Rap megastar and greatest actor of our generation* Will Smith has released his first song in 10 years. Only it's not technically Big Will's song. The track, "Fiesta," is actually the work of Colombian group Bomba Estéreo, but Smith apparently liked it so much that he came out of rap semi-retirement to contribute a few bars to a remixed version. The new track, available now on iTunes, Spotify, and on YouTube, features Smith rapping in English and American-accented Spanish, and keeps the same celebratory vibes as his biggest tracks.
The song is not to be confused with 1999's "La Fiesta"
Smith's songs have always been fairly eclectic, but "Fiesta" (not to be confused with 1999's "La Fiesta") boasts a particularly complex combination of styles, jamming Smith's party rap together with Latin funk, Spanish guitar, and weird little bursts of twinkly math-rock. The song starts with an intricate Spanish guitar lick, before adding a rolling background snare beat that sounds strangely like it's building up to a classic hardcore breakdown. The effect wouldn't sound out of place on a Saetia record, but instead of shifting the song towards a burst of powerviolence, the guitar is replaced by a Major Lazer-ish sample.
Outside of his trademark "woo!" yelps, Big Will makes his first proper appearance in the first verse, asking a nearby "mamacita" to go get him a "beer-a," branding the Bomba Estéreo song a "heater" and picturing himself on the dance floor with Sofia Vergara. The reference is a calculated nod to the Colombian audience but Will Gates (remember he asked us to call him that sometimes?) also goes after the tech crowd, rapping "no gas for me, I'm a Tesla!"
"No gas for me, I'm a Tesla!"
"You know me," Smith breathlessly continues, describing himself as "OG, high class and low key." We do know you, Will, but there's a change in this new track. Smith famously refused to swear in his songs, after his grandmother found his early rap book aged 12, and advised him to avoid the bad words. He explained the decision in Willennium album opener "I'm Comin'" — "an angel, my grandma, told me before she died, smart folks don't need to put no cursing in they rhymes." But Smith's apparently now, at 47, old enough to drop a few curse words into the mix — he appears to describe "Fiesta" as "hot shit."
Perhaps, as he reaches his 50s, this is a sign of Will shading toward the kind of gangsta rap he so vocally eschewed in his younger years? Maybe his path is the inverse to someone like Ice Cube — as Cube stars in family-friendly films and becomes an Apple company man, Smith might start dropping his hardest rhymes, calling out the toughest names in the scene in scrappy diss tracks and mixtapes. We can only hope.