Monday, April 30, 2007

Over the years, I have read plenty of Top 10 Best DJ/Producers of all-time lists, and most of them never include DJ Jazzy Jeff for some sad reason? In my mind Jazzy deserves his props just like the other greats like JMJ, Pete Rock, J Dilla and DJ Premier! I think many folks overlook him because of his history with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air himself Will Smith? Even though many folks liked them back in the day when rap music was fun, in the new millennium it seems to be uncool to be a fan of their music now for some reason? No matter what you felt about Will Smith's lyrics, you have to give credit to Jazzy Jeff putting it down on the turntables. I still remember back in the early 90's when they were on some major award show, and for the first time ever they were going to perform a mix session live on television! Without breaking a sweat Jeff ripped the vinyl to shreds while millions of viewers watch around the world. How many DJs do you know that could pull that off? Most folks don't realize that Jeff is a true hip-hop pioneer. He invented the essential technique of Transform Scratching that you still hear today in everyone of the top DJ battles held around the world. Yep, when the scratch is done correctly it sounds just like the sound made when a cartoon Transformer changes between robot and automobile! Outside of creating scratching techniques, Jeff also had one of the first full-scale production facilities in the country he called A Touch of Jazz back in 1990! This facility allowed many of the young producers of that day to work in the same location, and still have their own space to create. It's not hard to recognize that Jazzy Jeff is more than just your average DJ.

You would think after selling over 10 million records, winning three Grammy Awards, three American Music Awards, two NAACP Awards and recieving several other accolades that Jeff would have a big head like so many others have? Nope, he doesn't! He still remains humble to his craft and his fans. Still scouting out new talent and steadily enjoying this music that we all know and love. Over the years Jeff has made a slight transition from the hip-hop genre into soul. Back in 2002 when Jeff released his debut solo album "The Magnificent" it was full of soulful tracks by up & comers like Raheem DeVaughn, Erro & Jill Scott. He also had plenty unknown underground artists featured on there as well. Definitely a great album, but it was overlooked by the masses as expected. Now, we fast-forward to 2007, and after five years of touring Jeff is about to release his second album "The Return of the Magnificent" in a few weeks. Unlike the his first album, the new joint has a mixture of new and old school artists. Jeff basically made a list of what artists he wanted to work with, and made a few calls to make it happen. Now, that's what you call RESPECT! The new album has a definite old school feel to it, but it works overall. Jeff has the true ability to make anyone sound better over his production, so even the weakest verse seems to flow well? I wouldn't say that the Return is not better than it's predecessor, but there are definitely some bangers on this album worth your attention.

Peep these clips before you bounce for more insight!

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