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Will Smith: Allhiphop.com Man of the Year


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Will Smith: Illseed's Person of the Year

illseed

"I'm not tryna be like Will Smith cause Will Smith is not a real rapper. He was more of a bubble gum rapper. The only real rappers out there right now are Me, Kanye, 50, and maybe Jay. But Jay ain't in it like that no more." - Bow Wow, XXL Magazine

Will Smith. Illseed’s Person of the Year.

Where do I begin?

Let me begin, not with Will, but with Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop community, you have been extremely hard on Will Smith, the emcee. I say the emcee, because the man formerly known as the Fresh Prince is an emcee. To “rap” fans, Will’s career started with something like “Getting’ Jiggy Wit It;” however, I recall when he was rhyming live in Union Square, moving the crowd with his “brand new funk.”

Actually, it officially began many years ago with an album called Rock the House with DJ Jazzy Jeff, one of the best DJ’s our culture has ever produced. The album, released in 1987, boasted then-hardcore songs like “Just Rockin’” to hits like “Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble” to Jazzy’s scratchfest, “A Touch of Jazz.” But through the years, Will and Jeff killed it with the hottest albums (He’s the DJ/I’m the Rapper), timeless commercial joints (“Parents Just Don’t Understand”), and tours with the likes of Run DMC and Public Enemy, and actually maintained something called respectability in their music. Shoot, in 1989, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince were among the first hip-hop artists to boycott the Grammys for not respecting Hip-Hop.

Hip-Hop heads: read, research, and respect that man.

On to Bow Wow: Make no mistake about it, there were times when Will lost his way sonically, but he always maintained respect as a man and artist who mostly stuck to his guns, while evolving. So, as I look at you, clearly a bubble gum rapper making a play at gangsta, disrespecting a man like Will, it causes me anxiety. You bother me, Bow Wow. Your excessive tats are a façade to me, your oversized platinum fronts are a real front to me, and you are arrogant beyond your rap skill set. I know you’re young and finding your way through puberty, but that brazen quote is an act of rap treason. Moreover, it’s a betrayal of your roots in pop rap – embrace what you are. You and Will Smith aren’t true peers even though there are similarities. Will has sold gazillions of records and has classic albums to his credit, not to mention an acting career that could make him the next Denzel Washington.

I don’t hate you, young man, but I want you understand that, like it or not, you are an extension of the Fresh Prince (movies like Roll Bounce, Johnson Family Vacation and CDs like…all of them). Will was diversifying he role and marketability of the rap artist before you rapped with Snoop on Arsenio Hall. He, and others like him, pioneered a road for people like you and Nick Cannon.

So, I applaud Will Smith.

At the 2005 American Music Awards, Will Smith and his sleeper-hit Lost and Found managed to defeat 50 Cent and others for “Favorite Male Artist: Pop/Rock.” In his speech, he spoke in a manner that exemplified integrity:

“I made a commitment a long time ago, to my grandmother, [about] the type of person I was gonna be, the type of music I was gonna make, the type of movies I was gonna make,” he said after thanking God and Interscope Records. “I was making a commitment to my grandmother and y’all supported me in that. Y’all know what kind of world it is...to stay committed to principles, to stay committed to ideas in the face of a world where things are leaning in another direction. There is a gravitational pull to negativity, and I just want y’all to know I’ma hold it down as long as I can.”

There is a reason he won his American Music Award, and it’s not because 50 wasn’t there. African Americans and Hip-Hop didn’t properly support our Fresh Prince. Meanwhile, on Top 40 and “White” radio outlets, he was getting burn with the catchy song “Switch.” If so-called real Hip-Hop fans take a moment to listen to songs like “Tell Me Why,” they would find that this man is spewing poignant, memorable and sicker lyrics than most contemporaries. Furthermore, Will doesn’t cuss for the f**k of it. He can rhyme without slutting out his women, out-thugging out his n***as, and destroying his promise to his grandmother.

To Will Smith:

Bow Wow might consider you to be some corny, pop rapper, but I’m here to let you know there are many of us that actually respect your personal gangsta. Furthermore, we cherish songs like “Brand New Funk,” “Summertime,” and we can forgive you for stinkers like “Boom! Shake The Room.” I know with your movie money alone, you could have Bow Wow merked off and pay his mother to keep quiet, but you would never do such a thing. I know he’s a kid, but he’ll realize soon what I have known for years. On the sneak, we know about your real estate ventures in your Philly hometown, commitment to family, fans and your own legacy that’s spanned decades. DECADES. Nothing bubblegum about that! You are Will Smith and you live above the bottom feeders, the rap maggots, and those with arms too short to box with a rap god!

Will Smith is the “Illseed Person of 2005!” Congrats!

P.S. Bow Wow, no hard feeling, homey! I still love the fact that you defecated on my life with that line, “under 21 with a Black Card.”

Illseed is an AllHipHop.com columnist and independent cultural critic, but AHH’s staff thinks he’s lost it (Big Up To Big Will though, winner of the comeback of 2005 award!). Email him at ahhrumors@gmail.com.

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