Will Smith's Rap Version of 'Friend Like Me' Has Us Pretty Hyped For Aladdin


You won’t ever have a friend like Robin Williams. That’s just a hard truth. But if anyone is able to potentially step in those shoes (or whatever Genie’s wear) for the live-action remake of Aladdin, it’s Will Smith. On the Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon on Monday, Smith previewed a bit of his rap version of "Friend Like Me" with a little help from Questlove and the Roots.

As Smith told Fallon, he originally was hesitant to take on the role that Williams immortalized in the animated Disney classic.

“Hell no," Smith said his initial response was. "It’s like... Robin Williams smashed that role. When you look at things like that, you try to find what would you do differently? What would you add to that?”

For Smith, one thing he can add to this new version is a little bit of a hip-hop twist. So, he added the drumbeat of the Honeydrippers' classic "Impeach the President" for his rap version of "Friend Like Me." And, at least the first few bars he rapped for Fallon, are pretty damn great.

According to Smith’a interview, Aladdin sounds like it’s going to be the grandest-scaled live-action remake to date. While original footage showed Smith as a somewhat terrifying blue genie, new footage suggests that form will only last for so long until he takes a more human form. As for that rap? There are some major Fresh Prince vibes going on, so expect a fully Will Smith twist on the role.


After the relative failure of Dumbo, Disney needs a big win with either its Aladdin or Lion King remake. Aladdin premieres May 24, while Lion King comes out a bit later in August. While the latter may have the most stacked cast, Aladdin seems to have hit that sweet spot of good nostalgia, thoughtful updates, and of course a solid rap-remix of a classic. Let’s fast forward three weeks and set that genie free.

This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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Justin Kirkland
Justin Kirkland is a writer for Esquire, where he focuses on entertainment, television, and pop culture. Prior to Esquire, his work appeared in Entertainment Weekly, Hollywood Reporter, and USA Today. He is from East Tennessee and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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