Will Smith once said that "Parents are the same no matter time nor place / so to you, all the kids all across the land / take it from me / parents just don't understand." He then became a dad and ceased to understand, proving himself right. With his son heading up an anime series and his daughter making avant-R&B, Will himself starred in… Collateral Beauty. Yeah. Suicide Squad won an Oscar at least, right?
But no, we knew that the Smith braintrust would only be in crisis when the man's music began to falter, which it hasn't because there hasn't been a Will Smith solo album for more than a decade. Those family-friendly raps are preserved in the amber of the jiggy era (a term Smith coined), never to have their legacy tarnished… until 2017.
What you are witnessing above is not satire. It's an honest-to-God Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff EDM song called "Get Lit." Footage already exists of the pair unleashing this monstrosity upon unsuspecting festival crowds, but this is the clearest video we have yet (and seems to be official), all the better for us to drink in just how terrible it is. From Will's weird forced dancehall karaoke to the awkward half-time shift in the middle, "Get Lit" is your worst Ultra Festival nightmare given life by one of the most beloved performers of the past few decades.
It is worth it to note that Will Smith's 90s bangers are not that much deeper than "Get Lit." For example, from "Miami":
Y'all don't understand
I never seen so many Dominican women with cinnamon tans
Mira, this is the plan
Take a walk on the beach, draw a heart in the sand
Gimme your hand
Damn, you look sexy
Let's go to my yacht, in the West Keys
Ride my jetskis, loungin' in the palm trees
Like, it's not poetry. But the real tragedy here is not that the song is bad, which it is. It's that Smith may be attempting to relive his younger days by updating his party raps and adopting what he thinks the kids will embrace. He doesn't need to do this, is the weird part, as he definitely doesn't require the cash nor does he need the cultural cache. What we have is just a man flailing needlessly against the riptide of time. That, or he doesn't really care about the youth and just decided to make "Get Lit" for shits and giggles. Maybe we're the ones who truly don't understand the parents.
Phil is on Twitter.