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Full Clip: DJ Jazzy Jeff Breaks Down Fresh Prince Catalogue & Beyond

DJ Jazzy Jeff is struggling to make sense of it all. When you insist that the man born Jeffrey Townes is a certified hip-hop legend, he seems uncomfortable with such a notion. Yet, the stat sheet doesn’t lie. As one half of the highly influential late ‘80s rap duo Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, the celebrated tandem sold millions of albums as they helped push the rugged boundaries of hip-hop to Middle America. The irony? The kindler, gentler young men from the otherwise two-fisted area of West Philadelphia presented a PG alternative to the hardcore likes of Public Enemy and NWA. Indeed landmark songs like “Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble,” “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” and “Summertime” garnered Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince universal acclaim. Still, there were the critics who dismissed the MTV darlings as mere pop fluff.

Never mind that. Jazzy Jeff went on to stake his claim as one of the most celebrated hip-hop turntablist of all time; an underrated talent that made the music industry take notice after forming the successful production crew A Touch of Jazz—an outfit that has hammered out hits for everyone from Jill Scott to Michael Jackson. Jeff’s gregarious partner Will Smith? He conquered Hollywood, becoming one of the biggest box office stars to ever walk God’s green earth. From the Fresh Prince to his own Magnificent album series, Jazzy Jeff looks back at a history-making career that spans more than two decades.—Keith Murphy 


Rock the House (1987)—DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

You know what’s funny? When you are young and working on your first album you are not thinking about anything. You’re just excited. You don’t have any expectations. Hip-Hop was so young back then that we didn’t have a bunch of super groups like we do now…a bunch of acts that were selling millions of amounts of records. Everybody back then did it for the love, so for us to have the opportunity to make our first album, Rock The House, the only thing that was going through my head was I’m going to have a record and an album cover that I can show my son one day and say, ‘Look, your dad made a record.’ Will and I didn’t think this was going to be our career because in ’85-‘86, we didn’t know anybody in hip-hop who had a long career of making records.

When I was putting the songs together for Rock The House, I would have my drum machine in my mom’s basement and I would make beats while Will would come over and write his raps. I would later lay down my scratches in the studio after we recorded the songs. I was producing records before I knew what a producer actually did. Then Will and I would do shows at various proms and the after parties in Philly. I knew that Will was a great MC early on just because I remember us doing a show where he rapped an early version of “Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble.” We would do it off the Art of Noise’s “Moments In Love.” I remember being at that party watching 500 people stand there anxiously waiting to hear what the next part of the story would be. I’m standing there like, ‘Wow, Will can take them wherever he wants them to go.’ That’s the way we approached our earlier songs like “Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble.”

Once we saw that we thought, Well, if we can get 500 people to pay attention, maybe we can get 5000 with one record. We ended up selling close to 400, 000 with Rock The House! But we weren’t going crazy about record sales back then. We were just excited to go on tour. We were on the road with Whodini and Whistle…all of these guys were our friends. Pretty much back then, the two big groups were Whodini and Run-D.M.C. Those guys really showed us the ropes. They taught us that on tour you have wear some of the merchandise that you are selling onstage. They taught us about putting fried chicken on your tour rider in your dressing room, so you can take it with you on the tour bus to have something to eat while you are driving through the middle of the night. That’s something we didn’t know about. We were on the bus hungry as shit realizing, ‘Damn, they got chicken and juice because they put it on their rider! [laughs]’

Just think about that. We were from West Philly…we had never been to California or London, so every time we went somewhere it was like, ‘Man, I’ve never seen a palm tree in my life. What are we doing in Miami? What are we doing in Atlanta?’ Everything was new for us. And the shows were great. Will would do his raps, Ready Roc C would do his beatbox and I would cut something and everybody in the audience would go off. We always had a good show. As far as being a DJ, I learned a lot from [Whodini’s] Grandmaster D, who was a great show DJ. He was somebody that showed me that you have to really capture the crowd. D would be onstage scratching while literally being carried off the turntable! That was one of the early lessons Will and I learned; you have to play to the crowd. So that meant I was going to do this scratch that sounds like a bird and point up in the sky and say, ‘Look, it’s a bird!’ And the crowd would go wild. We brought the fans to our level.

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Vic Mensa Covers' 'Zombie' In Honor Of The Cranberries' Dolores O'Riordan

Vic Mensa and his group 93PUNX covered "Zombie" by Irish rock group The Cranberries, in honor of the one-year anniversary of the passing of the group’s lead singer, Dolores O’Riordan.

93PUNX serves as an opportunity for Mensa to perform music outside of his typical hip-hop lane and explore genres more freely. He posted snippets of the track on his Instagram page with the caption, “RIP DOLORES.” Mensa also revealed in a statement the reason why he covered the hit.

“We connected to ‘Zombie’ because we were born from violence,” he said. Dolores O’Riordan died on Jan. 15, 2018. Toxicology reports state that the 46-year-old died from accidental drowning due to alcohol intoxication.

The artwork for the “Zombie” cover features a woman with dripping, bloody fangs, and was created by artist Lucas David. The cover version itself is slowed down, which provides a more mysterious take on the 1994 protest classic.

Mensa released his recent project HOOLIGANS in December 2018, which traverses various thematic landscapes, from mental health awareness to love lost. The EP features Ty Dolla $ign, G-Herbo, G-Eazy, Charlie Wilson and more.

What do you think about the cover? Listen below and let us know in the comments.

 

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@93PUNX - ZOMBIES 🧟‍♀️ 🧟‍♀️ RIP DOLORES. art by @lucasbavid

A post shared by 💔 (@vicmensa) on Jan 15, 2019 at 2:41pm PST

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City Girls And Cardi B Bask In Their Bootyliciousness For 'Twerk' Video

As it is written, so it must be done, and there's a whole lot of shakin' going on in The City Girls' video, "Twerk."

The video for the Cardi-B-assisted track features some of the finest twerkers the world has to offer, who were encouraged to show off their skills for a contest last year. The winner would receive $50,000. Not only did the winner get "flewed out," the woman with the best skills was highlighted at the end of the visual.

Elsewhere in the video, Yung Miami and Cardi are painted in head-to-toe jungle body paint (Miami as a zebra, and Cardi as a tiger), and are seen on the beach and on a yacht shakin' it with the best of them. They lead the group of dancers through various scenes- all of which do not feature the presence of a man- so they can live their best bootylicious lives in peace and reclaim their sexuality. During JT's verse, the group dances in front of a mural of the incarcerated MC.

The song itself has been streamed over 215 million times, and is featured on the duo's album, Girl Code. The Floridians gained national exposure after being featured on Drake's "In My Feelings," however, hey've proven to be standalone entities in their own right.

READ MORE: City Girls Drop Debut Album 'Girl Code'

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Bad Bunny's "Mia" Causes Mass Parade In Streets Of Puerto Rico On 'Fallon'

Bad Bunny brought the party to The Tonight Show and to the streets of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico on Tuesday (Jan. 15) with Jimmy Fallon.Performing his new single "Mia" with Fallon and The Roots, the four of them walked the streets of Puerto Rico drawing in a large crowd of fans and followers behind them.

Opening on Fallon and The Roots walking through the streets of Puerto Rico, the video shows group as they stumble across the 24-year-old sitting alone. Bad Bunny joins them, taking them on an adventure through the streets. The late night host and his band march alongside the “Solo de Mi" artist with tambourines, timbale sticks and maracas while women and men dressed in streetwear and the best of carnival clothing dance behind Bunny and Fallon as they wave Puerto Rico's national flag. As the crowd of participants grew, the crowd eventually reached parade sized proportions.

This prerecorded segment features the studio version of "Mia" without the Spanish verse delivered by hip-hop's golden boy Drake.  The track aslo comes from the reggaeton singer's debut Long Play record, X100PRE.

Check out the full video of Bad Bunny with the boy from The Tonight Show above.

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