|Big Willie Style|
|Studio album by Will Smith|
|Released||November 25, 1997|
|Length||54:20 (US / International)
|Producer||Andreao "Fanatic" Heard", L.E.S., Keith Pelzer, Poke & Tone, Valvin Roane, Sauce, Jeff Townes|
|Will Smith chronology|
Big Willie Style is the first solo studio album recorded by Will Smith, after spending most of his career as the latter half of DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince. The album was released on Columbia Records in the United States on November 25, 1997 and featured a total of four hit singles (all of them reached the UK Top 3) – "Men in Black" (released earlier in the year on the soundtrack for the movie of the same name), "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" (which redefined popular use of the word jiggy), the retro-styled jam "Miami" and the meaningful message to fathers and sons (starring, and about his real life father and son relationship with, his first son) "Just the Two of Us", a cover of the Grover Washington, Jr. and Bill Withers song of the same name.
The first single from the album "Men in Black", was not released in the U.S. as a physical single, and was therefore unable to chart in Billboard. "Men in Black" enjoyed a worldwide release, and reached #1 in many countries. The song spent an entire month at the top of the UK singles charts, becoming the 6th biggest hit single there in 1997. The second single from the album, "Just Cruisin'" was also from the movie "Men in Black", and was a minor hit worldwide. The track was only included in the British edition of "Big Willie Style". The follow-up, "Gettin' Jiggy wit It" was a big hit, spending 2 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 from March 14, 1998 to March 28, 1998, Smith's first #1 hit in his homeland. The track became a Top 5 elsewhere. As a fourth single, "Just the Two of Us" was released in August 1998, and was another big hit, reaching #2 in the UK and making the U.S. Top 20. The final single was "Miami", accompanied with an expensive, ambitious music video, and released in November 1998. The track also made an impressive performance in the charts, reaching #3 in the UK and #17 in the U.S.
In the U.S., the album debuted at #31 and then began to lose position until "Gettin' Jiggy With it" was released, rising to #10. Then the album began to fall again, but, in the wake of the release of the very well-received "Just the Two of Us", the album reached a new peak position of #8, where spent 3 weeks. In the U.S., spent a total of 7 weeks on the Top 10, 69 weeks on the Top 40 and 99 weeks on the whole Billboard 200. The album was eventually certified 9x platinum by RIAA on July 20, 2000, denoting 9 million shipments in the U.S alone.
Meanwhile, the album debuted in the UK charts at #63 and then fell positions very quickly, but it gained new chart power with the release of "Gettin' Jiggy With it", reaching #11 in March 1998. Then the album began to fall again on the list, but was revitalised several times in 1998 following the subsequent single releases. Then, on late January 1999, in the wake of the release of the final single "Miami", the album finally reached its peak position of #9, and then began its final fall on the charts. This unusual chart run from the album materialized on just one week on the Top 10, 38 weeks on the Top 40 but a total of an impressive 108 weeks on the UK albums charts, making 3 re-entries on it.
Worldwide sales are over 14 million, making it one of the best-selling rap albums of all time.
Smith won 2 Grammy Awards in the Best Rap Solo Performance category for the songs "Men in Black", in 1997, and "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It", in 1998, making of Smith the only artist in history to receive two Grammies from this category for two songs from the same album.
Nas was also a co-writer on this album with Will Smith. He is credited under his real name, Nasir Jones and worked on 4 songs on the album including the #1 hit "Getting Jiggy Wit It".
The following are the lines written by Smith available on the booklet from the album.
|“||It's always hard when the time comes to do the "thank yous." I always manage to forget somebody and then I see them on the street somewhere and they scream, "I gave you the best years of my life, and no thanks is the thanks I get!" So in the interest of time, space on the back of this album, and the avoidance of public ridicule, first and foremost, I would like to thank God. I would like to thank Mom Mom, Daddy O, GiGi and my entire family. Like the African proverb goes, "It takes a village to raise a child," and I've been raised by a couple of villages full of people too innumerable to name. But to all of my friends, and all the "villagers" that have helped me, not only with this album, but with my career and life in general — you know who you are. And I want you to know that I'm very clear that no one becomes "The Big Williest" by themselves. And to Trey and Jada, I live, love and work, every second of every day, hoping to make you proud of who I am. I love you.||”|
|1997||The Billboard 200||8|
|1997||Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums||9|
|1997||Top Canadian Albums||14|
|1998||UK Albums Chart||9|
|1997||"Gettin' Jiggy Wit It"||Rhythmic Top 40||5|
|1997||"Men in Black"||Hot Latin Tracks||39|
|1997||"Men in Black"||Latin Pop Airplay||7|
|1997||"Men in Black"||Latin Tropical/Salsa Airplay||13|
|1997||"Men in Black"||Rhythmic Top 40||1|
|1997||"Men in Black"||Top 40 Mainstream||2|
|1997||"Just Cruisin'"||Canadian Singles Chart||23|
|1997||"Just Cruisin'"||UK Singles Chart||83|
|1998||"Gettin' Jiggy Wit It"||Hot Latin Tracks||37|
|1998||"Gettin' Jiggy Wit It"||Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks||6|
|1998||"Gettin' Jiggy Wit It"||Hot Rap Singles||1|
|1998||"Gettin' Jiggy Wit It"||Latin Pop Airplay||17|
|1998||"Gettin' Jiggy Wit It"||Latin Tropical/Salsa Airplay||16|
|1998||"Gettin' Jiggy Wit It"||The Billboard Hot 100||1|
|1998||"Gettin' Jiggy Wit It"||Top 40 Mainstream||5|
|1998||"Just the Two of Us"||Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks||17|
|1998||"Just the Two of Us"||Hot Rap Singles||1|
|1998||"Just the Two of Us"||Rhythmic Top 40||2|
|1998||"Just the Two of Us"||The Billboard Hot 100||20|
|1998||"Just the Two of Us"||Top 40 Mainstream||6|
|1998||"Miami"||Rhythmic Top 40||4|
|1998||"Miami"||The Billboard Hot 100||17|
|1998||"Miami"||Top 40 Mainstream||7|
|1998||"Miami"||Top 40 Tracks||6|
|1998||"Miami"||Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks||73|