Will Smith’s greatest hits aren’t limited to music. The former Fresh Prince has found success as both a rapper and actor, and when looking at his career highlights, one must take into account record sales and box office receipts. Musically, the Philadelphia native got his start as part of the hip-hop group DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince. The duo scored numerous hits, including “Parents Just Don’t Understand” and “Nightmare On My Street,” which reached no. 12 and 15, respectively, in 1988. “Parents” also has the distinction of earning the pair the first-ever Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance. In 1991, they nabbed their biggest hit, “Summertime,” an infectious ode to basketball and barbecues that climbed to no. 4 on the Hot 100. “Ring My Bell” and “Boom! Shake the Room” followed, reaching no. 20 and 13.
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As a solo artist, Will Smith went on to amass his own catalog of hits, including the chart toppers “Men In Black” (1997), “Getting’ Jiggy Wit It” (1998), and “Wild Wild West” (1999). Smith’s Greatest Hits album, released in 2002, contains all of the aforementioned songs, as well as “Miami,” “Freakin’ It,” “Will 2K,” and Just the Two Of Us.” In terms of albums, 1997’s Big Willie Style reached no. 8 and has gone platinum nine times, while the follow-up, 1999’s Willennium, hit no. 5. Smith’s subsequent releases, Born to Reign and Lost and Found, have not sold as well, although the latter hit no. 6 in 2005.
As an actor, Smith made his name on TV’s The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and then embarked on a massive movie career. His filmography includes Made in America, Six Degrees of Separation, Bad Boys, Independence Day, Men In Black, Enemy of the State, Wild Wild West, Ali, Men In Black II, Bad Boys II, I, Robot, Hitch, I Am Legend, Hancock, and Men In Black III.
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Fourteen of his films have grossed more than $100 million worldwide, and as of 2011, his films had earned more than $5.7 billion in total. He’s said to be the only actor in history to have eight consecutive movies gross more than $100 million in the United States, and he’s been nominated for two Academy Awards, as well as four Golden Globes. Smith is a true renaissance man, and even rumors regarding his sexuality and involvement with Scientology have failed to sully his good name. Men In Black III opened at no. 1, and even if he doesn’t star in any additional sequels, it seems likely he’ll continue adding to his catalog of cinematic—if not musical—hits.
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