First Hit #1: March 14, 1998
While he began his career as a pop rapper, Will Smith is generally better known for his acting than his music. He seems to like it that way, at least since he spends a lot more time acting than making music, but he’s actually a gifted rapper. He definitely has an inclination to something light and poppy – he famously tries to avoid profanity, but that’s a good artistic decision for someone who records songs that definitely go all ages. Take Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It, it’s just as adult as you want it to be – the sexual connotations would sail right over the heads of most kids, and are largely limited to double entendres and words with vague meanings like Jiggy – and Smith’s flirtations with rap braggadocio don’t try to paint him as a tough guy, just a successful one. His music is made to please the crowd above all else, but there’s nothing wrong with that, and Smith knows how to make something appropriate for the dance floor. I mean, the song was completely ubiquitous, but I never got sick of it, it’s such an ingratiating piece of music.
Also, one of the best uses of a child choir that I’ve ever heard, since it’s used to emphasize the joy of the chorus.