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*Official* Lost and Found Review Post


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Will Smith - Lost and Found

Adam Staley

Staff Writer

Will Smith- Lost and Found

In the hip-hop of the 21st century, gunshot wounds dictate success more than talent, and being “hard” is the only way to assert credibility. It is nice to find an artist willing to buck this trend, but — shock! — Will Smith ain’t enough of a trailblazer to break the current mold.

Simply making fun of Smith’s Lost and Found would be easy (not to mention fun), but there is much to be said for some of the risks taken by the former Fresh Prince. After starting with three of the most trite party rap songs you’ll ever hear, “Mr. Niceguy” and “Mr. Holy Roller” will leave your jaw hanging wide open. “Niceguy” isn’t quite a diss song, per se, but Smith takes shots at many who “mistake nice for soft,” including Eminem and the androgenous Wendy Williams. “Holy Roller” is less specific, but equally personal, as Smith attacks self-righteous, born-again Christians. Needless to say, hearing this sort of passion coming from Smith is rather surprising.

But many songs sound hackneyed and sophomoric. “I Wish I Made That” sounds more like a rookie’s attempt at a breakout song than an old-schooler trying to re-establish himself, and “Could U Love Me” uses a beat that sounds like it was stolen from Fabolous’ studio. The listener is left with one simple question: Why, Will Smith, why would you make another album when you make $20 million a film?


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seriously i think lost and found is the worst reviewed album ever! how could you listen to the album and not know why Will would make an album instead of making another movie for 20 million.. people obviously just dont listen to the lyrics or the message anymore :mad8:

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By Ron Wynn, rwynn@nashvillecitypaper.com

April 21, 2005

Will Smith has clearly heard the rumors and charges leveled at him by some radio types, writers and even fellow rappers, because he comes out firing on Lost and Found (Interscope/Overbrook). Smith doesn’t abandon his mandate of eschewing profanity (with the exception of a few occurrences), and he frequently embraces his “nice guy” persona and then uses it as a hook to verbally attack and confront his accusers. Indeed, the track “Mr. Niceguy” argues that he’s sharper and more mentally agile by not using profanity while reaffirming his roots, something he does quite frequently. He’s also ripping his critics on “Lost and Found” and “I Wish I Made That,” but the disc’s strongest message cuts aren’t aimed solely or predominantly at hip-hop detractors. “Tell My Why” addresses the horrors of 9/11, racism and hatred with verve and ardor, augmented by Mary J. Blige’s background vocals. Smith sounds most pungent on “Ms. Holy Roller,” slashing and ridiculing those who wrap their prejudices in scripture and hammer others through religion. But he doesn’t devote the entire disc to condemnations or responses to perceived slights. “Pump Ya Brakes” with all-purpose rap guest star Snoop Dogg, “Could U Love Me” and “Loretta” are journeys into romantic and relationship territory, while “If U Can’t Dance (Slide)” is both a reference to the lothario character he played in Hitch and a good-natured set of suggestions to those whose bravery at parties outstrips their good judgment. Smith knows he’ll never fully satisfy or please those who equate hip-hop authenticity with criminal misbehavior or some perceived “street” value system, but he’s not shy about voicing his disdain with these attitudes. Lost and Found shows that while Smith isn’t about to change his image, he’s no longer going to sit still without responding while others question his rapping skills or his devotion to the idiom.

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Yo, I just walk out today to buy my favourite hip hop magazine like I do every month... I turned to the review section because this is what I always read first because I want to know which albums are in it! I thought they maybe have a review for "Lost And Found" and I was very excited about it and... yes, they got one but it was... I would say: a piece of s**t! But you can read on your own! I tried to translate it for y'all... sorry for the mistakes!

Ok, here's the review:

2,5 out of 6 crowns

Hip Hop can also be successful without dirty lyrics, a MC can also be a star without a gangsta-biography à la 50 Cent. This is Will Smith's motto and for years he misses no occasion to represent himself and his career as an example for that. Private, he is a responsible father, in his job as an actor he is unbelievable successful. He just makes records for fun still and to spread his philosophy as a positive, black role-model.

The only problem is: art in general - especially music - doesn't work like this. A good record isn't just an intelligent text over an instrumental, rather the lyrics and the music must create a special synthesis of expression. Akon's "Locked Up" is a good example for a track where that works: the instrumental tells already what the lyrics tell in words again. Exactly this is what Will Smith doesn't manage on "Lost And Found."

He should have published his lyrics as a guide to life in form of a book instead of putting average beats under them and sell it as an album. His answer could be probably: to reach the kids you have to put your message into rap nowadays. Nonsense. Every 10-year old child will notice that the tracks on "Lost And Found" are wack. To believe that children let manipulate themselves with messages that are packed into under-average music means to underestimate and not to support them. Will Smith's actual unprecedented film-career would have been way more effective as a silent pattern in that way.

What else is conspicuous? Big Willie outs himself on "Lost And Found" as a relative rude biter. On "Party Starter" he imitates Ludacris in an embarrassing way, "Loretta" is Eminem's "Stan" in a female form. Especially this is unpleasant because Em and Will actually put some disses on each other in the last time.

Because of that and for some other reasons: No human being needs "Lost And Found." We don't and Will "20 million dollars per film" Smith actual don't need it too.

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We don't and Will "20 million dollars per film" Smith actual don't need it too.

Another person who only sees Will as an actor... He's biting Eminem... he's biting Ludacris...

Why don't we start calling out all the musicians who go out of their way to get into the film industry... Cause they're certainly all Will Smith biters right...

You know what... let me stop this post before I burn this dude.... It's not that serious anyway...

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WILL SMITH – Lost And Found

(Interscope / Universal)

" Multimillionaire urges you not to

download his record. Sound advice

The cover of the artist formerly known as the

Fresh Prince’s ninth LP underlines the trajectory

of Will Smith’s career. One street sign points toward

West Philly, where he cut his teeth making

fun records like Parents Just Don’t Understand with

Producer DJ Jazzy Jeff. The other indicates the

direction of Hollywood, where he has had moderate

success acting in art house films like Independence

Day and Bad Boys 2. I’m guessing Big Willie

doesn’t need to keep pumping these ****s out to

keep the seeds watered, so maybe he’s rhyming

because he likes to. Actually, if he writes his own

verses, give him some props for being honest. He

threatens to buy your radio station and mentions

in passing that he’d be making a guaranteed $20

mil if he’d done a flick instead of this album. He’s

taken a step away from the jiggy-jiggy of Big Willie

Style and Willennium while still making a token effort

to introduce a new step with the cringe-making

Switch. That’s the one on which he urges you:

don’t download / go out and buy the record.

2 and a 1/2



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Lost and Found




PERHAPS the most astonishing thing about Will Smith’s success in 2005 is that his radio hit (Switch) has got nothing to do with his box-office hit (Hitch). That aside, it’s the same old (rap) song and dance.

Lost and Found is by no means a lousy album. As a matter of fact, it is loaded to the hilt with (potential) chart hits. Unfortunately, while the likes of Party Starter, I Wish I Made That/Swagga and Mr. Niceguy will undoubtedly contribute a great deal to Smith’s retirement fund, the reality is that, both musically and lyrically, there’s very little on Lost and Found that you haven’t already heard. Only the silky smooth Pump Ya Brakes (which features Snoop Dogg) succeeds in breaking the monotony somewhat.

Still, I’m quite sure that the former Fresh Prince isn’t going to lose much sleep worrying about what reviewers like yours truly make of his new album. Lost and Found will, like Smith’s other records, sell by the truckloads. And will once again prove that, in show business at least, success doesn’t have to make sense.

star central

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CD Review: Will Smith, Lost and Found

What, you expected Will Smith's comeback to be good?

By Shane Wilson

Published: Thursday, April 21, 2005

Article Tools: Page 1 of 1

I have a confession to make: I know every word to "Wild Wild West," the chart-topping single that emerged from the soundtrack to Wild Wild West, the big-budget box-office disaster adapted from Wild Wild West, the cult classic TV show from the '60s. Of course, that's the kind of confession that doubles as a boast in a pop-cultural milieu awash with reverence for the "so bad it's good." After all, who but the most devoted ironist would commit precious neurons to memorizing the lyrics of a song that no one in 10 years will have ever heard of, a song that serves no purpose but to summarize the plot of a movie so universally reviled that the best thing anyone on the Internet Movie Database has to say for it is, "I generously give it four out of ten," with the qualification that "a film would have to really suck for me to give it a one or two"? (While IMDB users generally agreed on the film's heinousness, they did come to blows over one issue: whether Will Smith's penis is visible in the opening scene or whether, as one interlocutor maintained, "you couldn't of [sic] been able to see it. Its [sic] your gay imagination seeing things you want to see.")

To be honest, though, I like "Wild Wild West" not because of its stupidity but because of its sheer pathos: a song so shamelessly dedicated to cross-media synergy that it backfired, becoming improbably popular only at the cost of the very product it was meant to promote. In the middle of it all was Will Smith, the fresh-faced Fresh Prince, one-time rap star turned longtime sitcom protagonist turned resolutely middlebrow renaissance celebrity and perennial Oprah guest. Smith, it seemed, could do it all - none of it particularly well, of course, but that hardly mattered more than the six-figure checks he was raking in.

At the time, anyway. Now, apparently, Smith wants to turn back the clock and, with Lost and Found, his first album in three years, reestablish himself as rapper first, all-purpose red-carpet cleaner second. As Big Willie tells it, his showbiz life history followed a trajectory not unlike that of "Wild Wild West": initially intended as a mere supplement to the real deal (his rap career), Smith's play for Hollywood worked out so well that it overshadowed his music. He just plum forgot to rap, it seems, apart from those dignity-shredding exercises in corporate minstrelsy that accompanied Men in Black and Men in Black II (titles already redolent with heady Fanonian vapors). Sure, he had a few big hits here and there, as if by inertia alone, but in the process of becoming a loving father and husband and a paradigmatic Acceptable Black Man for millions of fearful honkies, his credibility in the rap game plummeted to a level about on par with Weird Al. At least "Amish Paradise" was kind of funny; "Black Suits Comin' (Nod Ya Head)" was just embarrassing. Like his penis in Wild Wild West, Big Willie was barely visible.

Smith's goal on Lost and Found is to change all that. Less a brute-force attempt at a territorial reconquista than a psych-ops bid for hearts and minds, the album does everything in its power to convey a simple message: Will Smith is not a joke (thought not humorless), not a pansy (though not a thug), not an out-of-touch old fogey (thought not a fan of contemporary hip-hop). On second thought, maybe it's not such a simple message.

And that's the central difficulty. Smith comes across as a desperate man, following some overly detailed blueprint for the construction of a successful rap album lest he omit a crucial piece and fall back into Hollywood anti-obscurity. He's got all the parts lined up: a few club songs (including the single "Switch"), cameos from quality-control Goofuses Snoop Dogg and Mary J. Blige, an R&B-infused track "for the ladies," even some gestures toward cooking up a bit of the proverbial "beef." But young as he is, Smith comes from an older generation, and his discomfort with the newfangled tropes that rap kids these days take as second nature is all too obvious.

On "Switch," for instance, rapping against a likeable if undistinguished beat cranked out by Kwame (the Notorious B.I.G. dis victim and "On Fire" producer), Smith harks back to a time when "the club" was just a place to dance, not a sexually charged meat furnace: "this a club, girl / why you arrive nekkid?" He seems genuinely confused. Still, he admits, "there's something sexy about a girl on the floor / all her friends around her" - but before you get the wrong idea, he hastens to add, "I mean real clean / ain't gotta touch or nothing / it ain't like I like it chick-on-chick or something." With that kind of heteronormative attitude, it's no wonder Jada Pinkett fell for him. The point, I take it, is that he wants to discourage the feigned lesbianism that (TV tells me) is currently so prevalent among clubgoing tweenie-boppers - but by lingering over the image of "a girl on the floor" yet defensively assuring us that he wasn't thinking what we thought he was thinking, he just winds up looking like a dirty old man. Which is especially creepy when you realize that "Switch," with its endless litany of dance steps ("the dance is a hop and a clap / flip it 'round, bring it on back, break it down / now switch / turn it over and hit it," etc.), resembles nothing so much as the Hokey Pokey. Is this man allowed into Chuck E. Cheese's?

Smith's collaboration with Snoop Dogg, the utterly baffling "Pump Ya Brakes," charts even higher on the curmudgeon-meter, with the creaky elder statesmen joining hands to condemn...dirty dancing. "This is a simple case of an anti-brake pumper," we learn (whatever that means): "you don't have to talk to women bumper to bumper." Dancing too closely, it turns out, hurts your chances with fly honeys. "The essence of stimulation - mental, man." It's almost unimaginable that anyone could have thought this song was a good idea. Snoop Dogg and Will Smith deliver a stern, paternalistic lecture on the dangers of physical proximity with the opposite sex, in the form of an extended automotive metaphor? Clearly someone didn't learn their lesson about putting Baby in the corner.

When Smith isn't busy agonizing over the moral turpitude of our nation's children - purporting to serve up steaming-hot club bangers but delivering only lukewarm mash - he's getting his braggadocio on like it was an oxygen mask in a depressurized fuselage. Did you know that Big Willie is one of the best rappers around? Me neither, but get used to the idea, because he's pretty sure it's been proven by scientists. After all, why else would he be confident enough to make statements like "I ain't claiming to reign / but when y'all talk about rap y'all gon' start saying my name"? Embittered over his low position on the hip-hop totem pole, Smith insists that everyone really does adore him - it's just the wicked radio hosts keeping him from the people. "Plenty of y'all love a brother," Smith says, referring to himself (or is he just getting into sexual identity politics again?), "just scared to say it." And hey, if you're not down with him, more important people are: "David Letterman even said he like that track, man / even though he ain't a rap fan." Experts are still trying to calculate the numbers of sharks that were jumped over the course of that sentence.

Smith's incessant proclamations of talent and popularity would irk less if they had more to back them up. But while Smith is a decent enough rapper, and Lost and Found features a few perfectly unobjectionable tracks (well, maybe not perfectly), there's certainly nothing to write home about. Indeed, Smith's obsession with his own cleverness is part of the problem: often he seems so excited to use a particular rhyme that he neglects to make the surrounding rap anything but weakly supportive scaffolding. When he says, for instance, "dance, an aphrodisiac / women gyrating, simulating sensual acts," he has to mutilate the pronunciation of "aphrodisiac" and insert a lengthy pause after "dance," all so he can juxtapose it with "sensual acts" - a phrase that barely rhymes anyway.

His assertions of originality also fall flat. How original can he be, after all, when he lifts the entire premise of "Tell Me Why" - a series of vaguely political questions starting with the word "why," combined with a passionately sung chorus - from Jadakiss's far superior "Why," next to which Smith's version has about as much soul as a stem cell? Although to be fair, Jadakiss's economical discussion of September 11th ("Why did Bush knock down the towers?") lacks the nuance of Smith's, which helpfully indicates that he was eating turkey bacon that morning.

I could lambaste Big Willie all day, and I probably will after concluding this article, but in the end it doesn't seem to matter: miraculously immune to criticism, Smith turns music-industry celebrity upside-down. Usually, fans praise a star to the skies and it goes to his head; with Smith, the star praises himself to the skies and somehow the fans buy in. A recent thread on the willsmith.com message board asks, "Who's a better rapper, Tupac or Will Smith?" - a question about as reasonable as, "Who was a better president, FDR or my mom?" - but people seem to be taking it seriously. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Smith really did get everything he wants - not just fame and fortune but respect, credibility, love from the streets, airplay, you name it. After all, as he raps (pilfering from 50 Cent's "What Up, Gangsta?" along the way), "I must have an 'S' on my chest / I recovered from the wild, wild west" - and if he can survive that, he can survive anything. Nonetheless, when it comes to Lost and Found, I'd cite another line from Smith's oeuvre: "no, you don't want nada - none of this." Word.

If you read carefully, you'll notice that Shane Wilson '07 (skwilson@fas) put an absurd amount of research into this article. You wouldn't think that dissing Will Smith would take that much work.

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