Will Smith recently opened up about his classic 1991 single “Summertime,” revealing that he drew inspiration from rap legend Rakim‘s distinctive flow. This admission, made during the GRAMMY Salute To 50 Years Of Hip-Hop event, provides closure to longstanding rumors surrounding the creation of “Summertime.”
During a backstage encounter with Rakim, Will Smith candidly admitted, “I was absolutely trying to sound like you on ‘Summertime.'” This revelation sheds light on the speculation that Rakim might have ghostwritten the track, a rumor that persisted for years.
Will explained that his decision to emulate Rakim’s monotone vocal style stemmed from a practical challenge. The night before the studio session, he had nearly lost his voice after hours of intense shouting. Unable to replicate his usual high-pitched tone, the producer suggested, “Yo, just gimme that Rakim sh*t.” This choice resulted in a distinct vocal style that left a lasting impact on the song.