One of the few DJs that could be considered a household name, DJ Jazzy Jeff has worn a few different hats throughout his career. From DJing to producing and then all the way back to DJing, his enjoyment and passion for all things musical is obvious in his own reflection of his persona.
“Jazzy Jeff is a music lover, a DJ, a producer, songwriter, music collector, vinyl junkie, gadget fanatic and all around lover of life and happiness.”
Growing up in West Philadelphia, it was the summer afternoon block parties where Jeff gained his love for music and the happiness it could bring. He’s extremely proud of where he’s come from and it’s this pride that pushes him to be the best.
“I grew up in west Philly, Philadelphia has always been a hard town. You try as hard as you could to make people in your home town proud of you. Philly has put that fire inside of you, that you just always want to do a good job.
“You know, you kinda waited for those summer Saturdays that someone blocked the street off and you just pulled some big speakers out and some turntables and just played music for people.
“I remember looking at the guy playing music so passionate that I had someone hold my bike while I danced with a girl and I just wanted that kind affect on people.”
One of Jeff’s most recognizable and known roles, was ironically one he never enjoyed being known for. These days, he takes comfort in the knowledge that it’s not about how you know or where you heard about him, it’s all about the experience you take away from his shows.
“I used to not like the association with the television show and it wasn’t until a girl walked up to me and said… ‘I never knew you DJ’d’… you know, and I’m saying ‘wait a minute, it started with Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince’ making music.
“And it made me say from that day ‘I don’t care why you know, once I get you in that building my job is to convert you to a fan’.”
From DJing West Philly block parties, to producing platinum selling albums with Will Smith, it’s now DJing in Las Vegas and around the world where Jeff has been busy. Going back to where it all started. Coming full circle.
“Everybody comes to Las Vegas to have a good time. Right now I have a residency at The Palms. You can really get away with a lot in Vegas. You know, it kinda like I come out here to just lose all control over everything that I have, so you can sometimes push the envelope and play stuff that you may not normally play.
“I think DJ’s are producers and they don’t know it. You know, your job is to basically produce a night, or produce a two hour segment and make it enjoyable. We’re producers on the fly.
“I think the music industry sucks… It has never been set up to be… um… fair to the artist. Starting to DJ again kinda put so much stuff back in perspective. It was a very big change for me, and I couldn’t stop laughing cause it started with two turntables and a mixer, it was just me coming full circle.
New technology and looking to the future for inspiration is what drives Jeff these days. With access to a much wider world of music, the capability for artists to make and share music so much more easily and with the tools available for DJs and producers now, it’s easy to get lost and miss the boat. Jeff never wanted to be that guy.
“Never in a million years did I think we’d be DJ’ing off of a computer. It still trips me out to say I’m going to make a mix and I’m gonna post it online and in fifteen minutes you get a response back from someone is amazing.
“You have to kinda stay up with technology or you’ll be lost, you know, and I never wanted to be one of those people that… um… just didn’t know how to do something.
“A lot of my inspiration now comes from the youth, you know, you always have to be a student. It’s amazing that my twelve year old son teaches me probably more than anybody else, and I think that’s… you know, who you really kinda need to turn to and just listen.”
At this stage of his career, Jeff, rather than being reflective, is looking forward to what’s around the next corner. He’s enjoying himself, whether it be in the club, behind the controls in the studio or at home with his family. It’s what truly makes him happy.
“This is probably the happiest that i’ve ever been. I get a chance to make people happy with music and then I get to come home and have a wonderful life with my wife and my kids. One of the most comforting things in the world for me and my job is I never foresee us living in a world without music, so just the way that we give it to people, the way that they get it just has to change, but we will not live in a world without music. I’ll just let it drive me crazy…