Big Willie Style

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Big Willie Style
Studio album by Will Smith
Released November 25, 1997
Recorded 1995-1997;
Pacifique Recording Studios
(North Hollywood, California)
The Hit Factory
(New York City, New York)
Genre Hip hop
Length 54:14
Label Columbia
Producer Andreao "Fanatic" Heard, L.E.S., Keith Pelzer, Poke & Tone, Valvin Roane, Sauce, Jeff Townes
Will Smith chronology
Big Willie Style
(1997)
Willennium
(1999)
Singles from Big Willie Style
  1. "Men in Black"
    Released: June 16, 1997
  2. "Just Cruisin'"
    Released: December 1, 1997
  3. "Gettin' Jiggy wit It"
    Released: January 27, 1998
  4. "Just the Two of Us"
    Released: July 20, 1998
  5. "Miami"
    Released: November 23, 1998
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[1]
Entertainment Weekly (C−)[2]
Robert Christgau (choice cut)[3]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[4]

Big Willie Style is the debut solo album recorded by Will Smith, after spending most of his career as the latter half of DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince and on the hit TV series, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The album was released on Columbia Records in the United States on November 25, 1997 and featured a total of four hit singles – "Men in Black" (released earlier in the year on the soundtrack for the movie of the same name), "Gettin' Jiggy wit It", "Miami" and "Just the Two of Us", a cover of the Grover Washington, Jr. and Bill Withers song of the same name.

Background[edit]

The first single from the album "Men in Black", was not released in the U.S. as a physical single, and was therefore unable to chart in Billboard. "Men in Black" enjoyed a worldwide release, and reached No. 1 in many countries. The song spent an entire month at the top of the UK singles charts, becoming the 6th biggest hit single there in 1997. The follow-up, "Gettin' Jiggy wit It" was a big hit, spending two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 from March 14, 1998 to March 28, 1998, Smith's first No. 1 hit in his homeland. The track became a Top 5 elsewhere.

As a fourth single, "Just the Two of Us" was released in July 1998, and was another big hit, reaching No. 2 in the UK and making the U.S. Top 20. The final single was "Miami", accompanied by an expensive, ambitious music video, and released in November 1998. The track also made an impressive performance in the charts, reaching No. 3 in the UK and No. 17 in the U.S. In the U.S., the album debuted at No. 31 and then began to lose position until "Gettin' Jiggy wit It" was released, rising to No. 10. Then the album began to fall again, but, in the wake of the release of the very well received "Just the Two of Us", the album reached a new peak position of No. 8, where it spent three weeks.

In the U.S., Big Willie Style spent a total of seven weeks on the Top 10, 69 weeks on the Top 40 and 99 weeks on the whole Billboard 200. The album was eventually certified 9x Platinum by RIAA on July 20, 2000, denoting 9 million shipments in the U.S alone. Meanwhile, the album debuted in the UK charts at No. 63 and then fell positions very quickly, but it gained new chart power with the release of "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It", reaching No. 11 in March 1998. Then the album began to fall again on the list, but was revitalised several times in 1998 following the subsequent single releases.

In late January 1999, in the wake of the release of the final single "Miami", the album finally reached its peak position of No. 9, and then began its final fall on the charts. This unusual chart run from the album materialized on just one week on the Top 10, 38 weeks on the Top 40 but a total of an impressive 108 weeks on the UK albums charts, making 3 re-entries on it. Worldwide sales are over 14 million, making it one of the best-selling rap albums of all time.

Smith won two Grammy Awards in the Best Rap Solo Performance category for the songs "Men in Black", in 1997, and "Gettin' Jiggy wit It", in 1998, making him the only artist in history to receive two Grammys from this category for two songs from the same album.

Track listing[edit]

Credits adapted from liner notes[5] and Allmusic.[6]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Intro"     1:51
2. "Y'all Know"   Will Smith, Andreao "Fanatic" Heard 3:57
3. "Gettin' Jiggy wit It"   Will Smith, Nile Rodgers, Samuel J. Barnes, Bernard Edwards, Joe Robinson 3:47
4. "Candy" (featuring Larry Blackmon and Cameo) Will Smith, Ryan Toby, Larry Blackmon, Tomi Jenkins 3:56
5. "Chasing Forever"   Will Smith, Nasir Jones, Kenny Greene, Stevie Wonder 4:15
6. "Keith B-Real I (Interlude)"     1:07
7. "Don't Say Nothin'"   Will Smith, Ryan Toby, Keith Pelzer 4:22
8. "Miami"   Will Smith, Ryan Toby, Samuel J. Barnes, William Shelby, Stephen Shockley, Leon Sylvers III 3:17
9. "Yes Yes Y'all" (featuring Camp Lo) Will Smith, Nasir Jones, Ronald Isley, Rudolph Isley, O'Kelly Isley, Marvin Isley, Ernie Isley, Chris Jasper, Oliver Scott, Ronnie Wilson, Joe Robinson 4:23
10. "I Loved You"   Will Smith, Ryan Toby, Valvin Roane, Keith Pelzer, Joe Farrell 4:12
11. "Keith B-Real II (Interlude)"     0:30
12. "It's All Good"   Will Smith, Jeff Townes, Carvin Haggins, Bernard Edwards, Nile Rodgers 4:04
13. "Just the Two of Us"   Will Smith, Bill Withers, William Salter, Ralph MacDonald 5:15
14. "Keith B-Real III (Interlude)"     1:54
15. "Big Willie Style" (featuring Left Eye) Will Smith, Timothy Riley, Lisa Lopes, Maurice White, Wayne L. Vaughn, Wanda Vaughn 3:35
16. "Men in Black" (featuring Coko) Will Smith, Patrice Rushen, Terry McFadden, Fred Washington 3:45
Total length:
54:14
Sample credits
  • "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" - Contains a sample of "He's the Greatest Dancer" by Sister Sledge
  • "Candy" - Contains a sample of "Candy" by Cameo
  • "Chasing Forever" - Contains a sample of "Ribbon in the Sky" by Stevie Wonder
  • "Don't Say Nothin'" - Contains a sample of "I Know You Got Soul" by Eric B. & Rakim
  • "Miami" - Contains a sample of "And the Beat Goes On" by The Whispers
  • "Yes Yes Y'all" - Contains a sample of "Yearning for Your Love" by The Gap Band
  • "I Loved You" - Contains a sample of "Upon This Rock" by Joe Farrell
  • "It's All Good" - Contains a sample of "Good Times" by Chic
  • "Just the Two of Us" - Contains a sample of "Just the Two of Us" by Grover Washington, Jr. and Bill Withers
  • "Big Willie Style" - Contains a sample of "Something Special" by Earth, Wind & Fire
  • "Men in Black" - Contains a sample of "Forget Me Nots" by Patrice Rushen

Liner notes[edit]

The following are the lines written by Smith available on the booklet from the album.[7]

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from liner notes.[7]

  • Jamie Foxx - uncredited vocals ("Keith B-Real" interludes)[8]
  • Poke and Tone - drum programming, production, recording engineer
  • L.E.S. - drum programming, production
  • Lamar "Kern" Brantley - bass
  • David Foreman - guitar
  • Timothy "Tyme" Riley - keyboards
  • DJ Jazzy Jeff - scratches, production, recording engineer
  • Keith Winfield - keyboards
  • Ryan Toby - vocals, co-production
  • Valvin Roane - vocals, production
  • Kenny Greene - background vocals
  • Jeff "Fuzzy" Young - vocals
  • Trisha Covington - background vocals
  • Trey Lorenz - background vocals
  • Tia Mintze - background vocals
  • Ken Duro Ifill - recording engineer, mixing
  • Rich Travali - mixing
  • Keith Pelzer - production, recording engineer
  • Rob Chiarelli - drum programming, mixing
  • Curtis "Sauce" Wilson - keyboards, drum programming
  • Herb Powers, Jr. - mastering

Charts[edit]

Album

Year Chart Position
1997 The Billboard 200 8
1997 Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 9
1997 Top Canadian Albums 14
1998 UK Albums Chart 9

Singles

Year Single Chart Position
1997 "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" Rhythmic Top 40 5
1997 "Men in Black" Hot Latin Tracks 39
1997 "Men in Black" Latin Pop Airplay 7
1997 "Men in Black" Latin Tropical/Salsa Airplay 13
1997 "Men in Black" Rhythmic Top 40 1
1997 "Men in Black" Top 40 Mainstream 2
1998 "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" Hot Latin Tracks 37
1998 "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks 6
1998 "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" Hot Rap Singles 1
1998 "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" Latin Pop Airplay 17
1998 "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" Latin Tropical/Salsa Airplay 16
1998 "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" The Billboard Hot 100 1
1998 "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" Top 40 Mainstream 5
1998 "Just the Two of Us" Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks 17
1998 "Just the Two of Us" Hot Rap Singles 1
1998 "Just the Two of Us" Rhythmic Top 40 2
1998 "Just the Two of Us" The Billboard Hot 100 20
1998 "Just the Two of Us" Top 40 Mainstream 6
1998 "Miami" Rhythmic Top 40 4
1998 "Miami" The Billboard Hot 100 17
1998 "Miami" Top 40 Mainstream 7
1998 "Miami" Top 40 Tracks 6
1998 "Miami" Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks 73

End of decade charts[edit]

Chart (1990–1999) Position
U.S. Billboard 200[9] 39

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r328872
  2. ^ "Big Willie Style Review - Music Reviews and News - EW.com". EW.com. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Will Smith". Robert Christgau. 
  4. ^ "Rolling Stone : Will Smith: Big Willie Style : Music Reviews". Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  5. ^ Will Smith - Big Willie Style, Columbia Records. CK 68683
  6. ^ Smith, Will. "Big Willie Style". studio album. allmusic. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 
  7. ^ a b Will Smith - Big Willie Style. Columbia Records. CK 68683
  8. ^ "Jamie Foxx Says Being Called The N-Word Growing Up Prepared Him For "Django Unchained"". interview. hiphopdx.com. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 
  9. ^ Geoff Mayfield (December 25, 1999). 1999 The Year in Music Totally '90s: Diary of a Decade - The listing of Top Pop Albums of the '90s & Hot 100 Singles of the '90s. Billboard. Retrieved October 15, 2010.