The rapper Will Smith tried to copy on ‘Summertime’
(Credit: Gage Skidmore)


The rapper Will Smith tried to copy on 'Summertime'

Before he became an Oscar-award-winning actor, Will Smith was a hip-hop emcee. Appearing on the scene in the late 1980s with DJ Jazzy Jeff, the dynamic duo shook up the underground of Philadelphia.

With songs such as ‘Parents Just Don’t Understand’ and ‘Nightmare On My Street,’ the pair’s tracks were hits, and he quickly became a star with fun, family-friendly tracks, and one of his biggest hits was the 1991 anthem ‘Summertime’. However, Smith has recently admitted that a particular emcee influenced his flow.

During this year’s Grammy performance alongside artists such as LL Cool J and Flava Flav, the Fresh Prince admitted that New York icon Rakim inspired his flow with DJ Jazzy Jeff on ‘Summertime.’ In a 2016 interview, the Philadelphia emcee spoke about the recording process of the track, disclosing, “I had been screaming all night, and I couldn’t get my ‘happy-go-lucky’ high voice so [the producer] just said, ‘Yo, just gimme that Rakim shit.'”

Many fans speculated that the Paid In Full musician had written the track. However, he didn’t, but on The Combat Jack Show, Eric B. and Rakim admitted that they had been presented with the beat for ‘Summertime’ first unveiling. The New York emcee stated, “It was ironic that me and Eric B. had sampled it, and we had it ready to go.”

He continued, “But when they came out with it, a lot of people thought it was me because of the style he used. But it was one of those things where that was them. I didn’t write it. That was Will and Jeff.”

During a 1991 interview on The Combat Jack Show, Rakim (real name William Griffin) admitted that they declined the beat because it wasn’t the right time, stating, “It was something that we wanted to use, but we felt that the time wasn’t right because of the choice of all the records that we had on the first album. But that’s a joint that you can’t deny.”

Will Smith performed alongside artists including Common, LL Cool J, Queen Latifah, Questlove, De La Soul, Remy Ma and others and ‘Summertime’ was one of the tracks Smith performed. You can see the performance below.