There was a brief, blissful period of time in this country when a new Will Smith blockbuster meant something: Specifically, that the end-credits would feature Smith rapping about the movie you just watched. Those days are long behind us, my friends. Even though it would seem obvious to have Smith’s Genie rap in Disney’s new live-action Aladdin, that’s not happening. But the actor formerly known as the Fresh Prince gave us a little taste of what we’re missing when he stopped by The Tonight Show and rapped a verse from “Friend Like Me” for Jimmy Fallon. According to Smith, his immediate reaction when offered the role of Genie was “Hell no!” because honestly, no one can replace Robin Williams. Smith was convinced to take the part when he realized how cool “Friend Like Me” sounded when he rapped the verses—apparently Disney didn’t agree, but the studio went off and made a live-action Aladdin with Will Smith as a terrifying blue CGI Genie-monster, so it’s not like Disney has the best judgment to begin with.
I have a theory that Will Smith movies stopped being as good when he stopped making movie-themed rap songs—an element that instantly makes any movie, no matter how stupid, a tiny bit more enjoyable. If Suicide Squad had Smith performing a rap over the end-credits, we could forgive at least one or two of its sins (like, say, the Joker’s forehead tattoo). Your move, Ang Lee’s Gemini Man.