Souls of Hip Hop

Throwback: DJ Jazzy Jeff

May 25, 2021 Soulidarity LLC Season 2 Episode 9
Souls of Hip Hop
Throwback: DJ Jazzy Jeff
Show Notes Transcript

In 2011, I interviewed one of my all-time favorite DJs, DJ Jazzy Jeff. Together with Will Smith, he won the first ever rap Grammy award as Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince and acted in the sitcom "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air". As a DJ, producer and songwriter, he worked with numerous artists and remains one of the greatest party-rockers to date.

We talk about his record collection, transitioning to digital vinyl systems (like Serato), digging for songs online, teaching his kids to DJ with DJ Hero, and what the tonearm stands for metaphorically.

You can find him here:
Jazzy Jeff's LinkTree

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Yo, what's the deal? It's yours truly the magnificent DJ Jazzy Jeff.

Welcome to souls of hip hop:

throwback edition. Between 2004 and 2015, I interviewed many hip hop artists and recently discovered some of the recordings in my archive. We want to share a selection of our favorites and bring you these throwbacks in between our regular episodes. Enjoy. For this week's throwback edition, we bring you one of hip hop's great icons, DJ Jazzy Jeff. He is a producer, songwriter, actor and DJ from Philadelphia. Together with Will Smith, he rose to success as DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince winning the first ever rap Grammy Award, before acting together in the popular sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. He went on to work with numerous artists putting out his own series of "the Magnificent" and rocking parties on the ones and twos across the world. In 2011, I had the chance to hang out with Jazz and ask him a few questions. Enjoyed it throwback. Yo, your set was fired tonight. Have you been enjoying this tour so far? It was good. Everybody had a good time. When anybody have a good time. I have a good time. So I had a good time. Because anybody else had a good time. I once heard a rumor that your record collection is so huge, you have to store it in four different apartments. Is there any truth to that? Yeah, that's a rumor. I'm I have a lot of vinyl, but I don't have four apartments full. If you had to guess though, how many records do you think you own? About 100,000. Wow, that's still impressive though. In recent years, digital vinyl systems like Serato have really taken over. And you're actually one of the first people that I saw using it. How does this technology change touring for you? I think just to be able to carry whatever you need with you. You know, especially with the airlines, when the airlines started charging you for overweight baggage, it started to get hard to take your record boxes with you, and take all of the tunes that you want to play. So now you can kind of take your collection with you and be prepared for anything. Traveling the world I'm sure you've been able to go record digging in tons of dope record shops. Do you still dig for records physically? Or have you switched to the online world? I mean, it depends, you know, as you know, wherever you at, you know, the funny thing is I started I started doing a lot of online digging, you find a lot of gems, you know, online, especially on YouTube, or, you know, just seeing other collectors. That's the one good thing that I think about the online thing that it puts you in touch with other collectors. And you swap stories and hey, do you have this record? And they'll have that and you have this? You know, I like that. I mean, I still miss going to the store and getting your hands dirty with all the records though. Yeah, I guess one of the downsides of the rise of online digging is that many record stores are having to shut down like the iconic fat beats. It's opening back up. Yeah, they are opening it back up. They're gonna open back up, I want to say it's not every day, but they're gonna open I think, on weekends, and let people go to the warehouse and go through records. Even with all the fame and success, you've remained extremely humble and down to earth. Do you still live in Philly? In the suburbs of Philly. Still close. You just got married and have kids now too. Yes, I'm married. That's my wife right there. Yes, we have twins. They're almost two. As a parent, would you want your kids to follow in your footsteps? Well, I mean, you know, because they're only two, they have a little ways away. But you know, I may have to groom them to be a DJ / rapper combination. The brother sister, you know, so they could take care of, you know, me and my wife. Well, you can teach them on DJ Hero in which you're actually a playable character. Yeah, well, he actually plays DJ here on now. So he's getting, he's getting good. That's dope. Last year, you teamed up with Mike Boogie to create the summertime mixtape series. How did you connect with Mike? Yeah, I met him. I met him. He used to dance in this gogo bar. And I saw him. He was on the table. And he had shorts on with high tube socks. And had his stomach out and he was dancing. I was like, Hey, dude, you're better than that. You know, let's go on the road and let's make something happen. So, you know, he, you know, he got off the pole and we ended up being on the road. No, I've known him for a long time tho. You have a tattoo of a tonearm on your arm and the tonearm is the centerpiece of your logo. What does the tonearm represent for you? I think it kind of represents what you do. You know, I think the whole concept of the needle and the tonearm: You know, is almost like a gamble because you know, the best DJ in the world could hit the tone arm and it can fall off, you know, so it's just that whole, you're always living on the edge. Thank you so much for your time. Are there any upcoming projects that you would like to promote? Well, actually, I'm getting ready to release a record with a young lady out of Toronto named Ayah which will be out this summer. It is hot. Look for that. Our theme music was beatboxed by Denis the Menace and produced by Zede, a big shout out to the brothers from Switzerland. The background music was produced by Taki Brano. A big thank you to our brosky from Providence. Our podcast basically runs on coffee. To keep our show running, You can support by buying us a coffee through the link in our show notes. I am Candy. I'm DJ Razor Cut. And this is souls of hip hop.