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*Official* Lost and Found Review Post


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If it's something new and fresh you seek in the hip hop genre, look no further. Will Smith has just the thing to put a spring in your step.

"Lost and Found," Smith's latest album, is a refreshing change from the expected negative redundancy that seems to be plaguing hip hop artists nationwide. Listeners will be hard pressed to find any bad vibes from Smith on this disc, which is a rarity for those who play the rap game.

Instead, we are treated to catchy tunes, such as "If U Can't Dance (Slide)" which easily conjures a grin with lyrics like, "Rule No. 4, out on the floor / don't be doing moves that don't nobody do no more / draw too much attention to be adventurous out on the floor / There's a reason that don't nobody do 'em no more."

From time to time, Smith does hop on and off his soap box, addressing religious oppression in "Ms. Holy Roller" or touching on societal issues in "Tell Me Why," including lyrics such as, "Why is the bomb always getting the last word / and why did her uncle have to molest her / and why did all them cops have to be shootin' to kill / and why did all them priests have to act so ill?" But he never stays on long enough to kill the upbeat tone found throughout the album.

"Lost and Found" is as charming and entertaining as the Prince himself, and a welcome breath of fresh air.

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Will Smith

Album: Lost and Found

Label: Interscope Records

Release Date: 03/29/2005

Posted: 04/07/2005

By: Thomas L. Strickland

Buy this at Amazon.com

Dear Will --

I'm going to make this as quick and painless as possible.

Will, you're a movie star. Unfortunately, you're not a hip hop star. Not anymore.

From track one, Lost and Found is uncomfortably embarrassing. I'm not embarrassed that someone might hear it coming out of my car. Instead, I'm embarrassed for you.

Your first track -- "Here He Comes" -- starts off with a brilliant sample from the classic Spider-Man cartoon theme. Everyone should enjoy that intro while they can. Once you start dropping lyrics, the brilliance diminishes under a tired haze of self reference that continues throughout the album. We expect a rap star to brag and boast, but only about those parts of their lives that are interesting or cool.

In other words, Will, nobody cares if you still breakdance, so don't kick off your first jam by telling us you can.

I notice that you keep referring to yourself as "The Veteran" -- a title that strikes me as somewhat appropriate, given your inspiring longevity in the rap world. But are you really sure that you still belong? It is obvious from track to track that your heart is in the right place, because you're very concerned about your children and the world they'll inherit ("Tell Me Why"), your career and the people that put you down ("Mr Nice Guy"), and most of all your presumed influence on the youth that hear you. But I can't hear your behavior advisory track "Pump Ya Brakes" without recalling that Heavy D classic called "Don't Curse." If you recall, Waterbed Hev didn't invite Luke Skywalker to assist on his anti-curseword track, so why in the world would you drop gangsta-mack Snoop Dogg in the middle of a song about being a gentleman and not a thug?

I know you want to fit in with the cool kids. You come right out and say it in "I Wish I Made That" -- yet another heartbreaking snapshot of an interesting idea that should've stayed on the studio floor. I would try to describe it here, but it's just too sad. And really, is it so bad that we all liked "Summertime" back in the day? It was enough to hear your best Lil Jon impression on "Party Starter," but did you have to dis Eminem while actually imitating Eminem? It's like someone saying they hate McDonald's while munching a Quarter Pounder.

You've forgotten that you are Will "Fresh Prince" Smith, a guy who used to entertain us with Jazzy Jeff, made us laugh at your television show, then you impressed us all with your movie career. You've already proven yourself. As far as music goes, just give us a decent party track every year or so, something catchy and hooky to make us nod our heads. "Switch" is not bad and it will probably be a hit, but it's not your best by a long shot. Luckily, the beats and breaks on "Switch" are tight enough to divert attention from the lyrics. With a little work, "If U Can't Dance" would've made a great follow-up, but the sludgy chorus dulls the hook.

Don't let it get you down, Will. It's not your fault. All of the blame should be placed squarely on the shoulders of Omar Rambert aka O.Banga. Unlike his previous collaborative efforts on your behalf, Omar produced this album all by himself. And he used the time-honored musical tradition of just nodding his head to anything you wanted. I may be wrong, but I will go out on a limb here and say that every single one of your musical or lyrical ideas -- good or bad -- were all met with a smile and a thumbs up. A producer's gift is in his ability to just say no. If Lost and Found is any indication, Omar is a yes-man.

Just because he produced the soundtrack to Shark Tale and your lovely wife's debut album, you're not obligated to keep Omar around. Find a new producer. Surely you know someone who has Pharrell's phone number.

Best of Luck,


(RATING: One Dull Hook out of Five)


this is the worst review ever!

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Hmmmm no... They're just searching for reasons to hate. They don't just say Will sounds like eminem. They say Will is stealing Eminem's flow, and then they'll say that he doesn't do a good job of it... foolishness like that. They'll say Will "stole" eminem's story with Loretta, and then they'll say Loretta isn't as good as Stan. They'll say Will "stole" JadaKiss's idea with "Tell Me Why" and then they'll say Jada's "Why" was a lot better.

They're just searching for reasons to sip haterade... It's all good though. We know the deal.

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washington times

Will Smith

Lost and Found

Interscope Records

Will Smith has a few things to get off his chest. Taking a break from his day job as one of the world's biggest — and to all appearances, nicest — movie stars, the former Fresh Prince has emerged rhyming with a newfound purpose on his fourth solo set, "Lost and Found," a refreshing departure from his PG-13 persona.

Judging from the LP's title and cover art, the box office titan wants listeners to know that he's still the same guy from West Philadelphia. The back-to-the-'hood approach serves him well, as he avoids repeating corny past mistakes like the hokey singles "Wild Wild West" and "Will2K" from 1999's "Willenium."

"Lost" finds an edgier, agitated Mr. Smith fed up with the rumormongering and potshots from fellow artists and radio personalities (Eminem, Larry Elder, Wendy Williams, et al.) who have taken his amiable nature as a sign of weakness. Jabbing back on the guitar-heavy "Mr. Niceguy," an unusually aggressive Mr. Smith warns detractors that his reply is "a warning shot over the bow/truth be told this ain't my style/you gotta understand some stuff a man can't allow/better chill before you climb a tree you can't get down."

Also raising his ire is urban radio, which he chides on the tongue-in-cheek "I Wish I Made That" while lamenting his lack of respect from rap's gatekeepers: "Black radio, they won't play me though/ever since "Summertime" they ain't liked none of mine/even though the fans went out and bought enough/I guess they think that Will ain't hard enough."

To be fair to his critics, though, Mr. Smith has had higher professional priorities over the past decade than rapping. While many consider him a pioneer who helped pave the way for musicians to have viable acting careers, some music purists dismiss him as a charismatic but workmanlike lyricist who was lucky to be paired with one of the most innovative and skilled DJs in hip-hop, Jazzy Jeff.

Despite his previous lighthearted novelty tunes and his Hollywood success, his love for the art and culture was never in question — hip-hop permeates just about everything he does. Why would a $20 million-a-movie actor make a rap album unless he loved the medium?

On its merits, the well-paced "Lost" comes as a pleasant surprise. Its state-of-the-art production matches Mr. Smith's fervor. His flow, while forced in spots, is fresh and up-to-date, unlike that of many hip-hop artists from the mid-1980s rendered obsolete by faster cadences and more complex rhyme schemes. He even manages to rhyme alongside Snoop Dogg on "Pump Ya Brakes" and not sound too out-of-place.

Although the LP isn't entirely devoid of the fun-loving Mr. Smith that listeners have come to know and love/hate, he's much more serious and introspective than in the past, when he extolled the virtues of traipsing through Miami. He may lose a few fans who expected more of the same, and hip-hop elitists probably won't be open-minded enough to give him a fair chance.

However, Will Smith has made an LP of actual substance, a rarity in today's market and especially unexpected from him. If it turns out to be his swan song, he's done himself proud.


Will Smith’s latest album better ‘lost’ than ‘found’

Joseph Friedrichs

Montana Kaimin

With a career that began in music, turned to sitcom television and then jumped to the big screen, Will Smith has essentially conquered the entertainment industry.

Although Smith has made his mark in Hollywood as an action movie star, he has never let go of his career’s hip-hop roots. After listening to his latest album “Lost and Found,” it’s clearly time to spray some Round-up on said roots.

Smith is essentially the Jack Johnson (musician, not boxer) of the rap industry: soft to the tone and with little development in his music as time rolls on.

On the fourth song of the album, “Mr. Nice Guy,” Smith sings,“Sometimes y’all mistake nice for soft.” It is hard to recall a worse song recorded in the past few years than this song. The beat is choppier than Lake Michigan during a storm. The aggressive, grunting tones of the background vocals churn the stomach.

“Lost and Found” explores the troubles of the modern rap era on the sixth song of the album, which sports the same name as the record.

“It’s like a circus with a bunch of cliques / with a bunch of clowns / I’d probably rap circles around.”

Big Willie, let’s go easy now. I know there’s some commercial garbage being pumped down the sewer of the hip-hop industry right now. Lil’ John, Nelly and the whole scene of do-anything-for-the-dollar artists are leaving a bad taste in the mouth of traditional hip-hop fans. But, Willie, your face is now synonymous with these men. You make $20 million per major motion picture. You battled an army of computer-generated robots in a recent film. And, Mr. Smith, I know your movies aren’t that great. But can’t you keep your trash to the big screen?

On song No. 9, Snoop Dogg lends a hand to Smith on the track “Pump Ya Brakes.” The more one listens to this song, the less it seems to make sense.

“Outside the restaurant Girl sees Boy / Girl likes Boy / Girl meets Boy / Boy doesn’t know that Girl thinks he’s fly / Boy’s a nice guy, so Boy says ‘Hi’ / Boy’s Girlfriend returns from going to park / She sees them together this ignites a spark / Boy’s girlfriend has a real loud bark / Now this is where the pumpin’ of the brakes should start.”

The song might be about picking up girls, or possibly how to safely come to a stop on ice-covered roads. In the end, only Big Willie knows.

“Lost and Found” hits a relative low point with the 10th song “If You Can’t Dance (Slide).” The song is dedicated to all the people who stand on the sides of the club, too afraid to dance. The message of the song is simple enough — but within the song lays the single worst rap lyric ever put down on paper.

“So his Mommy wanna holla at me / She thought my name was Billy, I told her it was Willie / She said she watch my TV show and I was very silly / Told her I was from Philly she looked at me said, ‘Really?’ / And judging from her T-shirt, I could tell that she was chilly / So I gave her my sweater, she said her name was Etta / She said she come from Cuba and she just had bought a Jetta.”

How low will the depths of humanity sink? Can it get any worse than that single stretch of lyrics? We must pray they don’t.

One of the producers of the album is Jazzy Jeff — you know, that guy who Will Smith’s oversized uncle repeatedly threw out the front door on the show, “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Smith and Jazzy Jeff have been together from the beginning, and now I hope it has come to an end musically.

It must be understood Will Smith is from the old school of hip-hop. He has street credentials from east to west. He is a pioneer in the entertainment industry and one of the most successful people the business has ever known.

But Smith has reached the small summit that was his rapping career. “Lost and Found” is far from his best work and although some of the beats can get the body moving, coming from Big Willie, it just doesn’t work.


Album resurrects Will Smith

By Chris McDougall, Staff Writer. Posted April 15, 2005.

Courtesy of Interscope Records

It seems Will Smith got a little angry during the production of Lost and Found. With stabs at Eminem and a song devoted to spouting off about the abuses of Christianity, Smith shows his audience a different style altogether.

I like Will Smith, which is why it was scary for me to find out about his latest album, Lost and Found. Through rumors, I’d heard that Smith was sick of the abuse, and finally lashed back at Eminem in this album.

Then I saw the cover, with Smith leaning against a street sign wearing a big red lettermen’s jacket with big red shoes and an oversized, white Phillies hat cocked to the left. Things were not looking good for Will.

It took a few listens, but Smith’s coming-of-age album is actually pretty good.

Before, the music Smith put out was the kind of stuff you would hear at a middle school dance — songs like “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” and “Miami.” With this album, Will gives us a little bit more. There are still a few of those middle school songs, but he really has something to say on the rest of the album, and he comes right out and says it.

Probably the most controversial song (in Will Smith terms) is “Mr. Niceguy,” in which he addresses his critics for the first time.

About Eminem: “Big Will just get another 20 mil and walk right past him.”

Larry Elder: “Uncle Tom, you’re lucky I don’t make you the whole damn rhyme.”

Then, my personal favorite, Wendy Williams: “Girl better leave me alone before I buy your radio station and send you home.”

And he doesn’t stop there. In the next song, he vents about the abuses of Christianity in the world and, specifically, a friend of his in “Ms. Holy Roller.”

Then he criticizes the “rap game” for being cliché in “Lost & Found” and asks, “Why should I try to sound like you sound? That’s what’s wrong with the rap game right now.”

After that comes the best song on the album, “Tell Me Why,” featuring Mary J. Blige, in which Smith tries to explain the Sept. 11 attacks and the war in Iraq to his son.

It seems like he’s got a chip on his shoulder for most of this album, which I think greatly improves the quality of his music. He’s never gotten much respect because he has always rapped about the good things in life, but now he is stepping out there and letting people see a different aspect of his life.

Not all the songs are simply Smith venting. A lot of his songs tell stories, and a lot of them feature either freestyling or really bad lyrics, but that’s what makes them good. In “If U Can’t Dance (Slide),” he freestyles about nothing, but you can’t help listening intently because it’s so stupid.

It takes a couple listens, but this album flows well. It has a little bit of everything: some good songs to dance to, some good songs to drive to, some good songs to laugh to and, of course, there are a few songs for the middle-schoolers.

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