The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is a classic ’90s sitcom starring the incredible Will Smith, and which is ultimately known as the launch of his career. With 6 seasons (148 episodes), this popular show ran from 1990-1996, but it’s still making waves with newer generations through Netflix and other streaming services.
Although this was quite literally two decades ago, almost everyone knows the infamous lyrics and can’t help but rap along to the theme song, “Yo Home to Bel-Air!” But do you know all the crazy facts behind the production and writing of the famous theme? Here are 10 facts about the theme song and intro. We’d like to take a minute, so just sit right there!
The Theme Song Was Written By Will Smith & DJ Jazzy Jeff
These two, who literally play Will and Jazz in the show, were actually a hip-hop duo in the 1980s before the show was even created. They even won a Grammy in 1989 for Best Rap Performance! Their most successful single was “Summertime,” which reached #4 on Billboard Top Hits, earning the group their second Grammy.
These two rap geniuses created the lyrics for the theme because why wouldn’t they? Will Smith really was the man behind this show, but that creepy character that Uncle Phil is always throwing out of the house? Yeah, he was, too.
The Entire Song Took 3 Weeks of Production
Apparently, it only took 15 minutes to record and produce the theme song! Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith were definitely not new to show business or music, and apparently, they already had quite the concept for the song and knew what they wanted the final product to look like.
These two had FIVE albums out by the time this show was in production, so it’s safe to say they knew what they were doing. Less is more according to these two, and we really can’t argue with that. The infamous song seems like it turned out all right!
The Song Remained On The Charts For 10 Weeks
This song was absolutely huge in the Netherlands, and in 1992, it spent 10 weeks on the Top 40 Singles Chart, peaking at number 3. That’s pretty popular!
Rolling Stone even ranked the song 6th out of the 10 best television theme songs, and Digital Spy ranked the song number 3 on their own list of theme songs. There’s a lot of sitcoms out there, and that’s definitely no small feat.
The Song Caused A School Lockdown In Pennsylvania
In 2013, when a receptionist at a Pennsylvania high school called a student, the voicemail apparently contained a clip of the student singing the Bel-Air theme song. However, clearly not a showman, the woman thought she heard “shooting some people outside of the school” and notified the authorities.
The student was subsequently arrested, but they were later released after the issue was resolved. Who knew loving a TV show could cause such a riot? Oh, and it’s shooting b-ball!
Alfonso Ribiero, Will Smith, Jazzy Jeff, & Jaden Smith Performed It On The Graham Norton Show
In 2013, which is quite a ways since the show’s ending (which occurred in 1996), this foursome took on performing the hit theme song on a famous British talk show, The Graham Norton Show.
Even Will’s son, Jaden Smith, joined in with his dad. The foursome then dove into dancing the Carlton. We were certainly not disappointed!
The Banks’ House In The Intro Isn’t In Bel-Air
As is the case for most television shows, the location of the show wasn’t actually the location it was filmed in. The famous, huge white house that appears in the theme’s opening sequence isn’t in Bel-Air but is actually in Brentwood.
That isn’t super far from Bel-Air, all things considered, but hey, we all thought we knew what rich Bel-Air houses looked like. Clearly, we don’t know all that much.
There’s A Longer, Full Version Of The Song
We all know every lyric (and there’s 344!) to this popular theme song, but do you know all the lyrics to the ENTIRE extended version? There’s a full version floating around out there that is 3 minutes long.
Quincy Jones is actually behind the music composition for the theme’s intro, but it was officially released by Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff (also known as Will Smith and, well, Jazz). Go have a listen for some more (and classic old-school) Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff brilliance.
The Song Has Been Covered By Dozens Of Celebs
This popular song has become a breeding ground for spoofs and covers, from hilarious parodies to serious and genuinely masterful covers. Ed Sheeran performed it in 2017 on Capital FM, Jimmy Fallon performed a shot-for-shot spoof remake in 2015, and the Lonely Island performed the song at the 2016 MTV Awards.
Other covers and spoof include Logic, Alessia Cara, and One Direction! Again, this show ended in 1996. Twenty years is quite a while later to be making spoofs, no? Still, we’re not exactly complaining. It’s catchy.
Quincy Jones Is Not The Cab Driver
There has been pretty serious debate over the identity of the cab driver in the intro, and lots of fans have been adamant that it is none other than executive producer and famous record producer, Quincy Jones.
Unfortunately, this theory has been debunked by Quincy’s daughter (Rashida Jones) and Jada Pinkett Smith. We’re not sure who that cabby is, but we’re guessing it’s probably just an extra who was hired for the show. Huh.
The CD Soundtrack Is Only Available In The Netherlands
Yeah, you read that right. The CD soundtrack for the show was only released in the Netherlands (where, we remind you, it topped the charts for 10 weeks), and you can buy the extended version of the theme song on a CD.
There’s no other way to purchase a physical copy of this tune except for hopping on a plane, apparently. However, you can grab this hit off Spotify and other streaming services to get your fill. But, let’s be honest, we know you already have it.