Watch: Surprising facts about ‘Summertime’ and ‘Before I Let Go’

TheGrio found surprising facts about two songs known as our “summer anthems” for cookouts, pool gatherings, and all-white parties.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK--OCTOBER 18: Rap duo DJ Jazzy Jeff (aka Jeff Townes) And The Fresh Prince (aka Will Smith) appear in a portrait taken on October 18, 1989 in New York City. (Photo by Al Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

June is Black Music Month and to celebrate, theGrio came up with several Top 12 lists to fit the theme of summer. Did you know that DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince sampled Kool & the Gang on “Summertime” or that “Before I Let Go” is a breakup song? Here are 12 surprising facts divided between two of the most iconic summer songs known to date.

We’ll start with DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s iconic summer anthem, “Summertime.”

“Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

Striking a pose in New York in October 1989 are (from left) Will Smith (the Fresh Prince) and Jeff Townes (DJ Jazzy Jeff). Their hit “Summertime” sampled Kool & the Gang. (Photo by Al Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

1. The song was inspired by a trip to Chicago where Will Smith, then known as the Fresh Prince, met record executive Wayne Williams.

2. Smith wrote the song in one sitting after a flight delay. He recorded it in a lower tone than usual, similar to rapper Rakim.

3. “Summertime” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won the Grammy for best rap performance by a duo or group at the 1992 ceremony.

4. The song’s music video premiered during an episode of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” in July 1991.

(Credit: DJ Jazzy Jeff YouTube)

5. The song is symbolic of warmer weather, cookouts, the changing of the seasons, and the first days at the pool.

6. DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince’s “Summertime” is a sample of Kool & the Gang’s “Summer Madness.”

“Before I Let Go” by Frankie Beverly & Maze

With Frankie Beverly on vocals, he and his group Maze perform in June 1998 during the Budweiser SuperFest at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Photo by Bob Riha Jr./Getty Images)

Next up is a song you can’t escape at any function, cookout, or all-white party: ”Before I Let Go” by Frankie Beverly & the Butlers and Maze.

1. The song is about a love lost and was written by Frankie Beverly about a woman he was dating and another he had just broken up with.

2. The song appears on the 1981 album “Live in New Orleans” on the B side.

3. The song reached No. 13 on the Billboard R&B chart in 1981.

4. The song has been the foundation for musical excellence for generations of listeners.

5. The song is considered a Black anthem and the song of every summer.

6. Beyoncé released a cover of the song in 2019, which features New Orleans bounce music and the horns from “Candy.”

(Credit: Beyoncé YouTube)

Which fact surprised you the most? Take a listen and head on over to our Instagram page and let us know what you think.