Release Date: Mar 29, 2005
Record label: Interscope
Will Smith :: Lost and FoundInterscope Records/Overbrook Ent.Author: Steve 'Flash' JuonWhen the first track on a new Will Smith album is produced by Jazzy Jeff, you're already off to a good start. The halcyon days of Will Smith's rap career were his days as one half of the duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince. Although a successful run in television and film as an actor spelled the end of the two being a full-time duo, they still collaborate on tracks here and there.
You can't help but respect Will Smith for continuing to make Will Smith albums -- street cred be damned -- and maintaining a semi-frequent release schedule, despite his more lucrative and demanding movie career. More than ever, despite all the hits he has racked up since the late '80s, it seems like Smith is an actor who happens to record every now and then, rather than a rapper who acts or even an actor/rapper. His previous album, 2002's Born to Reign, fell short of gold-level sales by some distance.
Lost and Found has been touted as the record which will reveal Will Smith's "tougher side", but who on earth is interested in Will Smith's tougher side? A likable yet limited MC, his decision to stray from his usual blend of impish party tunes and extended jingles for the latest summer blockbuster constitutes one of the most ill-advised career moves since MC Hammer went gangsta. Smith may be a fine actor but even he can't pull off the role of surly badass. Only listeners with an unquenchable appetite for superstar self-pity will enjoy Mr Niceguy, on which he chastises Eminem and our old friends "the haters": "Sometimes y'all mistake nice for soft.