Gettin' Jiggy Wit It

Album: Big Willie Style (1997)
Charted: 3 1

Songfacts®:

  • "Jiggy" is a term meaning to be cool and trendy. It's often associated with a style of dress, and in the context of this song means dancing effectively and also making a name for yourself. It also became a term for sex.

    The song was produced by the team of Jean-Claude Olivier and Samuel Barnes, who were known as Poke & Tone. Poke came up with the title after the team put the track together. "I said we should call it 'Gettin' Jiggy Wit It' and I started doing this cute dance," he said. The title stuck, and when the song became a huge hit, "Jiggy" made the leap from street vernacular to the popular lexicon.
  • This samples the beat from "He's The Greatest Dancer" by Sister Sledge (1979), and the "na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na" hook from a song called "Sang and Dance" by the Bar-Kays (1970). It also incorporates some lyrical elements from the 1980 song "Love Rap" by Spoonie Gee and The Treacherous Three (the "to the east to the west... yes yes y'all" part).

    Thanks to the samples and interpolation, 12 different writers are credited as composers on "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It." Here's the breakdown:

    The seven guys who wrote "Sang and Dance," which was six members of the Bar-Kays (James Alexander, Ben Cauley, Larry Dodson, Willie Hall, Harvey Henderson and Winston Stewart) plus the Stax Records songwriter David Porter.

    Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, who wrote "He's The Greatest Dancer." They were founders of the group Chic; Rogers enjoyed a career resurgence in 2013 after he worked on the Daft Punk album Random Access Memories.

    Joe Robinson, who ran Sugarhill Records with his wife Sylvia. Robinson wrote "Love Rap" for Spoonie Gee, who was signed to the label.

    Samuel Barnes, who was half of the production team Poke & Tone, which produced this track.

    Will Smith, who wrote the lyrics.
  • The lyrics, "since I moved up like George and Weezie" are a reference to the TV show The Jefferson's and the show's theme song, "Movin' On Up." Will Smith certainly knew his sit-coms - he starred in one called The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air for six years.
  • Smith won the Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance for this song. The previous year, he won the same award for "Men In Black," which was his first song produced by Poke & Tone and his first release without DJ Jazzy Jeff.
  • According to some sources, this Pop-Rap track was co-written by the New York rapper Nas. His name is not listed on the official credits, although he is listed on two other Big Willie Style tracks: "Chasing Forever" and "Yes Yes Y'all."

    Nas clarified his small contribution during a 2014 Reddit AMA: "I hung out with Will in the studio," he explained. "And watched him write it. It was a fun studio session, and I said a line or two or three to him. It wasn't that serious. Will Smith wrote that song."
  • The music video, directed by veteran hip-hop director Hype Williams (Missy Elliott's "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)," R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly"), was shot throughout the Las Vegas Strip. It won the 1998 MTV Video Music Award for Best Rap Video.

Comments: 3

  • Harold from University Park, PaI like how Smith uses pig latin in one of the verses (Illway the anmay on the anceday oorflay)
  • Jeff from Austin, TxIn a "Seinfeld" episode, Jerry uses the phrase "I got Jiggy with it!" describing his amateur DJ abilities.
  • Bertrand from Paris, FranceWill Smith set out solo for the first time, and the results were very pleasing. His brand of clean, good-humored, party hip hop caught on instantly.
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