When the Aladdin trailer was released back in March featuring Will Smith as the CGI Genie, it gave us the first taste of Will Smith rapping “Friend Like Me,” the Genie’s new version, originally performed by Robin Williams.
Earlier this month, he stopped by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where he treated fans to a taste of his “Geniestyle.” The soundtrack to the Aladdin is now out on all streaming services and it of course features Will Smith’s version of the iconic song. There’s a Will Smith only version and there’s another rap version titled ‘Friend Like Me (End Title)’ which features DJ Khaled. Listen to both tunes below.
“I went into the studio the first day and I really wanted to play with it to see if I could add something to it,” Smith said in the press release. “Literally 30 minutes in the studio, and started to play with the song [and] the 94/96 BPM range. That BPM range is right old school hip hop. So I grabbed The Honey Drippers ‘Impeach Your President’ and I had them throw that breakbeat under there. I messed around with that. And I messed around with Erik B. & Rakim’s ‘I Know You Got Soul’ under ‘Friend Like Me.’ And I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m home!’ I started playing with the hip hop flavor, and the Genie was really born in my mind from the music.”
Aladdin opens in theaters on May 24.