Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Will Smith Reflects on Debuting ‘Summertime’ After ‘Fresh Prince’ Episode: ‘We Did the Impossible’

Will Smith Reflects on Debuting ‘Summertime’ After ‘Fresh Prince’ Episode: ‘We Did the Impossible’

Will Smith is recounting how his show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air helped usher in his iconic hit “Summertime”. Entertainment Weekly posted a video clip from his new podcast, Class of ’88. In it, Smith talks about the unique release of the song’s music video in 1991. This follows his son, Jaden asking about the experience. “How did it feel for you guys… to have a video on television, like you know everybody’s tuned in to the same thing?”

However, Will Smith pointed out his most unforgettable music video memory happened on a primetime TV channel, not MTV. “The biggest video moment for me of my career is when we did the impossible and premiered ‘Summertime’ after The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” Smith said. “We did a short episode, so we shortened the episode, and added the premiere of the video into the programming after the credits.”

Will Smith Admits to Following in the Footsteps of Another Pop Icon with ‘Summertime’ Video

“We said ‘And here we have a special treat,’” Smith added. “On network television, at 8 o’clock on Monday night for the entire nation, we premiered ‘Summertime.’” Smith admitted that Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video was a huge inspiration for the stunt. “Michael Jackson premiered ‘Thriller’ in primetime. And I had been wanting to do that my entire life,” Smith recalled. In November of 1991, Jackson dropped “Black or White” on Fox, MTV, BET, and VH1 all at once.

We got NBC to agree, and we shortened the episode and tacked the video on at the end, and the song was No. 1 the next week,” Smith explained. The song not only topped Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart but also reached fourth place on the Billboard Hot 100. It also won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, credited to Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff.

Smith’s podcast Summer of ’88 delves into the late 1980s hip-hop revolution, featuring interviews with musicians including Queen Latifah, Salt-N-Pepa, Darryl ‘DMC’ McDaniels, and DJ Red Alert.

Meanwhile, Will Smith is returning to his roots by performing, as well. D.J. Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince are set to reunite at A Grammy Salute to 50 Years of Hip-Hop. The upcoming event is scheduled to be filmed on November 8th at the YouTube Theater in Inglewood, California. D.J. Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince join a stacked line-up of hip-hop legends that includes Arrested Development, Cypress Hill, Queen Latifah, and Spinderella.