Big Willie Style
By: Adam A. Nielsen
I must admit that I had my doubts when I first put this one into the CD player. But, when I took it out I was surprised and pleased. If you only listen to rap for the "gangster" lyrics and beats, this CD is not for you. Will Smith does not swear at all on his albums, fulfilling a promise that he made to his grandmother when he first started rapping at age 16. He does not attempt to battle anyone or diss anyone's coast. He also does not rip off beats from his favorite hits of the past. What Will Smith (don't call him the Fresh Prince anymore) does bring to the table are some very creative, hittin' beats and an even more creative style of rhyming.
All of Smith's rhymes flow very smoothly. I cannot stress enough how creative they are, I found myself nodding my head in agreement and even laughing at loud at some of the lines. Song #4, "Candy", is a sort of love tale in which all of the characters are candy. Mike & Ike, Charleston Chew, and Starburst to name a few are involved in this story. Every time I picked a favorite song, I would listen to the disc closer and find a new one. I would think about what each song meant, how it flowed, how the beat worked with the rhymes. After going through about six favorites, I settled on "Getting' Jiggy Wit it." This is one of the ultimate party songs. It has a fast beat and Smith rhymes coolly and quickly enough to keep pace with it.
Not every song on this album is as fun and simple as "Getting Jiggy." "Don't Say Nothin'" is an entire song dedicated to the naysayers that have dissed and never respected Smith. The catch phrase in this song is straightforward and to the point, "Y'all know how it is, oh wait a minute y'all don't. Y'all don't say nothin'', then I won't." There are also several instances in which Smith mentions and compliments his wife, actress Jada Pinckett. When confronted with the question as to why he wasn't rapping for a few years to pursue a movie career, Smith answers lyrically, "I was in my crib in Barbados, chillin' with Jada." He also speaks on how he intends to spoil her with jewelry and cars.
This album is a winner. Almost every song is good. The beats are there, creativity is abundant, and most of all Smith "keeps it real" without uttering a single swear word. Catchy lines like, "I got more green than David Banner, more juice than Tropicana, you hawkin' me like Atlanta" get the listener to pay attention for fear that they might miss a gem. This one is not a chart-topper, but definitely worth every penny.