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Volume 70, Issue 132, Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Life & Arts

Smith reveals true self with help from others

By Zach Lee
The Daily Cougar

At first listen, it seems that all it takes is a cameo by Ludacris to prove just how big Will Smith still is with his newest effort, Lost and Found. Luda (credited in the liner notes only as C. Bridges) blasts through the speakers on "Party Starter" louder than Big Will himself. Heis not credited as providing the extra vocals on the track either, but if itis not his voice on the chorus, someone should be arrested for identity theft of one of the Southis biggest rappers. 

Somehow Will Smith (not necessarily one of the most influential rappers alive today) managed to get Ludacris to appear and not ask for credit, but that could mean one of three things. It could mean Ludacris has an exceptional amount of respect for the Fresh Prince; it could mean thereis some kind of shady gangster-like network of debts in the recording industry, and Big Will had something to do with Ludacrisi big break; or it could mean Ludacris was ashamed to put Lost and Found on his résumé. He must have a reason.

Lost and Found is a breath of fresh air for those inundated with the fake gangsterism of todayis radio rappers. Smith isnit afraid to let down his guard and be himself. Oh, wait. He had help writing every single song on the album. In fact, he had several co-writers for the vast majority of the songs on Lost and Found. Nevermind the Fresh Prince -- it looks like he canit even be Will Smith without a team of writers. 

That team does put out an interesting product, though. "Mr. Niceguy" is a nice jab back at some of the people that faulted Smith, but it does get a little trite. "Tell Me Why" is just a little late after Jadakiss put out "Why" and the songis remix, both of which had substantial radio play in 2004. Smith also breaks his cuss-word abstinence on the track, but a nice high-pitched sound bleeps it out. That way Smith gets to pretend heis really mad but avoid the parental advisory sticker. 

In all honesty, it is refreshing to listen to Smith rap in pretty much the same persona heis had since "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" first aired in 1990, but it is a little frustrating to realize that it is just a persona. At least 50 Cent does what most geeks in high school do by playing Dungeons & Dragons -- he acts tough. It seems like Smith would rather act harmless, though. Ludacris was doing charity work.

Will Smith

Lost and Found

Interscope Records

Verdict: Itis cute, it really is.

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