July 16, 2012


Let me start off by saying, this weeks DJ of the Week was not selected because he happens to be behind one of the best Summer anthems ever, though that sure is a wonderful bonus!!

Yes, Jazzy Jeff is world famous and loved dearly throughout the world for his work with his former partner Will smith, especially the song “Summertime.” Of course, if you know your music history you know that even before this massive hit the duo known as DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince had already hit it big with three previous albums one of which, “Parent’s Just Don’t Understand,” won the first ever Hip Hop GRAMMY award. You’d also be familiar with the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel Air that followed soon after, in which Smith had the starring role and Jeff had a recurring one. It was pure sitcom gold and made the pair household names.

What most people might not know is just how successful a career Jazzy Jeff has had since the duo went their separate ways -they have never officially broken up; the two remain great friends and continue to collaborate. So what kind of career has Jazzy Jeff had? Well, first let’s start from the beginning.

Jeffrey Allen Townes was born in 1965 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During the early days of Hip Hop, block parties were already a common occurrence in Philly, one of the first cities outside of New York to embrace the new genre and its surrounding culture. With Hip Hop as the new soundtrack of the streets, block parties took on a new life and it was at one of these that a young Jeffrey was first inspired to become a DJ. By 11 years old he was hitting the record stores and the tables practicing every day with the humble dream of getting the people of his Philly neighborhood to dance, just like the DJs at the block parties would do.

By the time Jazzy Jeff and Smith met in 1985, Jeff was already known as an extremely talented DJ and one of Philly’s finest, in fact he is credited with being the creator of the scratching technique called transforming, and he would be crowned world DJ championship in the 1986 New Music Seminar DJ Battle. This is most certainly why when they formed a group, his name went first. The two began laying down tracks together almost as an experiment, with no real plans to shop them. At least that’s what Jeff thought. Will Smith managed to get a copy in the hands of a local record label rep and before Jeff realized what was going on, they were signed.

Their first album, “Rock The House” was released in 1987 and wouldn’t you know it, it’s first single was an ode to the DJ “The Magnificent Jazzy Jeff.” This was followed up by “A Touch of Jazz” and their first major hit, “Girls Aint Nothing But Trouble.” The album was a success and the duo were soon touring with Hip Hop heavyweights Run DMC, Public Enemy, and more. Over the next decade, they would release four more albums “He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper” in 1988, “And in This Corner…” in 1989, “Homebase” in 1991, and “Code Red”in 1993 before going their separate ways.

Everyone knows that Will Smith went on to become one of the worlds biggest stars but, Jazzy Jeff is a DJ through and through, which is why he remained dedicated to the craft and didn’t pursue a career in Hollywood. Instead, he went on to create his own record label A Touch of Jazz, became a top notch producer, responsible for the artists Jill Scott and Musiq, as well as a remixer for Everything But The Girl, Little Louie Vega, The Roots, just to name a few. And of course, he has cemented his place as one of the most skilled DJs on the planet. The type that gets featured as a playable character in video games such as he was in DJ Hero.

To this day, if Jeff isn’t in the studio he can be found somewhere on the planet spinning records. His skill set is as wide as his record collection, and he makes it seem so easy. The way he manages to bring together everything from Hip Hop classics to Funk, Disco, House, even present day radio friendly EDM and dance remixes of pop hits makes one believe we can all live in harmony one day. Fact is, when Jazzy Jeff is in the house, you know you’re in for an awesome show, which is why his performances are always eagerly anticipated and much talked about after. In fact, if there was a DJ bucket list, than seeing DJ Jazzy Jeff live is on it.

If you want to hear what I’m talking about for yourself, make sure you visit his official website here. For now however, we wanted to take it back a bit with a very special mix he did way back in 1993, three years before The Fresh Prince of Bel Air would end its 6 year run and he would fall off the radar of the popular masses. Soon after you start listening, you’ll realize the skill he’s working with and start to want more. And let me tell you, he’s only gotten better. If you’re one of the people who thought he fell off the map, it’s time to do some catching up. And for those of you out there who dream of being a DJ, well, you better take notes, DJ Jazzy Jeff is the real deal.

DJ Jazzy Jeff – Blockparty Mix 1993 – PART 1 by Version Sound on Mixcloud

Too lo fi for you? Try this more recent mix, straight from DJ Jazzy Jeff himself:




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