Will Smith’s “Miami” — An Appreciation
In the simpler days of 1997, when MTV’s Total Request Live was enjoying its hottest heat, Will Smith came along with an unforgettable number called “Miami.” It incorporated many of his family-friendly rhymes, won a VMA Award for “Best Male Music Video,” and the video in question featured an early appearance from his future Hitch costar Eva Mendes. It still stands as Will’s finest work. So, since it’s Friday — and Prestige Imports knows a little something about the weekend — let’s pour out a little love for “Miami,” a song that will be stuck in your head until Monday. Namely, what makes it so exceptional in the first place?
1) The Whole Point of the Video is Escaping the Cold for our Sunny Shores.
At the start of the video, Will and some friends are eating at a diner in Philly. (If you don’t know where Will was “born and raised,” feel free to move along to our inventory.) It’s blustery and snowy outside, and Will and his friends — all draped in the finest late-’90s puffy jackets — realize that “Jack Frost done lost his mind.” A trip to Miami is in order.
2) After a Flight on a Private Jet, He Gets into — What Else — a Bentley.
We all know Will to be a man of exceptional taste. We also know he loves cars, as evidenced by his other tracks “Just Cruisin’” and “Pump Ya Brakes.” So, fresh off a jet that, let’s just say, doesn’t have a coach section, he knows what vehicle to drive. And it doesn’t hurt that his Bentley’s license plate says “WILLYSTYLE.” He must know someone at the DMV to get all of those letters on there. Did we mention that we sell Bentleys?
3) Then, We Meet Eva.
Eva, as you might be aware, is a Miami native. According to IMDB, her first acting credits came in 1998, appearing in an episode of ER and in the direct-to-video Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror. At least one year earlier, however, she welcomes Will to South Beach with an unforgettable “Bienvenido a Miami.” In the coming years, she teams up with Denzel Washington twice (Training Day and Out of Time), and by 2005, she’s in Hitch with Denzel’s pal Will. If you thought this video wasn’t influential, Eva Mendes would have a word with you, if she wasn’t so busy being fabulous.
4) After a Stroll on South Beach, a Boat Ride
Will strolls along the Art Deco hotels of Ocean Drive, enjoys about a dozen costume changes, and then decides a change of scenery is in order. Next we know, he’s racing to a conga party (listen closely, and Gloria Estefan makes an audio appearance). Following a nod to some other cities — As for LA and Philly, “They jiggy.” — and a Sly Stallone name-drop, he’s ready to call it a night…on the beach ‘til the break of dawn. Did we mention that we sell yachts at Prestige Imports as well?
So there you have it, ladies and gents: a quick appreciation for a song that’s twenty years old, but has aged better than most of us could ever hope to. Now, you can enjoy it in its entirety below, and we encourage you come see us at Prestige Imports, where our showroom will have you saying Ay, papi.