Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Awesome In The 90s: Will Smith

He's as confused as you are that this look went out of style

I recently found myself reminiscing with a friend about the '90s, that magical and perplexing time when music was "alternative" and boy bands were socially acceptable. The world was still innocent and people were more accepting of others. Lilith Fair was good. Truly it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Perhaps the greatest thing about the '90s was the popularity of one Will Smith. This so-called "Fresh Prince" was a veritable force of nature that appeared in and dominated just about every imaginable form of media. You couldn't skateboard to the local CD store without being assaulted by billboards advertising his latest entertainment endeavor. Now, I know that you're thinking "But Max, Will Smith is still popular now!," and to an extent you are correct. It's true that Smith continues to appear in major blockbusters and remains one of the most powerful stars in Hollywood. But even in that he is but a shadow of his formerly transcendent self. Allow me to elaborate:

Second only to Thriller?

Back in the '90s it seemed like Smith was constantly in the public eye. He was featured in a major motion picture almost every year in the decade, including veritable classics like Enemy of the State and Bad Boys. Smith starred in the one-and-only American classic, Independence Day, AKA the movie that was advertised using the best acronym ever, ID4 (this point has been agreed upon by top scientific minds). On top of all that he also contributed to the soundtracks for two of his summer blockbusters, Men In Black (acronym: MIB) and Wild Wild West (epic music video above).

I have spent countless hours mourning the days when I could listen to the radio and hear Will Smith's voice "rapping" the title of his latest summer flick over-top of some old Stevie Wonder music. For this alone the '90s were truly the time of kings.

All that is to say nothing of Smith's non-movie-related musical releases, in which he continued to celebrate his being an irrefutable badass. I remember purchasing his 1997 debut, Big Willie Styles, alongside a copy of Our Lady Peace's Clumsy, and then listening to Smith's album like way more. His humbly titled follow-up, Willenium, was notable for its inclusion of the aforementioned Wild Wild West song and for closing off both the decade and millenium in style with "Will 2K." Way to class it up, Will.

How many other celebrities can list coining the term 
"Jiggy" among their career achievements?

Last but certainly not least I should mention Smith's success on television. It would be impossible to forget his turn as the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which has been cemented in the cultural consciousness by countless public renditions of the Carlton dance by bad dancers. That and the continued popularity of the show's theme song, produced by none other than (gasp!) Smith himself! A man of many talents indeed! The show ran from 1990 until 1996 before Smith moved on to work exclusively in film, and the world has felt a little more empty ever since. I take solace, however, in remembering the show's greatest moments, including a crossover with yet another '90s gem, Blossom. If you click here you can watch the TV event of the decade in Spanish on YouTube. Whoa!

I believe that with this post I have proved both that Will Smith was more awesome in the '90s and that human existence in general was better because of it. I will leave you with Smith's classic 1998 single, "Miami." Enjoy, and (as always) make sure to "jig it out y'all" whatever the hell that means...

1 comment:

  1. Remember what we were saying about the mauve tracksuit? That silk shirt in the 'self remix' section of Miami is exactly what I was thinking about in terms of Jazzy-Jefficizing it up.