Our Top 10 Will Smith Songs takes a look at the musical career of one of the most loved musical artists and American actors in pop culture. Will Smith is popularly known for his incredible blockbuster career rather than his musical exploits. His success as an actor has eclipsed the fact that initially, he was a great recording artist. According to one of his Fresh Prince of Bel-Air co-stars, Tatyana Ali, Will Smith’s musical career has always been underrated.
Will Smith’s music career started and peaked during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Will Smith, popularly known as “Fresh Prince,” began his musical career as an MC alongside his childhood friend Jeffrey “Dj JazzyJeff.” In late 1985, Will Smith, along with Dj Jazzy Jeff, released their first single, “Girls Ain’t Nothing but Trouble,” which was a story about Will Smith’s funny misadventures that landed him and his crew in trouble.
The song was an instant hit that gave the duo enough motivation to drop their first album, “Rock House.” In 1989, Will Smith and Dj Jazzy Jeff won their first Grammy award for Best Rap Performance which was for the song, “Parents Don’t Just Understand.”
Perhaps most people will argue that Will Smith was more of a pop artist than a hip-hop artist. However, even the most die-hard hip-hop fans cannot deny his influence back in the late ’80s with DJ Jazzy Jeff. Here is a list of the top ten Will Smith songs of all time.
#10 – Miami
After releasing the track “Just the Two of Us,” Will Smith threw gold darts on the “Big Willie” tracklist and came up with the hit song “Miami.” The song samples “And The Beat Goes On,” which was a great song released by The Whispers back in 1979. “Miami,” was released on November 23, 1998. The song went on to chart at position 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won an MTV VMA Best Male video award.
#9 – Men in Black
If you’ve watched the movie “Men in Black” until the end, then you have heard this track which features in the closing credits of the movie. The classic 1997 theme song was dropped by Columbia records a fortnight before the film hit the theatres.
Both the film and the song became instant hits, with the single taking top spot on several Billboard charts. The single also won Will Smith a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance.
#8 – Just The Two Of Us
One of the things that makes this single stand out is the absolute adorability of Will Smith chilling with his first son Trey. The track is sampled from Bill Withers and Grover Washington’s song, “Just The Two Of Us,” with the difference being that it focuses on the relationship between a father and his son rather than the couple love portrayed in the original song.
#7 – Freakin’ It
Will Smith doesn’t get enough credit for being such a good MC on the mic. “Freakin It” shows this clearly. In this song, Will Smith puts his haters on blast with excellent rapping skills and a fun, bouncy and flow that is cool as ice. The music video is shot in Will Smith’s hometown of Philadelphia, paying homage to it during the winter season.
#6 – Gettin’ Jiggy With It
“Gettin Jiggy With It” was the third cut released from Will Smith’s debut solo album “Big Willie Style.” The verse has been sampled from Sister Sledge’s “He’s The Greatest Dancer,” while the chorus is sampled from the Bar-Kays’ “Sang and Dance.”
Although Poke & Tone had already replaced Jazzy Jeff in this track, his scratching techniques can still be felt in the song. The track spent three weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and it also won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance. The inspiration of the song came from the literal meaning of “getting African American with it.”
#5 – Parents Just Don’t Understand
Honestly, after more than 30 years of listening to this song, I can still remember 90% of the lyrics of this song. The song won the Grammy for Best Rap Performance at the 1989 Grammy Awards. “The track talks about Fresh Prince’s issues with his folks, who fail to understand the challenges of being a teenager.”
In the first verse, Prince talks about his mother taking him to the mall along with his brother and younger sister to buy clothes, but her mother buys clothes that don’t fit his wardrobe. The track was featured in Malibu’s Most Wanted and was ranked in position 96 on the VH1’s Greatest Hip-hop Songs.
#4 – Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble
Will Smith doesn’t get enough credit for his storytelling skills. In fact, most people will say that Will Smith should have listened to his advice from the song due to his well-documented relationship issues.
The song talks about how an innocent Will Smith is arrested for aggravated assault after a lady he takes out on a date screams rape before stealing his wallet. The single was also featured in Episode 8 of Fresh Prince of Bel Air when Will and Carlton disagree over a lady.
#3 – Wild Wild West
Sometimes I am surprised how this song topped the charts in the late 90s when the likes of DMX, Jay-Z, and Nas run the scene. But then. “Wild Wild West” slaps so hard. The single was released as a soundtrack for the movie with the same name.
The song hit the top spot in the Billboard Top 100, and the video was an instant hit on MTV. Watching the video right now will make you want to binge-watch all Will Smith movies. The song features some fantastic vocals from Dru Hill while Kool Mo Dee performs the song’s chorus.
#2 – Summertime
I never feel like it’s summer until I hear this song. The video of the song features people who are having the time of their lives clapping and dancing. Listening to this hip-hop classic will have you wondering how Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff fit all those activities in one summer day.
#1 – Yo Home to Bel-Air
Taking the top spot in our list of the best Will Smith songs is “Yo Home to Bel-Air,” which is popularly known as “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme.” This track is arguably the greatest TV show song of all time.
Quincy Jones initially wrote the song, although Will Smith would later change some of the lyrics to his liking. The song would later peak at positions two and three in Spain and Netherlands after being re-released in 2016. In 2018, the track was certified silver in the United Kingdom.
Top 10 Will Smith Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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