Although he is now more known for his blockbuster films courtesy of his successful acting career, when Will Smith initially received mainstream attention, it was due to his music as part of the Grammy-winning hip hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. However, Will Smith didn’t get a lot of love from the hip hop community, as many of his musical peers (and hip hop fans) felt he was too “soft” to be taken seriously—and now he’s discussing it in a new interview.
Speaking about how he felt about that criticism, Will Smith opened up to David Letterman in his latest Netflix special. “That was really our major distinguishing quality at the time. It was comedy, it was punchlines, it was fun. We stood out in a really good way. We sort of had our own lane…it was always that I was soft. I hated that, being called soft,” he said.
He also explained that his grandmother is the reason he decided early in his rap career that he would not curse in his music. She wrote him a letter telling him how she thought he was so talented and had a lot of potential and he didn’t need to curse to stand out. Will stated, “That was the reason I never cursed in any of my records.”
The interview, which was recorded months before his infamous Oscars slap against Chris Rock, highlighted Will Smith’s career, but also delved into his struggles. As we previously reported, elsewhere in the discussion with Letterman, Will revealed that after taking the psychedelic drug ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic tea, 14 times within two years, he envisioned his career “going away” during an instance when he was under the drug’s influence.
So, I’m drinking and sitting there, and then all of a sudden, it’s like I start seeing all of my money flying away, and my house is flying away, and my career is going away. “My whole life is getting destroyed. This is my fear in real life, and I’m in there, and I’m wanting to vomit, and all of that, and I hear a voice saying: ‘This is what the f**k it is. This is what the f**k life is,’” he told said.