Signifying Nada


Sure, Will Smith’s the one married to Jada, but underneath the skin we’re brothers. I’m an old muhfluckuh who don’t need to be trying to rap like he’s an old muhfluckuh who don’t need to be trying to rap. Making Will’s Lost and Found a whole lot of huffing and puffing signifying nada, the lamest album that’ll be released this year. It violates an immutable law of the celebrity universe—that Hollywood actors don’t get to pretend they got flow any more than they get to pretend they can rock and roll.

Some things, like having story, bounce, and wit in your voice, can’t be grafted on like hair, makeup, and wardrobe. And Will never had style as an MC, just annoying and cloying bubblegum shtick. It served him well at 17, but the Fresh Prince wasn’t built to age gracefully. Even in movies where he’s playing a grownass man on major steroids, I keep expecting him to bust out with “Parents Just Don’t Understand.” “Summertime,” that top-down-in-the-sunshine song where he tried to flip it like a happy-go-lucky Rakim, that grooved me, I’m not ashamed to say. But now homeboy wants to be Rakim, Eminem, and Fitty too. Lost and Found got not one but two wannabe “In da Club”s, like we need to see our Cosby-esque Unka Will propositioning young hotties with lines like “How come you don’t wanna dance—you shy?” Uh uh. Noooo. Sounds like borderline sexual harassment. Yuck. And if you’re a Black man so unkool you must counterattack Eminem for ranking and filing on you, why ape Lil’ 8 Mile’s style? For god’s sake pull yourself together man.

The most deeply felt thing here—there has to be something—is when Will is unable to answer his son about whether there were people in those buildings he saw fall on 9-11. Pursuant to that, “Ms. Holy Roller” goes after a cheatingass flame who found Jesus and wants the world to know it’s going to hell. Only Will ends up comparing her religious zeal to that which allegedly brought down the twin towers. Problem is, other than making us suffer Black indie cinema like Woman Thou Art Loosed and taking under-the-pulpit money from white supremacists against gay marriage, Black evangelicals seem a pretty toothless lot, dude. Though I hope they burn in hell.

Will, I beg of you. Cease and desist making imitation hip-hop albums. Stop your dreadful impersonation of an MC. If this is a sickness, get help. Love your culture.