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Rewinding the Charts: In 1998, Will Smith Got ‘Jiggy’ & Hit No. 1 on the Hot 100

After a run as TV's Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and a string of hit movies, the actor-rapper topped the Hot 100 for the first time.

Will Smith had already conquered TV and film when, at the age of 29, he scored his first No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100, “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It,” in 1998.

The single, which borrowed from Brooklyn hip-hop slang of the time — “jiggy” meaning cool, funky and sexually uninhibited — and sampled Sister Sledge’s “He’s the Greatest Dancer,” among other tracks, debuted at No. 3 and, two weeks later, ascended to No. 1 on March 14, 1998 (dethroning Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On”).


It was hardly Smith’s first time on the Billboard charts. In 1991, as half of DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, he reached No. 4 on the Hot 100 with “Summertime,” one of five top 40 hits that the pair landed between 1988 and 1993. That musical success overlapped with Smith’s hit sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which aired on NBC from 1990 to 1996.

By 1998, Smith had gone solo as a musical artist and starred in blockbuster movies such as Bad Boys, Independence Day and Men in Black. The title song to the lattermost film’s soundtrack landed him at No. 1 on the Radio Songs list for five weeks in 1997. He has since scored five more top 40 Hot 100 hits, including a second No. 1, “Wild Wild West” (featuring Dru Hill and Kool Moe Dee), in 1999.

Smith hasn’t released a studio album since 2005, but his children with his wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith — Jaden, 19, and Willow, 17 — now have their own musical careers. Willow has released two EPs and two LPs after her breakout single, “Whip My Hair,” hit No. 11 on the Hot 100 in 2010. Jaden rose to No. 8 on the chart in 2011 as the featured artist on Justin Bieber’s “Never Say Never,” and his debut LP, SYRE, hit No. 24 on the Billboard 200 in 2017. His second, ERYS, is due in 2018.

Their dad will appear as Genie in the live-action version of Disney’s animated musical film Aladdin in 2019.