That’s My Jam: Will Smith – Big Willie Style

That’s My Jam is a weekly feature where one person from the Selective Hearing staff goes to wax poetic about music that is pivotal to their musical tastes. Whether that would be an album, a song, or anything in-between. We all had to start somewhere.

Will Smith Big Willie Style

Release Date: November 25, 1997

Track Listing

  1. Intro
  2. Y’all Know
  3. Gettin Jiggy Wit It
  4. Candy feat. Larry Blackmon & Cameo
  5. Chasing Forever
  6. Keith B-Real I (Interlude)
  7. Don’t Say Nothin
  8. Miami
  9. Yes Yes Y’all feat. Camp Lo
  10. I Loved You
  11. Kieth B-Real II (Interlude)
  12. It’s All Good
  13. Just The Two Of Us
  14. Keith B-Real III (Interlude)
  15. Big Willie Style feat. Left Eye
  16. Men In Black feat. Coko

Review

Will Smith’s solo debut was released in 1997 and features four chart-topping singles. (Men In Black, Getting Jiggy Wit It, Miami and Just The Two Of Us)

The album spent seven weeks in the Billboard 200 Top 10 and 99 weeks on the chart until it fell off. This album also garnered Will Smith two Grammy awards. One in 1997 for Best Solo Rap Performance for Men In Black and once more in the same category in 1998 for Getting Jiggy Wit It.

Many people give this album some flack because it’s “safe” and “family-friendly,” but if you look at Will Smith’s career with his partner DJ Jazzy Jeff it was expected he would continue on the path of light-hearted Hip-Pop.

And really, there’s nothing wrong with that, as this album is mostly about promoting positivity, love and having a good time. You get a bunch of sample-heavy party songs (Candy, It’s All Good) mixed in with some R&B crossovers. (Chasing Forever, I Loved You)

That shouldn’t be anything new to long-time Urban music listeners since that’s been the norm for a while.

Even when he’s taking on his haters (Don’t Say Nothin), Smith doesn’t resort to the typical curse-laden posturing many rappers use as retaliation. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t fall into the trap of bragging too much, but at least he finds a clean way of getting his point across.

So yes, in the end, this is a very harmless album, and perhaps it’s a little too soft for those who like their Hip-Hop focused on social issues or their beats harder than Chinese math. (bonus points if you know where that line is from)

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Greg is the creator, administrator, editor, code monkey, overlord and general jack of all trades at Selective Hearing. He can be found lurking among the overseas Asian pop fandom and bumming around Japan every year for some reason or another.