Will Smith - Big Willie Style (Columbia/Sony) Today's rap world bears little resemblance to the one that propelled The Fresh Prince to prominence.
When Will Smith as The Fresh Prince, and DJ Jazzy Jeff were blowing up the charts with their light-hearted rapping dance jams, Parents Just Don't Understand and Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble being the most memorable, keeping it real was not an issue.
In today's rap world, riddled with violence and frequent assertions of who is the 'biggest willie', Smith's return is a breath of fresh air. Smith pokes fun at self-involved rappers who seem to have forgotten the fun of hip-hop.
He has dance tracks: Gettin' Jiggy Wit It, Men in Black and Candy are the best. Another highlight is Chasing Forever, a rap ballad that harks back to old-school rap jams. Granted, Smith's lyrical abilities have never been stellar, but Smith fans are unlikely to care. With typical slick production reminiscent of Poke and Tone of Trackmasters, and the usual R & B sampling, Smith will mostly appeal to commercial hip-hop fans and he knows it.
But, he may have some of us old-school fans entertained as well.