Ale Posted July 9, 2009 Report Share Posted July 9, 2009 (edited) The Fame and the Respect Upon first being introduced to Smith's catchy, radio-friendly songs with his debut solo-LP, 1997's Big Willie Style, many began fully appreciating that the 'Men in Black' were indeed the good guys. Audiences were also keen to understand the whole concept of 'Gettin' Jiggy Wit' It', and had ambitions to party on the beach in 'Miami' 'til the break of dawn. People loved Will Smith, but did they ever really take him seriously? Particularly in Hip-Hop, Smith has had his fair share of critics down the years. At the time of releasing his second solo album Willenium, it was becoming fashionable to hate on Will Smith. Hip-Hop artists such as Dr. Dre and Eminem were the main candidates to openly express their displeasure with Smith's popularity in the industry. And most recently, 18 year old Bow Wow in XXL magazine (Nov 2005) said -ironically- that Smith "wasn't a real rapper" and was "more of a bubblegum rapper." Smith had the fame, but not the respect. The Impact Of Lost & Found Jeff Townes, the backbone of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince and Will's longterm best friend, had always been a respected DJ in the game, but because of Smith's incredibly popularity the rapper of the duo failed to reach a similar level from his time in the mid-'80s to the late '90s. Arguably, after Will's third studio album Born 2 Reign failed to captivate critics and audiences alike, it wasn't 'til Smith's 4th solo album Lost & Found (his 9th in total) that people finally began respecting the rapper for his solo work. At the time of L&F's release, and with the culture of Hip-Hop seriously in question, Smith wisely began searching for props for his versatility as a clean-cut rapper in the industry, spittin' lines such as: "I ain't claiming to reign But when ya'll talk about rap Ya'll gon start saying my name; For real though I ain't playin Plenty of y'all love a brotha just scared to say it." ('Lost and Found') The was certified Gold; however, it was Smith's consistency in providing profanity-free lyrics over party-inspiring Hip-Hop beats that finally gained the artist some street credibility from other Hip-Hop artists, for his 25 years in the industry. ?uestlove, of the critically-acclaimed Philadelphian Hip-Hop band 'The Roots', spoke out in an interview in 2009 by saying he will "Always respect Will Smith for what he has done in the game." Nas also gave props to the star on the track 'Can't Forget About You': "Can't forget that the first rap grammy went to Jazzy and Fresh Prince,"; as did The Game, in his track 'Game's Pain': "Now that's some real s***, blaze a Philly it's the Summertime, shoutout to Will Smith, 'cause who didn't wanna be the Fresh Prince?, Flat Top Gold Chain And Some Fresh Kicks." Going Back To The Fresh Prince's Roots Now, people are more inclined to look back into Hip-Hop history and appreciate Smith's influence on the culture, from which it has evolved today. What was often overlooked was Smith's emceeing abilities, particularly within his early years. He was capable of humorous, light-hearted story-telling, as well as performing profanity-free battle rhymes that competed with some of the best, first wave Philadelphian rappers to gain notoriety in the area; including the much-respected Steady B. And with Jeff's backing, the Fresh Prince began touring with the likes of Run DMC and Public Enemy to entertain crowds. Then, of course, there was the achievement of the first ever Grammy in the category of Hip-Hop/Rap in 1988, for their single 'Parents Just Don't Understand'. This paved the way for other artists to market their music on a commercial level; thus, increasing the popularity of the music genre. Hip-Hop has always been a diverse art-form, even though it is often mis-interpreted primarily for its 'Gangsta' lifestyle. Despite this false stereotype, and pressures from the media and other artists, Will Smith, surely, deserves some serious props as he has continued to make "Will Smith Music" throughout his long career. Notably, many people, including myself, are no longer ashamed to give credit to Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince for introducing them to Hip-Hop music. But, perhaps more significantly, it is now at 40 years old that the emcee is receiving some street credit for his 25 year commitment to the industry. The man is proof that you can have the respect as well as the fame. Finally, he is becoming recognized as one of the pioneers of Hip-Hop. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1891748/will_smith_the_fame_and_the_respect.html?cat=33 Edited July 9, 2009 by Ale Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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