Fat Joe really wanted to get Will Smith on stage at the 2023 BET Hip Hop Awards, but ultimately they just weren’t able to make it happen.
The Terror Squad rapper served as host of the annual show this year (for the second year in a row), as well as an executive producer. Taped last week in Atlanta, the show will air on Tuesday (October 10) on BET.
Ahead of its premiere, Joey spoke to PEOPLE about his [failed] attempts to book the Fresh Prince for a Hip Hop 50 tribute.
“You know who I didn’t successfully get was Will Smith,” he told the publication in a conversation published on Monday (October 9). “I was really trying to get Will Smith to come out and do ‘Summer Time’. He’s filming Bad Boys, but we tried. We try to pull off a miracle if we can. We try to pull a cloud out of the sky.”
Elsewhere, he spoke on what to expect from this year’s show and how it’s a major milestone for him. “It’s going to be sick,” he said. “Overall it’s a dream come true for me. It’s the second year I’m doing the Hip Hop awards, but I always think back to being in junior high and doing the talent shows and then Apollo Theater Amateur Night and it all leads to this. And so it’s an honor for me.”
He continued: “I’m competing with the women now. The guys aren’t bringing their A-game anymore. So I’m getting super fly. I get to change eight times [during the show]. I’m all about my fashion.”
Fat Joe and Will Smith go back some years, and the former called Will “a beautiful person” amid his infamous slapping incident with Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards.
“It’s sad because Will is such a beautiful person, but he’s taking a hit because we come such a long way, and we telling everybody to respect us,” the Bronx rap legend told TMZ a few weeks after the incident. “Had it been 50 Cent or Fat Joe, I would’ve understand, but Will Smith, he’s like the best we got. So it’s unfortunate that happened to him.”
He continued, “He been fighting so hard, he been working his whole, he been an expert example for us, and it’s unfortunate it happened to him. But people definitely looking at that saying we don’t know how to act for sure.”
It seems Will Smith has since bounced back from the controversy, however, and as Fat Joe mentioned, he’s currently working on the fourth installment of Bad Boys co-starring Martin Lawrence. As of press time, the film has a projected release date of June 14, 2024.
Deadline has reported that the three previously released films have grossed $891million to date, and the outlet is anticipating that the newest installment will have a similarly successful box office run.