Fans of Will Smith (the rapper) rejoice!
The Fresh Prince is returning to his musical roots, announcing that he is back in the studio for the first time in a decade. Not only is Big Will putting pen to paper again, he’s reuniting with his longtime friend, composing partner, and Fresh Prince co-star, DJ Jazzy Jeff. Smith’s meteoric transcendence of the music industry into the world of blockbuster films in the early 90s left Smith and Jeff with unfinished business – they never got the chance to tour. The duo plan to put out an album as a precursor to a world tour slated to begin Summer of 2016. The A.V. Club has the full story about the planned comeback.
Few will argue that the man who once headlined eight straight $100 million making blockbusters in a row is no longer a blue chip A-lister, but recent eyebrow raising project choices and their associated disappointing box office returns show Smith is definitely trending downward as a bankable star. Perhaps the break from acting and a focus on the clean, catchy and memorable hip-hop tracks that made him famous in the first place will reinvigorate the 47 year-old Philadelphia native’s slumping career.
Sound farfetched? Maybe it is, but stranger things have happened. Even the man who helmed what was arguably the worst move of Will Smith’s career is scratching at the surface of a comeback (a Shyamalanaissance?).
But can Smith adapt his sound, that was so quintessentially 90s school dance, to the current musical landscape? That remains to be seen, but in the meantime, let’s take a quick look at some of the major changes the music industry has undergone since Will Smith’s last album dropped in 2005:
- 2005 – Will Smith releases Lost and Found, currently his most recent album
- 2006 – Grooveshark streaming music service launches
- 2007 – Apple launches first iPhone, combining the iPod and cellphone into one device
- 2008 – Spotify streaming service launches
- 2008 – RIAA announces they will stop suing individuals for illegal music downloading
- 2014 – Apple discontinues iPod classic
- 2014 – Megastar Taylor Swift pulls music from Spotify
- 2015 – Digital music sales overtake CD sales internationally for first time
- 2015 – Tidal streaming music service launches, claiming to pay higher percentage of royalties to artists
These moments represent only a fraction of the tumult experienced by the music industry in the decade since Will Smith last put out new music. We don’t know what type of album they’re planning yet, but we do know that the Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff will be releasing it into a very different landscape than the one that got jiggy with it last time around.