Sure, there were plenty of rap songs that probably deserved a Best Rap Solo Performance award at the 1997 Grammy's over "Gettin Jiggy With It," but not that many. And who could resist Will Smith spitting commercial-peak Nas bars over a Sister Sledge loop? Big Willy Style indeed. The following year, though? Come on, son. Nothing about "Men in Black" was cool. It did flip a dope Patrice Rushen track, but switching up the hook from "Send me forget-me-nots / to help me to remember" to "Here come the Men in Black / Galaxy defenders" is beyond corny. Movie tie-in raps, with lyrics about your action film character, aren't cool. Neither is rapping as a character who is also being sold as toys at a fast food chain. But surely, you think, the crass commercialization of hip-hop is as American as apple pie; perhaps this was just a weak year for hip-hop. Without even going beyond the list of nominees for 1998: "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See"? "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)"? "Hypnotize"?
Will Smith wins Best Rap Solo Performance for "Men In Black"