Bel-Air Secretly Uses The Fresh Prince Song (But You Might’ve Missed It)

Warning! Minor spoilers ahead for Bel-Air episode 1.

Peacock’s Bel-Air no longer uses The Fresh Prince’s theme song for its intro, but the reboot did secretly include it in the first episode. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s theme song remains one of the most iconic TV themes of all time, partially due to its narrative explaining the entire set-up of the series, but mostly due to the catchiness of Will Smith’s tune. The song “Yo Home to Bel-Air” was composed and produced by DJ Jazzy Jeff, who played Jazz on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and the real-life Will Smith under his stage name The Fresh Prince, and grew to become as famous – if not more so – as the series itself.

While the reason for Bel-Air not using The Fresh Prince song makes sense due to the original theme’s goofiness contrasting the serious tone of the reboot, Bel-Air also lacks a theme of such stature. Bel-Air’s theme is “Deja Vu (feat. TYuS)” by Easy McCoy, which only plays a few bars over the title card before moving back into the plot. The new theme for Bel-Air aligns with its modern, more serious tone and frequent use of contemporary rap and hip-hop, but it’s still disappointing for Fresh Prince fans to no longer hear Smith’s old song.

The Fresh Prince theme song doesn’t play over Bel-Air’s opening credits, but the series does make a reference to the iconic theme. When Will first arrives at the Banks’ mansion, he greets Bel-Air‘s Aunt Viv warmly before she asks what exactly happened in the fight that sent him to California. When answering, Will nonchalantly plays off the situation and says, “I got in one little fight… and my mom got scared…” As Fresh Prince viewers recall, “I got in one little fight and my mom got scared/She said, ‘You’re movin’ with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air’” is one of the most memorable lines in the original theme song.

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Since only one line of the original Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song is used, the reference is apt to go missed by many viewers, particularly those who don’t know the lyrics without the song playing. While the actual song isn’t used in Bel-Air, the serious reboot does something even more interesting in its first episode to connect back by playing out the events of the song for the entire first episode. The original Fresh Prince didn’t show Will’s fight, basketball game, life in Philly, or his move from Philadelphia to Bel-Air, as it was all done in a cartoonish style during the theme song. Rather than use the theme song to lay the groundwork for Bel-Air’s plot in every episode, the reboot recreates the song’s lyrics in an extremely dramatized manner for its premiere.

Bel-Air’s reboot may have missed a golden opportunity to repeat the legacy of Fresh Prince’s theme in a modern cover, especially since multiple generations can still spout out the catchy lyrics today. By not using Will Smith’s Fresh Prince song, Bel-Air is instantly differentiating itself from the original. However, the series still makes indirect references to the original series, as demonstrated by the secret lyrical inclusion in episode 1 and a hidden tribute to the original Uncle Phil by opening with J. Cole’s 2015 song “No Role Modelz,” which begins with the line “first things first rest in peace Uncle Phil.” The music of Bel-Air is extremely important to its modernization, and the series has already made a few nods to the cultural significance of The Fresh Prince through its musical choices and script – even if that doesn’t mean actually using the original song.

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New episodes of Bel-Air stream Thursdays on Peacock.

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