It’s probably about time to boom, shake shake shake the room? Whatever that means. You can’t keep a fresh prince down.
I’ve read that while NWA released the incendiary ‘Fuck tha Police‘ the number one record in the US was ‘Parent’s just don’t understand‘ by the Fresh Prince (aka Will Smith, for anyone who is a few steps behind at this point) and DJ Jazzy Jeff.
It’s not my place to discuss the relative musical merits of these, but essentially we are talking about one group of people dealing with racial harrassment by the police, while another person protests his mother picking out a plaid shirt for him.
I think there’s different representations of the experience of being black in the late eighties. That’s all I’m saying.
Hold up. I just actually got to the end of the Fresh Prince song for the first time ever (for the record, it’s terrible). Turns out Fresh gets his own dose of police harrassment. While driving without a license being touched up by a twelve year old girl (age established by lyrics, not appearance, obviously). This is a girl he managed to convince that he wasn’t a lunatic on account of his name being Prince and him driving a porsche.
There’s a lot of worrying things going on there, most of all the fact that he’s mostly concerned about being grounded by his parents, as opposed to being put on the sex offenders register and put in prison.
Anyway, I’m guessing that you should probably stop complaining if that’s the sort of madcap prank you should be pulling.
And I always quite liked Carlton. Tom Jones used to walk my dad to school.
Fresh Prince of Bel Air is really a very odd cultural phenomenon. The place it occupies in my personal history is pretty unique. I’ll be honest, I never liked it much, but it was on straight after the Simpsons, and me and my friends were usually too stoned by that point in the evening to turn it off.
I can’t say that my teenage rebellion was quite up to the Fresh Prince’s standards, but this was what we did.
I remember one day, there was about fifteen of us cramped into the attic room, the illicit fog had overtaken everybody. Fresh Prince started up, with that iconic rap (is there anybody of a certain age who doesn’t know the lyrics to that theme song by heart).
Basically, everyone sang along, as always, but something about the fog meant that everyone was doing it under their breath. The sound of fifteen perfectly synchronised mumblings of even a banal rap like that is actually pretty cool.
This is probably one of those beautiful moments you just can’t explain to anyone outside of it.
So in answer to your question Will, I recommend you get some dope, invite some friends over, kick back and watch a few eps of Fresh Prince.
But if you get busted, your parents just won’t understand.
Illustration by Maria.