I’m a sucker for Will Smith – I always have been and I probably always will be. I just like the guy and I’m lucky he doesn’t sell used cars or something, because I’d have a whole fleet of 1997 Plymouth Prowlers cramping up my driveway. (Big Willie Style lends itself quite naturally to a product tie-in with Trojan. This seems like a missed opportunity…) But we’re not getting as much Will Smith as we used to.
America comes up empty when it’s time to find royalty, but occasionally, we dig deep and anoint musicians to this status, like Elvis, the King of Rock and Roll, Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, and finally, Will Smith, the Prince of… Freshness. That’s kind of ironic as his act was never especially fresh – even back in the “Parents Just Don’t Understand” era, his raps were very “Rapper’s Delight” esque rather than the gangsta rap that came to mainstream prominence shortly afterwards. Still, I find it commendable that he never tried to update his act with the times; like Bon Jovi, he is who he is, so you just have take “Summer Time” and “Welcome To Miami” for what they are and enjoy them. And if you don’t like those songs, well… “Welcome to earth!“
On the other hand, Will Smith sometimes releases songs in conjunction with movies he’s starring in, and, as far as I can recall, this is always an artistic disaster. (The songs usually do well commercially.) For some reason, I, Robot escaped this fate (as far as I recall), but usually, a Will Smith action movie meant an accompanying song. Maybe a flick centered around a murder mystery didn’t lend itself well to a musical adaptation. (That didn’t stop Broadway from adapting Ghost, though.) It’s also too bad he didn’t give a try when he was in Independence Day as that could have been spectacular. Maybe they could still do it; the chorus could be Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA.”
Aliens comin’ right at me,
Don’t they know what Big Willie is worth?
So I punch him in the face easily,
And I say “Welcome to earth!”
Got my hands up, playin’ Willie’s song…
Something like that.
I’m aware of three musical gems that Will Smith has given us: “Men in Black” from the movie of the same name, “Black Suits Comin’ (Nod Ya Head)” from Men in Black II and the “Wild, Wild West” titular song, which plays out as crappy versions of Michael Jackson video epics that don’t even match his later efforts like “Remember the Time.” So it stands to reason that we were due for another installment of Will Smith’s own brand of cross marketing with Men in Black 3, and there is a single out in conjunction with MIB3, “Reaching Another World,” but it’s not Will Smith this time. It’s some dude named Pitbull.
EW.com asks, “Is it an old busted joint, or the new hotness?” I will make no such demands on you.
Here, we have Pitbull (no idea who that is – well, it’s the dog across the street, but this doesn’t sound like him at all) rapping over a sample of Mickey & Sylvia’s “Love Is Strange,” which also appeared on the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, for those of you who are keeping score at home. I don’t find this to be anything special, but I am surprised that Will Smith let this opportunity go by. Perhaps he decided he’s too old for this shit, or maybe he’s retired from rapping? I have no idea. But truly, Men in Black 3 marks the end of an era.
Hmm… this might be an era worth living in.