Summer brings mosquitoes, disgusting humidity, and the realization that Winter Is Coming — but that's okay, because it also brings "Summertime." It's only actually legal to play Will Smith's classic track between the months of June and August, but it must be bumped as often as possible during these times. Even the song's creator has to get involved, as demonstrated on Stephen Colbert's Late Show this week, when Big Will remembered his court-ordered mandate and grabbed the mic to rap his 1991 smash hit during a commercial break.
Will, as he always does, gave the performance his all, but faced stiff competition from an aggressively awkward crowd. I mean seriously, pause the action at one minute and 18 seconds into the video performance and count the number of hands in chino pockets, the number of claps about to be made out of time, the volume of dads grimacing at their seat neighbors, their eyes screaming for sweet release.
The crowd is aggressively awkward
Luckily Will didn't buckle, even when the audience responded to his demand for them to "sing!" with the force of a 20-year-old hand dryer in a gas station bathroom. Instead, I'm sure he thought back to the Philadelphia playgrounds where he was born and raised, and performing his breakthrough rap hit alongside the Chewbacca to his Han Solo, DJ Jazzy Jeff. Jeff is replaced by a full band for this performance, and Will's summers are filled now with movie shoots, leaving him little time to chill, front, or max.
"Here it is, the groove, slightly transformed," Smith raps, and he's right. Transformed by age, by 25 summers now passed, by the inevitable changing of the seasons and the dying of the leaves. And then, before we even get to the second verse, Will has to get back to his responsibilities as a guest on Colbert's show. The Summertime is over. Nothing gold can stay.