Will Smith Realized He Wanted to Be on Camera While Making the 'Parents Just Don't Understand' Music Video

The movie star and member of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince released his podcast Class of '88 on Friday

Will Smith can still recall the exact moment he knew he wanted to be an actor.

In Will Smith’s new podcast Class of ‘88 from Audible and Wondery, the movie star/rapper, 55, dives into hip-hop history, including his own days performing in the duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince before transitioning into acting. In the first episode of the podcast that was released on Friday, the Oscar winner opens up about when he realized early on in his music career that he had a knack for being in front of the camera.

Smith explains that he got the acting bug on the set of the music video for “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” the second single off their 1988 sophomore studio album He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper.

<p>David Corio/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty</p> The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff

David Corio/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff

Related: Will Smith Once Tried to Saw Off DJ Jazzy Jeff's Leg Cast with Butter Knives Before Recording Album

Although Smith was originally nervous about releasing the upbeat song as a single because he “desperately wanted to be respected as a rapper,” creating the campy visual in which he plays a moody teenager and theatrically raps the lyrics ended up being a formative experience.

“To help promote the song, Jive [Records] decided to make a video,” the King Richard star said on the podcast. “[Producer] Ann Carli brought in a director, Scott Kalvert, who had a cool visual style, and that ultimately became the Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince signature style — bright and colorful with the stylized set covered with graffiti. I rapped straight into camera while an actress playing my mom chased me around with a rolling pin.”

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He continued, “I think it was during the making of that video that I realized that I loved being on camera.”

Carli also reflected on his performance on the podcast. She said that when she and the director were watching the footage back, “We turn to each other and go, ‘Holy crap. This kid is a superstar. This kid, the Fresh Prince, he’s going to be a huge movie star. He’s going to be as big as Eddie Murphy.”

She added that she ended up telling the duo’s manager at the time, Russell Simmons, about the then rising artist’s on-camera appeal. Carli said, “Russell said to me, very famously, he goes, ‘He may be the next Malcolm-Jamal Warner, but he ain’t no Eddie Murphy.’”

<p>Al Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty</p> DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

Al Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

Related: Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith's Relationship Timeline

Several years later, Smith earned his own star vehicle, the beloved sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which ran from 1990 to 1996 and earned him two Golden Globe nominations for best actor in a comedy/musical series. Amid the show’s success, he also crossed over into film with starring roles in films like 1993’s Six Degrees of Separation and 1995’s Bad Boys.

Class of '88 debuted on Friday and features conversations between Smith and his peers in the late ’80s hip-hop world.

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He and his longtime collaborator DJ Jazzy Jeff, 58, (whose real name is Jeffrey Allen Townes) open up about their time as a hip-hop duo when the music industry was still discovering that rap could be profitable. In one anecdote, they recalled a time in 1987 when they were supposed to be recording and Smith tried to saw off the producer’s cast from broken leg that had healed.

Salt-N-Pepa, Queen Latifah, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Rakim and Chuck D also appear as guests on the podcast.

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