Thursday, April 6, 2023

"I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson" by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince

Song#:  4094
Date:  11/04/1989
Debut:  92
Peak:  58
Weeks:  9
Genre:  Rap, Novelty

Pop Bits:  The duo's second album He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper, would prove to be their most successful getting to #4 Pop/#5 R&B and going triple platinum. It got there thanks mainly to the #12 Pop/#10 R&B Grammy-winning gold single "Parents Just Don't Understand." The pair then had the daunting task of following up that major success. Near the end of '89 they were ready to release their third album And in This Corner... This first single would be issued out and it didn't quite connect with listeners. It would stall short of the Pop Top 50 while only getting to #23 R&B. A second single, "The Groove," would scrape the R&B chart at #70. With those results, the LP couldn't get close to replicating the success of their previous effort. The album would get to #39 Pop/#19 R&B and only reach gold level sales.

ReduxReview:  With Tyson mania pretty much at its peak before the 90s brought on trouble for the fighter, it seems the duo chose to capitalize on Tyson's popularity with this novelty track. I guess my only question was...why? Their goofy schtick was already beginning to wear thin so why did they want to amp it up with this dopey track? With edgier rap artists gaining popularity, I would have thought the duo would try to do something a bit more thoughtful while still trying to keep their commercial edge. Instead, they basically devolved into a comedy act. Frankly, it was kind of sad. They were young and cocky and were gonna do what they wanted to do, but they ended up losing a chunk of their audience. They would grow up a bit for their '91 album Homebase and it resulted in their biggest Pop chart hit, the #4 "Summertime." Until then, we were stuck with schlock like this awful novelty.

ReduxRating:  1/10

Trivia:  Some young stars who quickly earn a lot of money and don't know how to manage it often find themselves in a financial trap. Will Smith was one of those stars. With money rolling in from record sales and appearances, Smith started spending left and right as if it was going to last forever. It caught up with him in '89. It seems even prior to the duo's third album coming out, Smith had basically squandered his earnings. Then to top it off, he neglected to pay taxes. Of course the IRS came calling and Smith was left with a $2.8 million bill. Possessions would be sold off and wages garnished to pay the debt. As the '90 rolled around, Smith was in deep financial trouble. Luckily for him, a lifeline came his way. NBC approached him to star in a TV sitcom that would be based around his Fresh Prince persona. Smith gave it a go and in the fall of '90 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air debuted. It became a hit and boosted Smith's star and pocketbook. It righted the ship for Smith and also set him up for his acting career.


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