Thursday, September 30, 2010 9:42pm ET by  
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Willow Smith is a hit, aged 9!

With almost 4 million hits on YouTube, Willow Smith’s ‘Whip My Hair’ is clearly a hit. With Rihanna as obvious inspiration, the track and artist fooled Jay-Z (who has since signed Will Smith’s youngest child to his label Roc Nation) when he heard it for the first time. “I heard the record first before I knew it was recorded by a nine-year-old and I said, ‘Man, that record is a smash!’ Then I met Willow and I knew right then she was a star.’

It has been Willow’s older brother Jaden who has been garnering most of the Junior Smith Family buzz of late. He made a stunning acting debut alongside his father in 2006 weepie ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ and most recently starred as the title character in the hit remake of ‘The Karate Kid’. He is also a hit rapper already thanks to ‘Never Say Never’, a collaboration with Justin Bieber from the ‘Karate Kid ‘soundtrack.

Willow was already generating buzz for her fashion-forward look and hair (she favours an asymmetric bob and, in the front of row at Milan Fashion Week this week, sported a mohawk). Now that buzz is off the charts. Yet no one in the pop pantheon is surprised that the apple didn’t fall far from Will Smith’s tree. What they are surprised about is Willow’s refreshing lack of attitude and mature poise.

When ‘American Idol’ host and DJ Ryan Seacrest asked her what the song is about, Willow didn’t miss a beat. “Be an individual, you can’t be afraid to be yourself. My mum [actress and musician Jada Pinkett Smith] and I are very strong individuals and I just know that because lots of people don’t act like themselves so they’re not happy.”

Jay-Z meanwhile thinks the sky’s the limit for his youngest protegee.

“She has a child’s innocence but a clear vision of what she wants and who she wants to be. I can imagine this is how Michael Jackson was as a young kid. He knew exactly what he wanted. I believe that you have to start somewhere and when you have that sort of talent and vision, there’s no such thing as too young. Again, I heard the record without knowing who it was and it’s just a hit record.”

And what artists inspire pop’s newest phenom? Rihanna? Justin Bieber? Lady Gaga? Nope.

“I love Billy Idol!”

Watch Willow on her official video for 'Whip My Hair' below: