Will Smith Once Called the Music Industry ‘Gangster-Infested’ After Eminem Dissed Him

As many know, Will Smith once upset Eminem with comments he made regarding profanity in music. This resulted in the rapper throwing a slight diss Smith’s way.

Smith responded to Eminem’s diss by commenting on what he thought about the music industry as a whole at that time.

Will Smith didn’t curse in his records because of his grandmother

Will Smith at the premiere of 'Aladdin'
Will Smith | Isa Foltin/WireImage

Smith has led a successful career in the rap industry in addition to his accomplishments as an actor. One of the more distinguishing features of his hip-hop songs at the time was how little Smith would use profanity in them.

His lack of curse words in his songs was primarily inspired by his grandmother. His grandmother once wrote the Bad Boys star a note that stuck to the artist for a long time.

“I was 12 years old and I started rapping,” Smith said in an interview on Late Night with Seth Meyers (via Billboard). “So I had my rap book and I was writin’ my stuff and I had all my little curse words in my rap book. And my grandmother found my rap book. She never said nothin’, turned to the back page and she said, ‘Dear Willard, truly intelligent people do not have to use words like this to express themselves. Please show the world that you’re as smart as we think you are. Love, GG.’ And I read that and I was like, ‘F***!’”

Will Smith once called the music industry the most disgusting, gangster-infested business in the world after Eminem’s comments

Although the two may be on good terms now, as many know Eminem didn’t take too kindly to Smith’s stance on profanity in music. The Detroit hip-hop artist threw a quick diss Smith’s way on his hit record “The Real Slim Shady”, which caught massive attention. Smith was well aware of Eminem’s comments at the time. But he felt Eminem’s attack was indicative of how the music industry was in general.

“The music business is the most horrible, disgusting, gangster-infested business in the world, next to probably boxing,” Smith once said according to the Oklahoman. “There are so many things that are so much more important.”

Smith went into further detail about his point when mentioning music’s potential influence on its listeners. To the Oscar-winner, he felt children were listening to a genre that glorified a lifestyle that was mostly made up. Smith wanted to show impressionable youths that there was a different path to success.

“There’s not a hard-core rapper or a gangster rapper that makes more money than me,” Smith said. “If they’re telling kids that this is the way to make money, then I’m saying that if you want to make a little money, that’s the way, but if you really want to get paid, then I’m showing you the real road.”

As far as Eminem’s comments were concerned, Smith shared that he held no animosity towards the emcee. Instead, Smith commented the rapper on his ability, while at the same time pointing to his own longevity in the music business.

“I’d rather wait five years and let’s see who’s still here, and then we’ll talk about it. We’ll discuss it then if it’s still an issue,” Smith said about Eminem’s remarks. “I don’t have any ill feelings. I think he’s creative – there’s room for everybody. What I try to provide is an option.”

Will Smith hated being labeled soft for his music

Smith was well aware that his stance on music gave him an unwelcome reputation by some in the rap industry. When he first came out with DJ Jazzy Jeff, Smith agreed that their music had a lighthearted and humorous quality to it. Which made the two stand out.

“That was really our major distinguishing quality at the time. It was comedy, it was punchlines, it was fun. We stood out in a really good way. We sort of had our own lane,” he once said in an interview on My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman on Netflix.

But with the rise of more hardcore and violent rap music, Smith began to be seen a certain way. Letterman inquired if there was pressure to leave the industry because of how dominant more hardcore music was becoming.

“Not pressure as much as it was always that I was soft,” Smith said. “I hated that, being called soft.”

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