in the U.S. After such a huge hit, Willennium was received with big expectations from critics and general public. The album was released on November 16, 1999,

on a very competitive week with other huge Christmas-seasoned releases.

"Willennium" managed to reach #5 with a total of 187,000 copies sold in

its debut week, being blocked by other big new releases as Korn's Issues (which debuted at #1 with 573,000 copies), Dr. Dre's Dr. Dre 2001 (#2 with 516,000 copies) and Celine Dion's All the Way... A Decade of Song (#3 with 302,000 copies sold).[1] It was the only time Smith managed to reach the Top 5 of the Billboard 200 list as a solo artist, and surpassing notouriously the #9 peak position of the multimillion-seller Big Willie Style.

During the following "millennium-themed" weeks, the album stayed at the

Top 10, but on its sixth week on the charts it first missed it, and

then fell very quickly from the charts as the interest due the fact the

Y2K has been gone and the fact that Columbia didn't manage to produce

new hit singles from the album (the third single, "Freakin' It" reached

only #99 in the U.S. and #15 in the UK, first Smith single to fail the

UK Top 3 as a solo artist). Falling very quickly through the list, the

album dissapeared from the whole Billboard 200 list on late June 2000

after enjoy a full 26 weeks of charting, a little more than a quarter

compared with Big Willie Style. Similar reaction was the one

from the UK, with the album reaching #10 and spending a poor 30 weeks

at the chart compared to the 108 of Big Willie Style.

In all, Willennium sold only 2 million on the U.S. (being certified 2xPlatinum by the RIAA on December 17, 1999)

and no more than 4 million worldwide. This is also less than a third

compared with the sales of its predecessor. Though the low sales, Willennium was often considered a successful effort for Smith and a step forward on his creative output.

Born to Reign is the third solo studio album released by Will Smith. The album was released on Columbia Records in the United States on June 25, 2002 and was considered a drop from his previous level of succes, having only reached Gold status by the RIAA, whereas Big Willie Style and Willennium both reached multiplatinum status. Smith's 2005 album, Lost and Found (which reclaimed the some of the success the aforementioned albums had)

addressed this with the title and numerous references to him focusing

on acting over rapping.

This album includes the semi-successful tracks "Willow is a Player"

and "Black Suits Comin'" which is also the lead single from the

soundtrack to the major motion picture Men in Black II.

Lost and Found is the first studio album by Will Smith on Interscope Records after several releases with Columbia. This is his first new release since Born To Reign in 2002 (which featured the Men in Black 2 song "Black Suits Comin'

(Nod Ya Head)"), he released a Greatest Hits CD the same year. Released

in early 2005, the album features the hit single "Switch". Guest artists on the album include Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris and long-time partner DJ Jazzy Jeff.

The title comes from how he felt he was "lost" since he's put rap

primarily on hold to do films, and "found" because he's back again. The

album cover features Smith with a street sign saying West Philly &

Hollywood in reference to his Philadelphia roots and current Hollywood life as a superstar.

The album is consistent in its critiques of the perceived state of hip hop,

and the album has gained some notoriety because of a track entitled

"Mr. Nice Guy", in which he takes slight shots at those who have

criticized him in the past, namely Wendy Williams, Larry Elder, and Eminem.

The first track "Here He Comes" features Will rapping about his

return to rap & versatility (a common theme), sampling the classic Spider-Man theme song from the 1980s cartoon. Other tracks include "If U Can't

Dance (Slide)" which includes the "Women equate dance with sex" line

that appears in Smith's movie Hitch;

along with a song about a real life stalker ("Loretta") while "Ms. Holy

Roller" deals with his view that extremist Christians are just as bad

as the extremists who committed the terrorist bombings of 9/11, as well

as aspects of his own faith and his ex-wife's conversion to

Christianity. Both the title track & "I Wish I Made That/Swagga"

deal with Smith commenting on current hip-hop. "I Wish I Made

That/Swagga" is really two short songs, with the first half ("I Wish I

Made That") talking about critiques of him not being "black enough" and

black radio not playing his music despite high record sales. It

references recent rap hits including Jay-Z's "Dirt Off Your Shoulder", Terror Squad's "Lean Back", Snoop Dogg's (who is a guest artist on "Pump Ya Brakes") "Drop It Like It's Hot" as well as Smith's own 1991 hit "Summertime" from his DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince days. The second half (aka "Swagga") is about his return to rap ("I got

my swagga [swagger] back"). In "Lost & Found" he speaks how he

doesn't do the standard "sex, drugs and violence" songs as found in

popular gangsta rap and the similarities and stereotypes of current hip-hop. This also

contains only very light language, such as occasional use of the word

"damn", but never any "explicit" curse words, which is very common in the modern hip-hop genre.

"(Yup) truck wit rims (check) throw back jersey (check)/champagne

bottles (check) lot's of models (check)/Damn that's the list for 90

percent of y'all videos and songs/Am I wrong?"

The track "Tell Me Why" is one of Will's most emotional, touching

and dark tracks, it tells about senseless violence, about how hate is

unable to defeat love on this earth.

"Mmmmm, souls are captured/Dreams are stolen, hearts are broken/Evil

blatantly rewarded/Hate surrenders, Love exalted/Hope elated,

negativity is shorted"

"Please what am I supposed to say to my kids when they say 'Why?'"

The song "Tell Me Why" was originally planned to be Will's second single but producers of "Party Starter" started mixing a new version for the song already.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm keeping the thread going there, I post on that website regularly myself, allhiphop.com is the truth

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm keeping the thread going there, I post on that website regularly myself, allhiphop.com is the truth

I had an account on allhiphop.com. I just can't remember my screen name...

WILL!!!! Wishing You a Joyous Belated dearheart .....



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...