11 Fresh Facts You Didn’t Know About DJ Jazzy Jeff
This Wednesday June 7th, the Magnificent DJ Jazzy Jeff will be putting his Midas touch on the wheels of steel when he spins at the new red hot club NOTO. Although Jazzy is a Philly native and has spun for 30 some odd years, not many folks know much about this hip hop pioneer outside of his hit records with Will Smith and getting thrown out of the mansion by uncle Phil. Undoubtedly considered one of the greatest DJs to ever live, he has managed to keep his life pretty private over the years. So we dug up some cool and interesting facts about DJ Jazzy Jeff that you should know. Check it out!
1. He Did All of the Scratches & Mixes for the Movie “Straight Outta’ Compton”
When Dr. Dre was putting together the authentic sound and feel of the smash hit movie Straight Outta’ Compton he immediately called up DJ Jazzy Jeff to make it happen. All of the scratches and mixes you hear throughout the movie (especially the scenes of Dre DJing) were all done by Jazzy Jeff himself. That’s right Philly has its print even in West Coast History.
2. Music Runs In His Blood
DJ Jazzy Jeff’s love for music didn’t just forge out of thin air. In fact his father was an MC for jazz bandleader Count Basie. Jeff’s brother was also a bass player for one of the founders of the legendary group The Intruders. So it’s safe to say jazz is in his DNA.
3. He Had the Best Mentor
Back in the day Gamble & Huff not only ruled the Philly music sound they had the entire music industry in the palm of their hand. One half of this iconic duo, Kenny Gamble actually took time out to mentor Jazzy Jeff at an early age. In fact Kenny Gamble remained a strong influence in Jazzy Jeff’s life and even presented him with his star for the Philadelphia Music Walk of Fame.
4. Jazzy Jeff Met Will By Chance
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince have cemented their place in hip hop history but did you know they met by chance? Back in 1985 Jazzy was spinning at a house party down the block from where Will lived. By chance Jazz Jeff’s hype man was a no show and he didn’t a master of ceremony (MC) and by pure fate, Will emerged from the crowd to take on the challenge and the rest is history.
5. Jazzy Jeff & Will Were the First Rappers to Ever Win a Grammy
That’s right, the first hip hop artist to ever receive this distinguished music award were none other than Philly’s own. However, at the time they received a Grammy for Best Rap Duo the genre and award weren’t considered significant enough to warrant TV time so the dynamic duo received their trophies off camera.
6. He Pioneered Sampling & The Transformer Scratch
All of the dope sampling and transformer scratches (using the fader to cut into a sample to create the sound of a transformer) can be credited to DJ Jazzy Jeff. This can all be traced back to his 1986 record “The Magnificent Jazzy Jeff” where he implemented a sample of James Brown’s “The Funky Drummer” at the end of the song. This track sent the hip hop world on a tizzy and since then all other DJ’s have fallen in-line. (Side note Philly’s own DJ Cashmoney is also credited on making the transformer scratch popular).
7. He Used to Soak Vinyls in His Tub
Back in the day it was all about gaining the advantage and keeping your mixes a secret. In an effort to keep others in the dark DJs back in 80’s used to soak their vinyls in tubs in an effort to peel off the labels. This way no one was able to see what record they were using.
8. He Developed His Own Production Company
DJ Jazzy Jeff isn’t always a DJ. In fact he took up producing records with the creation of his own production company “A Touch of Jazz.” Since its launch, Jazzy Jeff has produced records for heavy hitters such as Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild, Eminem, The Roots, Jewel, Talib Kweli and many more!
9. Jazzy Jeff Uses The Alias George Glass
On production such as Jill Scott’s album “Gettin’ in the Way,” Jazzy Jeff will use the name George Glass as an alias. For those that may be too young to know, George Glass was Jane’s imaginary boyfriend in the 70’s sitcom The Brady Bunch. So if you ever see this alias on credits, know that it’s DJ Jazzy Jeff himself.
10. He has Up to 180 gigs a year!
Talk about a workhorse. DJ Jazzy Jeff spends half the year on the road. His online series Vinyl Destination gives you an inside look on the rigorous tour life that Jazzy and crew endures. Jazzy Jeff splits his time between the US and overseas where fans go crazy even when they don’t understand the words.
11. He Created a Summer Camp for DJs
Highly regarded as one of the greatest to ever do it, each year Jazzy Jeff invites some of the industry’s hottest DJ’s, producers, and artists to his home in Delaware. Attendees stay in trailers onsite and collab on records as well as share insider tips and music files. Think the X-Man school and Jazzy Jeff as Professor Xavier.