By Zachary Swickey
It appears that one of the most successful rappers of the ‘90s is prepping to make a long-awaited comeback. Will Smith (yeah, remember he used to make music?) has reportedly been in the studio working on the follow-up to his 2005 flop, Lost and Found, with current on-the-rise hip-hop producer La Mar “Mars” Edwards.
Most recently, Edwards’ production work includes a majority of the tracks on The Game’s new R.E.D. Album, and he’s also been staying busy in the studio working with a slew of big names, including Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa (on music for their “High School” flick), Ashanti, T.I. and Tyler, the Creator.
But it’s his casual mention to XXL Magazine about collaborating with Smith that caught our attention. “We’re working on Will Smith, bringing him back. That’s actually him on the other line right now,” he told the mag.
That’s literally the only light he shed on the matter. How could he not elaborate on something so huge (and seemingly out of nowhere)? Granted, Smith is a cash cow at the box office, but it’s been quite a while since he captivated the music world “Big Willie Style.” Rap had quite a different atmosphere in 1997 when Smith released his solo debut, which begs the question, Can he pull it off?
Big Willie Style has sold a massive 9 million copies stateside since its release (making it one of the best selling rap albums of all time), but Smith’s follow-up efforts declined in popularity and hinted that the star’s years of rap stardom may be long gone. (But when you’re the world’s biggest movie star, who cares?)
Smith’s second album, Willennium, was released in 1999 and only managed to go double platinum with lesser hits “Wild Wild West” and “Freakin’ It.” His third effort, Born to Reign, featured the single “Black Suits Comin’ (Nod Ya Head),” the lead song from “Men in Black II,” but it failed to have the same luster as the original “Men in Black” single found on Smith’s debut. His last release, 2005’s Lost and Found, featured appearances from Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Robin Thicke and Nicole Scherzinger, but even that wasn’t enough to help it find a large audience.
With both of his last two efforts not even reaching platinum status, it would be quite the comeback indeed if Smith found himself back at the top of the rap charts. Every generation knows the “Fresh Prince” theme song, but with Big Willie being released well over a decade ago, many kids today simply don’t know Smith as a rapper. If he can overcome those hurdles – and having Edwards on board as a producer is a good sign – then we would love nothing more to see Willie become supreme again.
Do you think Will Smith can make a comeback? Tell us in the comments.