Will Smith is widely regarded as one of the most likeable, talented, and charismatic stars of show business across the last twenty to thirty years. The Philadelphia man has experienced success as an actor, producer, hip-hop artist, comedian, and songwriter in that time. While Smith would go on to become a renowned actor who was just as comfortable doing the serious and touching as he is doing the energetic comedic roles, it was music that would give Smith his beginning in show business and open the door for his career in other mediums. This post will focus on Smith’s music career and will specifically look at some of my favourite songs by the performer.

Smith would eventually get his first taste of success as part of a hip-hop duo called DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince with Jeffrey TownesTownes would assume the stage name of Jazzy Jeff and Smith would take the iconic title of The Fresh Prince, a title that he would be known as for the rest of his career. Shortly after Smith would get his big public break with his role as Will in the acclaimed TV comedy, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1990. Meanwhile, the project of DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince would continue for another few years during the filming of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air before eventually finishing up in 1993 after a productive period that would produce five studio albums. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air would run for six years, and quickly develop a cult following due it’s charismatic cast, interesting stories, and memorable scenes such as this one which features a cameo by Jazzy Jeff himself.

In the aftermath of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Smith would begin to launch into a solo music career and to date the performer has four extremely successful studio albums to his name, Big Willie Style (1998), Willennium (1999), Born to Reign (2003),and Lost and Found (2005). Across these four albums, along with the five albums that he had to his name as part of DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh PrinceSmith has been responsible for some of the most infectiously catchy radio hits of the last twenty years. This post will now have a look at some of the biggest hits of Smith’s career.

Wild Wild West (Willennium, 1999)

In 1999 Will Smith was quickly developing a reputation as a one of film’s biggest draws after a series of well received performances in  Independence Day and Enemy of the State, it name a few of his features. However the western steam-punk comedy, Wild Wild West would receive extremely negative reviews and turn out to be a financial flop. The eponymous single, written by Smith for the film would, however, go on to be a massive commercial success for the singer reaching the top 10 in numerous countries across the globe.

Summertime (Homebase {DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince}, 1991)

Summertime is one of the most popular songs that Will Smith has ever been involved in. A classic summer tune, it was the lead single of their fourth studio album, Homebase.

Will 2K (Willennium, 1999)

Will 2K is the second single taken off Smith’s second album, Willennium, and was released as a song to help greet the new millennium as 2000 loomed on the horizon as it was released. The song samples instruments and lyrics from Rock The Casbah by The Clash and Superrappin’ by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. The song is probably my favourite release by the American rapper and and was another reasonably successful track by the Philadelphia man.

Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It (Big Willie Style, 1998)

Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It was the third single to come off the debut LP by SmithBig Willie Style, and it is arguably still the most popular and well known song of the performer’s career.

Black Suits Comin’ (Nod Ya Head) (Born to Reign, 2002)

Sci-fi action comedy Men in Black was one of the surprise successes of 1997 receiving widespread acclaim for its sophisticated and witty storyline and the performances of Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in the lead roles. It’s success would lead to a sequel being commission and eventually released in 2002. Men II Black would not receive the same reaction as it’s predecessor and would instead be widely criticised. As with the first Men in Black movie, Smith would again be involved in the soundtrack and would write this single to promote the movie.

Switch (Lost and Found, 2005)

Switch was the top charting single of Smiths’ last album to date, Lost and Found, and would go on to sell 40,000 copies. It is impossible to not dance along to this song when it comes on at a house party.

Miami (Big Willie Style, 1998)

Miami would go on to a massively important hit in the discography of the performer. Sampling the 1980 single by The Whispers, And the Beat Goes On, the single would go on to chart in the top 10 in a range of countries including Finland, Austria, and the UK.

Will Smith continues to hold a fond place in the hearts of many music and cinema fans. Since appearing in the public consciousness in 1985, he has continued to demonstrate himself as one of the most interesting, versatile, and indeed talented players in popular culture. He is also responsible for perhaps the greatest six minutes of television ever.