Will Smith Once Shared He Believed Eminem Was ‘Clearly a Farce’

As a hip-hop artist himself, Will Smith once had a lot to say about the state of the rap industry. The Oscar-winner spoke candidly about the content most rappers delivered through their music, referencing Eminem to illustrate his point.

Despite Eminem’s controversial records at the time, Smith had little issue with the Detroit emcee. This was mostly because Smith felt the rapper’s act was intentionally silly.

DJ Jazzy Jeff once recalled Will Smith’s reaction to Eminem when they met

Will Smith smiling while clean shaven and wearing a suit.
Will Smith | Matthias Nareyek/Getty Images

As some know, Will Smith was once hit with a slight jab from Eminem on the rapper’s hit record “The Real Slim Shady.” At the time, the diss was a response to Smith’s 1999 Grammy-winning speech. In his speech, Smith declared he didn’t have to curse in his raps to sell successful records, which rubbed Eminem the wrong way. But Smith actually once directly commented on Eminem’s music before to the “Stan” hitmaker’s face.

Smith’s longtime collaborator DJ Jazzy Jeff once spoke about a brief meeting between Eminem and the megastar. They briefly crossed paths in the late 90s, before Eminem’s meteoric rise to fame, and when Smith was just beginning to realize his box-office potential. Speaking to Montreality, Jeff revealed that Smith offered a brief critique of Eminem’s own musical potential.

“I was a big fan of Eminem, especially of his super early stuff. I just kinda reached out to him and we did some stuff together,” Jeff said. “Will Smith walked into the room, and I think I played ‘Just The Two Of Us.’ Will listened to it, and Will looked at Eminem and said, ‘You are either gonna be the biggest flop in hip-hop, or you are gonna be the biggest thing that we have ever seen in hip-hop. And Eminem never forgot that.”

Will Smith once believed Eminem and his music to be ‘clearly a farce’

Being a rap artist himself, Smith has also been a bit of a student of the game. There was a time when he kept his ear to hip-hop music and observed how the art has evolved. In a 2001 interview with Playboy, Smith spoke candidly about his opinion of rappers at the time. To him, the majority of hip-hop artists during this period weren’t too intelligent or educated.

“The bottom line is that a lot of people who have been blessed with this forum aren’t really smart,” he said. “I have educated myself beyond a lot of my peers in the rap world, and, more than anything, here’s my beef: I understand what you are saying, and what you feel, but the world is bigger than what you are rapping about.”

The Bad Boy star felt the content of rap was lacking and one-sided.

“You mean to tell me, all day long, all you do is smoke blunts, have sex and kill people? You never do anything else? You have never one time in your life really killed somebody, never been soft and acted spun-out over some girl?” he said.

He believed this content perpetuated negative black American stereotypes around the world. But in comparison, he didn’t have an issue with an artist like Eminem. To him, Eminem’s music was intentionally not to be taken seriously. Because of this, he believed Eminem’s work didn’t impact his community the way other rappers did.

“I have less of a problem with Eminem. He is really creative but so far over the top that it’s clearly a farce. Eminem isn’t trying to make people believe that’s really how he lives his life every day. Eminem is silly, having a good time, and he doesn’t affect my community,” he explained.

Will Smith has considered returning to hip hop for a Verzuz battle

It’s been a few years since Will Smith has returned to his hip-hop roots. On Sirius XM, the Grammy-winning artist was asked if he ever considered participating in a Verzuz battle. Not only had the Hitch actor considered it, he already knew who he’d do a Verzuz with.

“Yeah, you know I was thinking about that. Me and [LL Cool J], we’re talking about doing one,” Smith said. “But I never had a chance to—I was writing my book … L is going to body me.”

RELATED: Will Smith Earned Nearly As Much As Venus Williams’ Entire Career to Play Her Father