"I'm at the beginning of this process," Will Smith told Zane Lowe on Beats 1 on Monday. "You know, shaking the rust off, knocking the dust off." The topic's his rap career, which touched the road again only a few days ago with the Fresh Prince's first verse in 10 years, on a remix of Bomba Estéreo's "Fiesta."
And it's serious. Smith's "pretty sure" he's going on tour next summer—his first time ever—and he's recorded more than 30 songs, "six or seven that I really, really like, that I'm trying to get the ideas to come out right." He's in the studio on a nearly daily basis, looking for collaborators and planning to bring DJ Jazzy Jeff on the (probably happening) summer 2016 tour.
Smith's currently working on figuring out how to merge with rap's modern experimentalism and freeform opportunities. "I’m from the era of 16 bars, hook, 16 bars, hook, bridge, hook, out,” he laughed.
“I'm definitely interested in pushing the envelope of spittin'—how far can you go?" he explained of his first work since 2005's Lost and Found. "I'mma keep giving it a shot up until I'm 70 or 80 years old." He's the first to admit it's not even close to pure confidence, saying, "I'm just trying to still find that voice; I have sooo many things that I wanna say. I’m struggling with saying 'em in a way that fit the flavor of music that I tend to like." But he's working it out:
"Whatever I am is okay. Whatever comes out is fine. I don't have to judge it, I don't have to bend it and adjust it. It's like, all I have to do is be authentic. All I have to do is be me and live in a space where I'm inspired, and I have to trust that my inspiration will translate and hopefully inspire others."
After rapping the opening of his "Fiesta" verse early in the interview, Smith revealed he felt terrified to return to music:
"When you've had a certain amount of success, it seems like it should breed confidence. But it actually doesn't. It's the craziest thing, it's like when you win a lot and you lose the ability to lose, you're not allowed to lose anymore. You actually lose the ability to create, the reckless abandon. And it's something I'm getting back from watching my kids—they really don't care. That kinda reckless abandon and that lack of fear and not trying to protect anything and not trying to live up to a legacy or anything like that gives you freedom. ... Fear is the killer of creativity, man."
Also: Bad Boys 3. Happening. Smith's involved. And there's "a very, very, very strong possibility that you will be seeing a Bad Boys within the next 12 to 16 months." MIC DROP; HOOK, BRIDGE, HOOK, OUT.