During the interview, which was filmed before the infamous Oscar’s slap, Smith opened up about his music career. After Letterman noted that Smith’s music with DJ Jazzy Jeff often had humorous lyrics, Smith noted that the hip-hop duo, who rarely used profanity, basically had their own lane within the music industry due to their clean lyrics.
“That was really our major distinguishing quality at the time,” said Smith. “It was comedy, it was punchlines, it was fun. We stood out in a really good way. We sort of had our own lane.”
Smith and Jeffrery Townes rose to fame as “DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince” with their hit “Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble” in 1987. The duo went on to make five albums together between 1987 and 1993. Smith also released a solo album, “Big Willie Style” in 1997. The duo won two Grammy Awards for Best Performance By A Duo or Group, the first in 1989 for “Parent’s Just Don’t Understand” and the second in 1992 for “Summertime.”
Letterman asked the “Parents Just Don’t Understand” rapper if he ever felt pressured to change lanes within the industry, and Smith replied that he didn’t feel any pressure to change but added that he hated being called soft.
“Was there ever any pressure from anybody, or just the industry itself, to move out of that lane?”
“Not pressure as much as it was always that I was soft,” Smith replied. “I hated that, being called soft.”
Rock told the joke during a show at the Comedy Store while on stage with Dave Chappelle, who was attacked while performing on stage at the “Netflix Is A Joke Festival” in Los Angeles two days earlier on May 3. The two comedians had been making light of being jumped on stage when Chappelle joked that at least Rock had been attacked by someone of repute, prompting Rock to reply that he’d been attacked by “the softest n—a to ever rap.”
The rapper revealed the reason he rarely swore on his albums was because of a note his grandmother once left in a book he’d written some lyrics in when he was around 12 years old. The lyrics included profanity, and his grandmother encouraged him not to use such language.
“Dear Willard, truly intelligent people do not have to use words like these to express themselves. Please show the world that you’re as smart as we think you are. Love, Gigi.”
“That was the reason I never cursed in any of my records,” added Smith.
Fans were excited to learn about the interview on social media.
“There’s a Will Smith interview on this newest season of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction w David Letterman and it’s really good btw,” wrote one fan.
“My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman” is currently available on Netflix.