Will Smith recently shared a surprising tidbit about the creation of the iconic theme song for ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.’

During an interview on Hot 97 with Peter Rosenberg, Smith, alongside his ‘Bad Boys’ co-star Martin Lawrence, recounted how Quincy Jones, the legendary producer and composer, had initially crafted a theme for the show. Known for his work on ‘Sanford and Son’ and many other projects, Quincy’s version was not what Smith had envisioned.

Smith described hearing the original theme for the first time and feeling underwhelmed. ‘So Quincy plays a theme song for The Fresh Prince. It was that old school [mimics a stereotypical sitcom theme]. So I listened and I was like, ‘Ohhh… wow…. yeah.”

Facing a dilemma, Smith turned to his musical partner DJ Jazzy Jeff. ‘Jeff was at the hotel and I was like, ‘Jeff, Quincy played a theme song. Dude, it’s no good at all,’’ Smith recalled. Despite his hesitation to confront Quincy directly, Jazzy Jeff encouraged Smith to be honest.

What followed was a creative session in a hotel room that night, where DJ Jazzy Jeff introduced a new beat. ‘I was like, ‘Yeah, that feels a little bit better.’ [Jeff] was like, ‘Yo, just write something,’’ Smith shared. The duo recorded a new version with a four-track, and Smith nervously presented it to Quincy.

To Smith’s relief, Quincy preferred the new version. Quincy’s reaction was candid: ‘Well, that’s better than that bullshit I did.’ They recorded the full track, including a second verse, and Quincy’s edits led to the theme song we all know and love today.

Interestingly, the show’s history could have taken another turn. Earlier this year, the hip-hop group De La Soul revealed they were originally approached to star in the sitcom before Smith landed the role. Posdnuos from De La Soul shared, ‘A lot of people don’t know, yo, the Fresh Prince thing was offered to us.’ The group, hesitant and focused on their rap career, decided not to pursue it. Posdnuos jokingly added, ‘And shit, I could have been Will Smith. I could have got married to Jada. Damn.’

Queen Latifah, guesting on De La Soul’s show, reassured Posdnuos, ‘You definitely could have. But I think you good where you at right now. I think you good.’

It’s fascinating to think how different ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ might have been without Will Smith’s personal touch on the theme song. This anecdote adds another layer to the show’s rich history and Smith’s creative journey.

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