Gettin' Jiggy wit It

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"Gettin' Jiggy wit It"
Single by Will Smith
from the album Big Willie Style
B-side"Big Willie Style"
ReleasedJanuary 27, 1998
FormatCD single, Cassette
GenrePop-rap[citation needed]
Songwriter(s)Samuel Barnes, Bernard Edwards, Joe Robinson, Nile Rodgers, Will Smith
Producer(s)Poke & Tone, L.E.S. (co-prod.)
Will Smith singles chronology
"Just Cruisin'"
"Gettin' Jiggy wit It"
"Just the Two of Us"

"Gettin' Jiggy wit It" is a single by American actor and rapper Will Smith, released as the third cut from his debut solo album Big Willie Style (1997). The verse is based around a sample of "He's the Greatest Dancer" by Sister Sledge, and the chorus is sampled from "Sang and Dance" by the Bar-Kays. Released in January 1998, the song was Smith's second hit produced by Poke & Tone and L.E.S., who replaced his long-time partner Jazzy Jeff, though the record-scratching techniques of Jazzy Jeff can be heard in the song.[1]

The song spent three weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart from March 14, 1998. It also won a Grammy Award in 1999 for the Best Rap Solo Performance. It was ranked the 68th greatest song of the 1990s by VH1. However, it was ranked at #19 on the list of AOL Radio's 100 Worst Songs Ever in 2010.[2] The song was included in Pitchfork Media's 2010 list of "the seven worst U.S. No. 1 singles of the 90s".[3]


The song samples the 1979 Sister Sledge song "He's the Greatest Dancer". The "mama-uh, mama-uh, mama come closer" line is a reference to the song "Soul Makossa" by Manu Dibango, specifically the version adapted by Michael Jackson in "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'"'s final bridge. The connotations associated with the expression getting jiggy were heavily influenced by this single. The term went from being used to acclaim one's fashion or style towards being synonymous with dancing, and eventually back to the original association with sexual connotations.[4]

Smith has attested in an interview[5] that his inspiration to alter the meaning for the purpose of the song came from his association of the term "jiggy" with "jigaboo", a derogatory term for African-Americans, which made the literal meaning of the title "getting African-American with it" and which was meant to reference the popular folk-myth of an innate sense of rhythm in black folks. The co-opting of a once offensive word also was racially empowering.[5]

The song was also sampled by a Russian pop group Hi-Fi in their 1999 song "Pro Leto" (translated as "About Summer").

Since the song's release, many people have speculated if Nas helped compose it, as he also helped compose the songs "Chasing Forever", "Yes Yes Y'all" and "Just Cruisin'" for Smith. In April 2014 on the social networking site Reddit, Nas finally put the rumor to rest:

"Alright, let's clear this up once and for all. I hung out with Will in the studio. And watched him write it. It was a fun studio session, and I said a line or two or three to him. It wasn't that serious. Will Smith wrote that song. But seriously, I watched him have fun making that record on his own, and Will is a true MC."[6]

Critical reception[edit]

Music & Media wrote in their review of the song: "Musician-cum-actor Smith seems to have an infallible knack for simply irresistible poppy R&B. This time around, Sister Sledge's much-loved 1979 disco smash He's The Greatest Dancer serves as the foundation for his third surefire hit in a row (after Men In Black and Just Cruisin')."[7]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Hype Williams[8][9][10] and was filmed at various hotels on the Las Vegas Strip, including the New York-New York Hotel and Casino, The Mirage, and the foyer of the Luxor Las Vegas.

The video features a series of tableaux including a Deee-Lite-inspired sequence, a glitzy Puffa jacket-style choreographed studio dance routine, a sequence set in Ancient Egypt and a volcano-backed Hawaiian/ Māori segment. Other music styles, including Bollywood, are referenced. The video closes with Smith dancing beneath the Statue of Liberty replica at the New York-New York Hotel and Casino.

"Gettin' Jiggy wit It" won the 1998 MTV Video Music Award for Best Rap Video. The song was also nominated for four additional awards, including Best Choreography, Viewer's Choice, Best Dance Video, and Video of the Year, but these further nominations were lost to Madonna for her song "Ray of Light".

References in popular culture[edit]

In the 1999 film Superstar, lead character Mary Katherine Gallagher gets advice from Jesus Christ, played by Will Ferrell, telling her to "Get jiggy wit it, Na na na na na na". In the Seinfeld episode "The Reverse Peephole", Jerry is disappointed at not being selected as DJ for a house party, stating, in regards to his having previously DJ'ed, "I got jiggy with it!"[11] The song is also featured in the video game Backyard Football '08.

The song has also been spoofed and covered by various artists. DJ Screw created a chopped and screwed version of the song. Jam band Phish covered the song on their 1999 album Hampton Comes Alive. King Crimson referred to the song in "The World's My Oyster Soup Kitchen Floor Wax Museum" on 2000's The Construkction of Light album. Cassetteboy released a short spoof version of the song in the wake of the 2015 Piggate scandal (the allegation that the British Prime Minister David Cameron once placed "a private part of his anatomy" into the mouth of a dead pig's head) entitled Gettin Piggy With It.[12]

Track listing[edit]

  • CD1
  1. "Gettin' Jiggy wit It" – 3:46
  2. "Men in Black" (New Video Mix) – 3:41
  3. "Big Willie Style" (Snippets) – 2:56
  • CD2
  1. "Gettin' Jiggy wit It" – 3:46
  2. "Gettin' Jiggy wit It" (Jay Scratch Mix) – 3:41
  3. "Big Willie Style" (featuring Lisa Lopes) – 3:35
  • Cassette
  1. "Gettin' Jiggy wit It" – 3:46
  2. "Men in Black" (New Video Mix) – 3:41
  • Single CD
  1. "Gettin' Jiggy wit It" – 3:46
  2. "Gettin' Jiggy wit It" (DJ Scratch Remix) – 3:20
  • Maxi-CD
  1. "Gettin' Jiggy wit It" – 3:46
  2. "Gettin' Jiggy wit It" (DJ Scratch remix) – 3:20
  3. "Gettin' Jiggy wit It" (So So Def remix) – 3:36
  4. "Gettin' Jiggy wit It" (DJ Scratch remix instrumental) – 3:19
  1. "Gettin' Jiggy wit It" – 3:46
  2. "Men in Black" (DJ Scratch Remix) – 3:45
Digital download
  1. "Gettin' Jiggy wit It" (So So Def remix version 2; featuring Jermaine Dupri, Big Pun, R.O.C. & Cam'ron) – 4:17

Charts and certifications[edit]


  1. ^ Arnott, Jack (August 5, 2008). "Is hip-hop haunted by ghostwriters?". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 2008-09-08.
  2. ^ name a better artist than him, i’ll wait. Wilkening, Matthew (September 11, 2010). "100 Worst Songs Ever -- Part Five of Five". AOL Radio. Retrieved December 24, 2010.
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  4. ^ "jiggy. (n.d.)". Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved 2007-04-26.
  5. ^ a b Joyner, Michael (1998). "Gettin' Jiggy Wit Will Smith". Feature. 4 (9): 7.
  6. ^ "I am Nas. AMAA". messageboard. Retrieved 2014-05-28.
  7. ^ "Airborne" (PDF). Music & Media. p. 16. Retrieved 2019-12-23. Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
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  10. ^ "Hype Williams". technician videography. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
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  12. ^ "Cassetteboy has mashed up David Cameron's speeches into 'Gettin' Piggy With it'". Metro. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  13. ^ " – Will Smith – Gettin' Jiggy Wit It". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
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  19. ^ "RPM Urban Top 30 – March 2, 1998". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
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  22. ^ " – Will Smith – Gettin' Jiggy Wit It". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  23. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Gettin' Jiggy Wit It". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  24. ^ "Top National Sellers" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 15 no. 12. March 21, 1998. p. 13. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  25. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 12, 1998" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved November 27, 2019.
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  44. ^ "RPM's Top 50 Urban Tracks of '98". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
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  52. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1998 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association.
  53. ^ "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – singles 1998". Ultratop. Hung Medien.
  54. ^ "French single certifications – Will Smith – Gettin?Jiggy wit It" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.
  55. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – Will Smith – Just Cruisin/Getting Jiggy". Recorded Music NZ.
  56. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden.
  57. ^ "British single certifications – Will Smith – Gettin' Jiggy wit It". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Gettin' Jiggy wit It in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  58. ^ "Best-Selling Records of 1998". Billboard. BPI Communications Inc. 111 (5): 75. January 30, 1999. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 31, 2015.
  59. ^ "American single certifications – Will Smith – Gettin' Jiggy with It". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]

Music video on YouTube