Before Will Smith was making millions as an actor, the West Philadelphia (born and raised) entertainer was one of Hip Hop’s foremost feel-good MCs. Along with his trusty DJ/producer, Jazzy Jeff, he evolved from rap stardom into a staple of American pop culture thanks to his role in NBC’s hit show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
While in Krakow, Poland covering the Red Bull 3Style World Finals, HipHopDX caught up with Jeff — one of the judges for the five-night competition — to get his thoughts on a potential successor to the Fresh Prince role. With rumors of a reboot popping up recently, DX asked Jeff which rapper could fill the giant footprints left by his megastar partner-in-rhyme. In his eyes, there was one choice that stood head and shoulders above the rest.
“I think Chance [The Rapper] would be a really good Fresh Prince,” Jeff told DX. “‘Cause Chance always seems to have a lighthearted demeanor. He’s got a serious side to him but Chance is always smiling. Chance is always trying to do something really positive. I think Chance would be a really good Fresh Prince.”
Jeff, who played Jazz on the sitcom, not only cited Chance’s charisma as a selling point but also noted that the Chicago MC’s fearlessness and big-picture thinking make for a favorable comparison to Smith.
“Chance is a trailblazer and Will has always been a trailblazer,” he noted. “There has never been an ‘I can’t’ [in their vocabulary]. I think I really got a lot of that from [Smith], that ‘There’s no Plan B. Plan B just means you think that Plan A can fail. It’s just ‘This is what I’m gonna do and I just need to do it.’ There’s no ‘I hope it happens.’ It may take a little time but I’m just gonna do it.
“And I think for Chance to be as young as he is, to remain independent, to understand just even a little bit about the music industry, I think is great because it’s very easy to fall into those pitfalls. It’s very easy for someone to bring you a suitcase full of money, and it changes your entire perspective instead of realizing, ‘I probably could have 10 suitcases full of money if I just keep my product to myself.'”
Check out more of HipHopDX’s coverage from the Red Bull 3Style World finals here.