(NOTE: Music That Sucks is the correct opinion of the author. Any implication that said author actually likes the subjects of his rants are DEAD WRONG.)
Rap Music in the late 1980's was primarily filled with "gangsta's". These men were dressed in black, pictured drinking malt liquor and carrying automatic weapons. Some of these guys actually came from the mean streets of places like NYC or LA, their raps describing what life on these streets were like. Songs like "Fuck Tha Police", were laden with swears and considered inappropriate for children. The call went out for a different kind of rapper, a clean rapper that can be enjoyed by parents and their children alike. May the people who made that call be shot.
Will Smith was born on September 25, 1968 in Philadelphia, PA. Unlike the majority of his contemporaries, he grew up in a nice suburban neighborhood, far away from the gang violence rapped about by the likes of NWA and their ilk. While still in high school, Smith met Jeffrey Townes, a DJ, at a house party where they performed together. The two of them had one goal in common, writing and performing useless, fluffy, PG-Rated raps that reflected their charmed lives. Thus the two of them decided to continue performing together as DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince.
Smith and Townes took their pussified raps and headed over to the New Music Seminar in 1986, later in the same year they met. Jazzy Jeff ended up placing first in the DJ competition, which led to the duo being signed by Jive Records. Smith turned down his acceptance to M.I.T. to focus on his budding rap career. Their first LP, Rock The House was released in 1987. The album went gold on the strength of kiddie single "Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble", which in keeping with rap tradition "samples" from the I Dream Of Jeannie theme song. While most rappers were talking about their local hos, bitches, and skeezers, these guys were talking about potential girlfriends.
Their follow-up album He's The DJ, I'm The Rapper came out in 1988. The first single, "Parent's Just Don't Understand" became a smash hit, and the album sold over 2.5 million copies thanks in part to a stupid music video that got repetitive airplay on MTV. "Parents" went to #12 on the singles chart, and the duo won the first ever Grammy for rap. This exposure seemed to piss off their contemporaries, who dismissed DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince as a bunch of pussies. And pussies they were.
Next up for the duo was 1989's And In This Corner, which despite containing the mild hit single "I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson" and the album going gold, was mostly ignored. Other, more serious rappers such as De La Soul were able to spread a positive message without coming off like cartoon characters. It seemed that the twosome was destined to be forgotten...until television came calling.
NBC gave Smith the lead in a sitcom called The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The show focused on a high school student from Philadelphia who went out to Bel-Air to move in with his well-to-do Aunt and Uncle. The show was an instant hit and ran for six seasons. I have to admit actually liking the show when it came out, after all, I was young and stupid once. After catching it more recently on reruns I have seen the light. The show is horrendously dated in the early 1990's, with Smith and his awful hip-hop attire being the main reason why. Smith himself couldn't act like a kid from the streets if doing so meant his testicles would get sliced off with a rusty machete. Townes had a recurring role in the series as the street-smart "Jazz", with the running joke being that he was always getting himself tossed out of the mansion.
In 1991, riding the coattails of their tv exposure, Smith and Townes decided to bring back DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince back for another go around. They released the album Homebase, and their biggest hit as a group with the single "Summertime". Their cartoonish aspects were calmed this time around, but the music still had more pussy in it than your local animal shelter. Nonetheless, "Summertime" made it to #4 on the charts. They released another LP, Code Red, in 1993. The album tanked stateside, but the single "Boom! Shake The Room" became a #1 hit in the UK. This would mark the end of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, but certainly not the end of Will Smith.
As the popularity of the shitty sitcom rightfully died down, Smith set his sights on the big screen. After getting critical acclaim for his supporting role in Six Degrees of Separation, Smith co-starred with Martin Lawrence in the insipidly stupid Bad Boys in 1995. The movie plays like an excuse to "blow shit up", as it were. Of course this means it raked in some serious bank at the box office. In 1996 he took the lead role in Independence Day, yet another movie with a paper thin plot in which things go boom. Independence Day became the biggest hit of the summer of '96. The following year he teamed with Tommy Lee Jones in the idiotic alien flick Men In Black, and also had a smash hit with the movie's theme song, which was the first time he recorded music using his real name. Later on in 1997 he released his first solo album, Big Willie Style. The album sold more copies than the entire Fresh Prince canon, with clitorally enhanced numbers like "Gettin Jiggy Wit It", "Miami", and "Just The Two Of Us", which is a blatant rip-off of the old Bill Withers hit.
In 1999 Smith starred in the box office bomb Wild Wild West, based on the old tv show. He also released the album Willenium, which also tanked. A couple more movies (including sequels to Men In Black and Bad Boys, along with a painfully wretched biopic on Muhammed Ali), and a forgettable album in 2002, (Born To Reign) have kept Smith in the spotlight.
Will Smith has led a mild-mannered career in which he has been carefully not to ruffle any mainstream feathers. His music is a joke, his sitcom and movies insipid, but he is certainly laughing all the way to the bank with his eight-figure salary. There is no god.
Will Smith, music...that sucks!