Let Us Remember “Men in Black,” Will Smith's 1997 Classic Theme Song

On June 16, 1997—two weeks before Men in Black hit theaters—Columbia Records dropped Will Smith’s first solo single, which doubled as the theme song for his new movie.

And since you didn’t ask, I was at NYU when “Men in Black” dropped, and firmly ensconced in the NYC rap bubble that immediately dismissed Will Smith’s “hippity-hop”-ass rhyme schemes as hopelessly wack and corny.

And I’d really like to have been a fly on the wall for the eureka moment when Will and his music team discovered that “Here come the Men in Black / Galaxy defenders” fit so perfectly over “Forget Me Nots.” They created a damn earworm.

While we’re referencing other songs here, may I remind you [ adjusts hip-hop nerd spectacles ] that three months prior to the release of “Men in Black,” the legendary Beatnuts dropped a B-side that flipped the identical Patrice Rushen sample.

Of the unfortunate coincidence, Psycho Les later said : “Because Sony owned the rights to Will Smith’s music and ours, when the ‘Men in Black’ thing came out they stopped promoting our record and put their resources into pushing his.

Peters: What we will NOT do today is disparage the good cultural standing of “London Bridge,” nor will we pretend that “WTF,” despite the goofy Pharrell verse, did not—for a few weeks in 2015, if only then—slap.

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