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One of Will Smith‘s most famous songs is “Gettin’ Jiggy wit It.” Smith sampled part of the song from a famous 1970s group. Subsequently, the producer of the 1970s hit revealed what he thought of the sample.

"Gettin' Jiggy wit It" rapper Will Smith wearing a red baseball cap
Will Smith | MATT CAMPBELL/AFP via Getty Images

Will Smith’s ‘Gettin’ Jiggy with It’ sampled a song that a record company didn’t believe in

Nile Rodgers is a music legend. He’s a singer, songwriter, and producer who worked with Madonna, David Bowie, Daft Punk, and numerous others. In the 1970s, he worked with Sister Sledge, the disco group behind “We Are Family” and “He’s the Greatest Dancer.” During a 2018 interview with Music Week, Rodgers discussed pushing for the success of “He’s the Greatest Dancer.”

“The tricky one was playing ‘We Are Family’ for the record company and saying, ‘That song is so good that no one will ever hear any other Sister Sledge song again. That’s all they are ever going to be — one-hit wonders,'” Rodgers recalled. “They said, ‘But it’s so good, you’ve got to put it out!’ I insisted, ‘No, ‘He’s the Greatest Dancer’ is a great song,’ and that song is how we broke Sister Sledge. It was a platinum single in America, so we were right.” “He’s the Greatest Dancer” would have a second life in the 1990s when Smith sampled it in “Gettin’ Jiggy wit It.”

What Nile Rodgers thought about Will Smith sampling his music

Rodgers was also a member of the funk band Chic. During a 2013 interview with The Herald, he was asked about Chic’s influence on music. Rodgers said Chic was influential if not exactly a “cornerstone.”

“As the decades progressed and people got into what I call the compound form of sampling, like Public Enemy, the interesting thing about Chic’s songs is that they basically became the backbone of a lot of records, like [Will Smith’s] ‘Gettin’ Jiggy wit It,’ or for a lot of Puffy’s records,” Rodgers said. “That makes me proud, that they keep our records relatively pure, and they just write a new song on top of that.” For the record, “Gettin’ Jiggy wit It” samples Sister Sledge but not Chic.


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How ‘He’s the Greatest Dancer’ and ‘Gettin’ Jiggy wit It’ performed on the chart in the United States

“He’s the Greatest Dancer” and “Gettin’ Jiggy wit It” were both hits; however, one song was far more popular than the other. “He’s the Greatest Dancer” reached No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 19 weeks. Sister Sledge released the song on the album We Are Family. The album peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, remaining on the chart for 33 weeks.

On the other hand, “Gettin’ Jiggy wit It” became far more prominent in the United States. For three weeks, the track topped the Billboard Hot 100. It stayed on the chart for 32 weeks. Smith included “Gettin’ Jiggy wit It” on his album Big Willie Style. The album reached No. 8 on the Billboard 200 and lasted 99 weeks on the chart.

“Gettin’ Jiggy wit It” is a classic pop-rap song — and it wouldn’t be the same without Sister Sledge.