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Kool Moe Dee On Will Smith


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I posted this in the Caught In The Middle section but clearly this belongs here since it relates to the Fresh Prince's music! As I'm reading the book I notice how he actually writes more highly about Will than some of the emcees ranked ahead of him, even on some of the category he gives a lower score on there's a positive comment being made, FP's clearly one of Kool Moe Dee's favorites, I'd love to see another JJFP/Kool Moe Dee collab besides the "Wild Wild West", he likes JJFP better as a group than Run-Dmc and like a lot of us fans here he likes Will better as an emcee than an actor

Comments On Will Smith: "THE UNSUNG HERO"
"Here it is, a groove, slightly transformed
Just a bit of a break from the norm
Just a little bit some'n to break the monotany
Of all that hardcore dance that has gotten to be
A little bit out of control
It's cool to dance
But what about a groove that soothes
And moves romance
Gimme a soft subtle mix
And if it ain't broke
Then don't try to fix it
And think of the summers of the past
Adjust the bass and let the alpine blast
Pop in my c.d. and let me run a rhyme
And put your car on cruise
And lay back 'cause this is summertime"

Will Smith, AKA, THE FRESH PRINCE, is probably the most underrated emcee in Hip-Hop history! Outside of Hammer, one of the greatest entertainers in Hip-Hop history, Will Smith was one of the most verbally ridiculed emcees of the late '80s to the early '90s. He was called soft, corny, weak, unskilled, and most inaccurately unreal. Ironically, it's his sincerity that pushed his career over the top. (That plus a couple of hit movies!) It was always amazing to me how the Hip-Hop climate picked and chose who they would deem cool or uncool, real or unreal, slick or corny, etc.
Will hit the scene in 1986 with the record "Girls of the World Ain't Nothing But Trouble." It was a happy-go-lucky, upbeat song about a teenage boy having problems dating. The approach was humorous and innocent. The record made an impact, and Will sold a lot of records. As the industry goes, he began to do some moderate touring because of the heat generated by the song. His live show was stellar for that time. He had a human beat box, Ready Rock C, who was famous for stimulating, doing the beat box under water; he had back-up dancers; and for the coup de grace, DJ Jazzy Jeff, one of, if not the greatest DJ of all time. Everything was great until they came to New York, and for whatever reason, the audience was non-responsive. In fact, they cheered Jeff and booed Will. The backlash of criticism began.
What was most ironic to me at the time was Run-DMC was king, and Will and Jeff were better than them. That's when we figured out how subjective the audience was. Kid Rock was cool until Vanilla Ice came; Hammer was reviled and Puffy was revered for doing basically the same thing; and Jazzy and the Fresh Prince made more simplistic, less fantastical records than most rappers at the time, yet they were called unreal. A couple of years later, using the template by Will, Special Ed dropped "I Got It Made" and was loved for it. Once again, Ed's song was much more obviously unreal, but the audience loved it. However, Will persevered and by the mid-'90s, he had numerous Grammys, music award, a hit TV show, and a couple of hit movies under his belt. By the late '90s he'd become the absolute biggest Hip-Hop star in Hip-Hop history.
At this point everybody got a late pass. Will was now not only understood, but he was respected and appreciated for his ability to stick to his authenticity and weather the critical storm. However, what's still overlooked is his skill level as an emcee. Contrary to popular belief, Will's success in music is not driven by his stardom, it's because of his skills. Of course, being a star helps him in the marketing and promotion of his music, but he sustained his career by being an excellent songwriter.
Will Smith is the example I use when I'm talking about song structure. Every single record that Will makes is always thematically solid. Every rhyme is chohesively connected to the hook, and sometimes from rhyme to rhyme and verse to verse there is continuity that's like a continuum. One verse picks up where the other leaves off. Another one of Will's strengths, which was ironically looked at as a weakness, was his ability to create and become different characters. This, to me, enhanced his storytelling ability. He was able to paint pictures with his stories by using his vocal inflections as an array of characters. In this regard Will is second only to Slick Rick and Notorious B.I.G. I think this was viewed as a weakness because of the climate of Hip-Hop when Will first hit. He took chances on conveying a lighter, fun-loving energy at a time when Hip-Hop was just being introduced to NWA.
This brings me to my final point. I call Will the "unsung hero" because in 1988, I don't think the average Hip-Hop fan understood the climate for Hip-Hop, especially with regard to rap music. The industry had been prophesying the downfall of rap music since its inception, due to what they deemed to be a fad with no mass appeal. In 1988, Run-Dmc were fading and we had no presence on the pop charts. While Hip-Hop artists were yelling, "Stay true to the game," and "Make records for the streets," no one understood how important it was to have a Hip-Hop pop record. The only record made a dent in this area was my "Wild Wild West," but it was viewed more as an R&B record, and although it helped bring the urban adult crowd into hip-hop, we still needed "middle white America." LL Cool J dropped "Going Back To Cali" but it seemed a little too avant grade. However in April, Will came through with "Parents Just Don't Understand" and struck the perfect chord. It grabbed the attention of the kids in suburbia, and began to outsell major pop records. This record, plus my "Wild Wild West", which I'll explain later, led to a chain of events that basically saved Hip-hop/rap music. First it got massive pop radio airplay, which led to him getting his perfectly crafted cartoon-like video on MTV. Remember MTV didn't play rap videos, and Run-Dmc only got some play because of their rock element. Shortly after Will's successful video run, Yo! MTV Raps created, and rap videos now had a mainstream outlet. Finally, the Grammy committee announced that there would be a rap category to the awards ceremony. The year ended with Will having a double platinum album, and the following February he was the first rapper ever to receive a Grammy! Without these events, I very seriously doubt that Hip-Hop/rap music would have turned into the billion-dollar industry that we see today.
What's really crazy is as significant as all of these events were to the survival of Hip-Hop, they were the very things Will was being criticized for. What's equally incredible is how he took it with style and grace. He never took any public shots at any of his critics. He humbly defended himself and continued to make hits. However, in 1998, he finally got some of this off his chest on his "Big Willie Style" album:
"Take ya place, allow me to flex a taste
As my accomplishments spraying my comp like mace
A' face me the star of stature TV
My face be seen in every country
Grammy winner soon to be Oscar nominee
Who he that dress Jiggy
Straight from West Philly
Thought I was wack
'Cause I wanted to act
Now every brotha-n-his mother
That rap be tryin' to do that
The ill kid hundred million dollar bill kid
The one you love to chill wit
Come on keep it real kid
Don't try to act like this summer at the Greek
You won't be bumpin' Big Willie
In ya jeep
I know y'all still feel me
Really don't act silly
Thought I feel off just because I left Philly
Took a break from the rap thing
Went on hiatus, I picked up the art of acting
To multiply papers
I chilled on sick sofa's
Chatting wit Oprah
She asked me if it's true
That me and Jeff broke up
While y'all kids busy playin'
Drug, pimp, and playa
I was in my crib in Barbados
Chillin' wit Jada
Today the vertex is me the magnanimous
Got ya sayin', damn
I've always been a fan of his
Y'all know how it is
Oh wait, hold up y'all don't
Look here
Y'all don't say nuttin
Then I won't"

Ultimately, Will gets the last laugh. The bottom line is Will Smith is one of the more well-rounded emcees in the game, and he has a plethora of styles in his arsenal, complimented by an abundance of talent. His globally palatable, innocuous presentation of his brand of Hip-Hop, amidst the incresingly more dominant violent content in gangsta rap, showed the courage, resolve, and tenacity of an eventual Hip-Hop superstar. More important the combination of his skill and integrity makes him ONE OF The TRUE GREATS AMONG ALL EMCEES!

Strength: Acting. No accident he got an Oscar nod because he created characters in music.

Weakness: Acting. his strength is his weakness. Sometimes his energy doesn't connect with the listener because it doesn't feel sincere. It comes off like he's playing a role, as opposed to coming from his heart.

Favorite Record: "Summertime" "Getting Jiggy Wit It"

Favorite LP: "Big Willie Style"

Statistical Breakdown Out Of 100 Points:

Originality Score 80:
Will came at a time when he was telling stories, his energy was lighthearted and fun. It was right on the heels of Slick Rick and Doug E. with "La Di Da Di" and a lot of people affiliated that kind of style with what was going on at the time (1986).

Concepts Score 80:
Will is one of the more conceptual emcees. He made a record of a nightmare on his street, "Twilight Zone". He will go there on the concept side.

Versatility Score 90:
Will is one of those emcees that can rhyme about anything. He definately takes chances that a lot emcees wouldn't in terms of the styles of rhymes and using his voice like an actor.

Vocabulary Score 80:
This is unique because Will has an incredible vocabulary and he doesn't choose to use it within the rap. He'll sprinkle it in there now and then, but he's not one of those guys that will hit you with a bunch of high-level vocabulary words back to back.

Substance Score 80:
Will kept it positive but he also kept it very light. He was always the alternative to what was going on in gangsta rap or hard-core rap.

Flow Score 80:
Will kept his flow in a cadence that was easy to follow, which makes him one of the best storytellers. That's part and parcel of that type of success.

Flavor Score 80:
He's an actor. He can absolutely become characters within the rhyme and he uses it in a very flavorful manner.

Freestyle Ability 80:
I've seen Will at plenty of functions come off the top of the head and because his vocabulary level is high, things that he uses you wouldn't expect him to use in his freestyle. His freestyle is kind of "nasty."

Vocal Presence Score 80:
He doesn't have a real deep dominating voice, but he has a voice that's recognizable, and he puts a lot of passion into it. Depending on whatever type of record he's trying to bring across, he usually understands how to use his voice.

Live performance score 90:
One of the best performers. If you caught him older than later. He still does his thing on the live side, and now he understands how to put a show together. He does it more like theatrical performance. That's been one of the consistent themes with him. His whole thing is about performance, and he doesn't let you down onstage either. It was really incredible when he had the beat box combined with Jazzy Jeff.

Poetic Value Score 70:
Will is one of the most underrated storytellers and he does approach it very poetically.

Body Of Work Score 90:
Will also does some of the best commercial albums as far as Hip-Hop is concerned. Because the albums are so commercia, a lot of Hip-Hop pundits don't give them their due credit. But Will has definaely made some of the most well-rounded commercial hip-hop records ever.

Industry Impact Score 100:
The all-time industry impact king. There is nobody in the history of hip-hop that has made an impact in the industry as much as Will. Forget about the movies, forget about the TV show, just on the music alone he's probably the most well-rewarded emcee ever- Grammys, music awards, and Soul Train.

Social Impact 70:
Will is very much associated with having a good time and positive in the positive role model sense, but not being too heavy in the message sense.

Longevity Score 100:
From 1986 till now, he has been at a high level in every single he's been involved with.

Lyrics Score 70:
Will is not the conventional lyricist, but he is a great songwriter.

Battle Skills Score 70:
He's not associated with battle or conflicting energy, and for the most part he has been taking a lot of criticism a lot of the time and not responding. Based on the way his mind works, if you forced his hand i'm sure he could bring it across. He just never did it.

Total Score: 1,390 out 1,700 category points Average Score: 81.7

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People need to pay more attention to what real artists like Kool Moe Dee have to say about Will being a great emcee and less attention to what fake artists like TI think about Will who just say Will's an actor who used to be a rapper

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We need to refer this article to anyone who ever has something negative to say about Fresh Prince's emcee skills, Tim should post this on the JJFP.com homepage!!!

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I think Will's greatest strength is versatility. He could do gangster rap if he wanted to, as exemplified by "I'm looking for the one to be with me",
he can easily reach that level of aggression and nastiness, but he's too smart for that. He did Reggae in Born to Reign, Dance in 'Homebase', Comedy in 'And
In this Corner', no style is beyond his reach. I don't think I've encountered that kind of versatility in an MC. Some MC's like Tupac have sharper, more cutting
verses, some have a more street style like LL Cool J, but if Will took on their style, he could more than hold his own.

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I think Will's greatest strength is versatility. He could do gangster rap if he wanted to, as exemplified by "I'm looking for the one to be with me",

he can easily reach that level of aggression and nastiness, but he's too smart for that. He did Reggae in Born to Reign, Dance in 'Homebase', Comedy in 'And

In this Corner', no style is beyond his reach. I don't think I've encountered that kind of versatility in an MC. Some MC's like Tupac have sharper, more cutting

verses, some have a more street style like LL Cool J, but if Will took on their style, he could more than hold his own.

That's exactly what Kool Moe Dee mentioned in that article, Fresh Prince takes on many roles as an mc, he's on the same level Tupac and LL when it comes to versatility

Kool Moe Dee put quite a bit of lists of hip hop greats in his book and the Fresh Prince is listed on most of them:

Kool Moe Dee's True 50 Greatest Emcees (Sports Equivalent):

1-Melle Mel(Jackie Robinson/Bill Russell)

2-Rakim(Hank Aaron/Michael Jordan)

3-KRS-ONE(Kareem Abdul-Jabar)

4-Big Daddy Kane(Dominique Wilkins)

5-Kool Moe Dee(Dr. J)

6-Grandmaster Caz(Wilt Chamberlin)

7-LL Cool J(Evander Holyfield/Magic Johnson)

8-Chuck D(Muhammad Ali/Charles Barkley)

9-Notorious BIG(Mike Tyson/ Patrick Ewing)

10-Lauryn Hill(Lisa Leslie)

11-Nas(Kobe Bryant)

12-Queen Latifah(Sheryl Swoops)

13-Tupac Shakur(Allen Iverson/Ken Griffey Jr.)

14-Kool G Rap(Bernard King/Dave Winfield)

15-Jay-Z(Shaq/Donovan Mcnabb)

16-Treach Of Naughty By Nature(Chris Webber)

17-Method Man(Tracy Mcgrady/Derek Jeter)

18-Ice Cube(Karl Malone/Mo Vaughn)

19-MC Lyte(Teresa Witherspoon)

20-Redman(Scottie Pippen/Jerome Bettis)

21-Ras Kass(Jason Kidd)

22-GZA(Kevin Garnett)

23-Will Smith AKA Fresh Prince(Rickey Henderson)

24-Busta Rhymes(Latrell Sprewell)

25-Heavy D(Isiah Thomas)

26-Xzibit(Steve Francis)

27-Common(Eddie Jones)

28-Pharoahe Monch(Vince Carter)

29-Black Thought(Jerry Stackhouse)

30-Scarface(Robert Horry)

31-Kurtis Blow(Walt Frasier)

32-Run Of Run-Dmc(Larry Bird)

33-Snoop Dogg(Lamar Odom)

34-Guru(Ray Allen)

35-Ice-T(Dennis Rodman)

36-Doug E. Fresh(Reggie Miller)

37-Keith Murray(Jalen Rose)

38-Mystical(Antonio Davis)

39-Kurupt (Rasheed Wallace)

40-Slick Rick(Earl Monroe)

41-Big Pun (Larry Johnson)

42-Lil' Kim (Chamique Holdsclaw)

43-MC Shan (Ralph Sampson)

44-Craig Mack (Penny Hardaway)

45-Jeru The Damaja (Charles Oakley)

46-Fat Joe (Anthony Mason)

47-Spoonie Gee (George Gervin)

48-Foxy Brown (Nicky Mccray)

49-Mack 10 (Malik Rose)

50-Just-Ice (Moses Malone)

50 Greatest Rappers Spittin On Wax:

1-Rakim 2-KRS-One 3-Notorious B.I.G. 4-Big Daddy Kane 5-LL Cool J

6-Tupac Shakur 7-Slick Rick 8-DMX 9-Eminem 10-Jay-Z

11-Melle Mel 12-Lauryn Hill 13-Chuck D 14-MC Lyte 15-Nas

16-Method Man 17-Kool Moe Dee 18-Queen Latifah 19-Ice Cube 20-Kool G Rap

21-Grandmaster Caz 22-Treach 23-Busta Rhymes 24-Redman 25-Run

26-Snoop Dogg 27-Heavy D 28-Kurtis Blow 29-Will Smith AKA Fresh Prince 30-Lil' Kim

31-Guru 32-MC Shan 33-Eve 34-Black Thought 35-Xzibit

36-Keith Murray 37-Craig Mack 38-Foxy Brown 39-Doug E. Fresh 40-Ras Kass

41-Kurupt 42-Common 43-Mystikal 44-Dana Dane 45-Fat Joe

46-Scarface 47-Ice-T 48-D-Nice 49-Special Ed 50-The D.O.C.

50 Greatest Solo Artists:

1-Tupac Shakur 2-Will Smith AKA Fresh Prince 3-LL Cool J 4-Queen Latifah 5-Notorious BIG

6-Jay-Z 7-Lauryn Hill 8-Ice Cube 9-Eminem 10-Snoop Dogg

11-Missy Elliot 12-MC Hammer 13-Wyclef Jean 14-Busta Rhymes 15-Chuck D

16-Ice-T 17-Nas 18-Rakim 19-KRS-ONE 20-Puffy

21-Method Man 22-Redman 23-Treach 24-Heavy D 25-Kool Moe Dee

26-Melle Mel 27-Kurtis Blow 28-Big Daddy Kane 29-Ja Rule 30-MC Lyte

31-Coolio 32-Tone Loc 33-Speech 34-Doug E. Fresh 35-Slick Rick

36-Nelly 37-Lil' Kim 38-Kool G Rap 39-Eve 40-Master P

41-Guru 42-Da Brat 43-Luke Skywalker 44-Black Thought 45-Common

46-Scarface 47-Young MC 48-Baby 49-Eazy-E 50-Too Short

10 Comic Artists:

1-Flava Flav 2-Biz Markie 3-O.D.B. 4-Busta Rhymes 5-J.D.L.

6-Slick Rick 7-Dana Dane 8-Will Smith AKA Fresh Prince 9-Chubb Rock 10-Grand Puba

10 Hip-Hop Pop Kings:

1-Will Smith AKA Fresh Prince 2-MC Hammer 3-Kurtis Blow 4-Puffy 5-Tone Loc

6-Wyclef Jean 7-Coolio 8-Young MC 9-Sir Mix-Alot 10-Nelly/Vanilla Ice/Ja Rule

10 Best Storytellers:

1-Slick Rick 2-Biggie 3-Scarface 4-Nas 5-Ice Cube

10 Slept On Emcees:

1-Brother J 2-Kam 3-King Sun 4-CL Smooth 5-Paris

6-Intelligent Hoodlum 7-Chill Rob G 8-Lin Q 9-Lakim Shabazz 10-Nonchalent

11 Lyrical Secrets:

1-T-LA Rock 2-Raheim 3-Special K 4-Tito 5-Twista

6-Craig G 7-Lord Finesse 8-DLB 9-Def Jef 10-Tracey Lee 11-Del The Funky Homosapien

6-Will Smith 7-LA Sunshine 8-Kid Creole 9-Dana Dane 10-Biz Markie

Edited by bigted
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AWESOME STUFF! His style really is cool and original. For me the Greatest rapper of all time. Style, fun, comedy, skill, performance, lyrics. And to do it without cursing??!!! AMAZING.

THEN he became a movie star!!! Its really amazing when you think about it.

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If songs like "From Da South" and "Don't Say Nothing"(nice to see Kool Moe Dee acknowledge that song in his book) got airplay like LL's "Mama Said Knock You Out" and 2Pac's "Hit 'Em Up" then more people would realize you can't mess wit the Fresh Prince

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