My Record Collection: He's The DJ, I'm The Rapper - DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince (1988)

Album: He's The DJ, I'm The Rapper

Artist: DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

Genre: Hip Hop and Rap

Release Date: March 29, 1988

 

Introduction

 

I have always been a fan of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. After both artists went their own way, I always seemed to navigate towards DJ Jazzy Jeff more than to The Fresh Prince (Will Smith).

 

This was the first album that I remember owning from them on tape. It would also coincide with one of the first rap albums that I listed to. I am not saying that I did not listen to any before, but this is the one that sticks in my mind as the first one. 

 

Let us see if this album holds up after all these years. 

 

Tracks

 

1."Nightmare on My Street"

2."Here We Go Again"

3."Brand New Funk"

4."Time to Chill"

5."Charlie Mack (First Out of the Limo)"

6."As We Go"

7."Parents Just Don't Understand"

8."Pump Up the Bass"

9."Let's Get Busy, Baby"

10."Live at Union Square (November 1986)"

11."D.J. on the Wheels"

12."My Buddy"

13."Rhythm Trax (House Party Style)"

14."He's the D.J., I'm the Rapper"

15."Hip Hop Dancer's Theme"

16."Jazzy's in the House"

17."Human Video Game"

 

Review

 

This album to me shows the diversity in the subject matter that I always used to associate to rap. Some did gangsta rap and others did more poppy rap. However, with this album, there is the story telling aspect, the self touting songs and just regular poppy songs. 

 

In the storytelling aspect of the album, I love Nightmare on My Street. This is the groups version of what would happen if Freddie Krueger would attack them. The beat and rhythm feel just right for the type of song. Apparently this was supposed to be on the Nightmare on Elm Street 4 soundtrack. A decision was made to remove it from the album. Subsequent releases of the track had a note stating that it had nothing to do with the movie. 

 

Another song in the same category would be the most popular song on the album, Parent's Just Don't Understand. Some would say that this was the inspiration for the The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song that he wrote and starred in. This is just another example of great storytelling in rap. Also fun fact, this track was also the first ever Grammy Award winner for Best Rap Performance. 

 

I was always a fan of DJ's of the past, Grandmaster Flash, Frankie Knuckles and Paul Oakenfold. I consider DJ Jazzy Jeff as one of the best in my opinion. The things that he is able to do on an album, is beyond amazing. One of the best aspects of these old albums is that there was always a few songs dedicated to the artistry of DJ Jazzy Jeff. The tracks on this album are D.J on the Wheels, Hip Hop Dancer's Dream, and Jazzy's in the House. These really showcase what Jazzy Jeff can do. I am a big fan personally of Jazzy's in the House

 

There are a few pop songs here other than Parent's Just Don't Understand.  Here We Go Again has a good beat that samples from Bob James hit Westchester Lady. I find it to be one of the smoother songs on the album. 

 

My personal favourite on the album is the last track, Human Video Game. This is a song rapped by Fresh Prince but the rhythm is mostly from a beat boxer named Ready Rock. He shows up on a few tracks here but here he is at his best. He does a beat box version of the Donkey Kong theme and does pretty accurate video game sounds with his mouth. At the time, I found this very cool and it still holds up to this day. This was also at a time where beat box groups like the Fat Boys were popular. 

 

Many people criticized the group for sampling a lot of other songs. However, I never cared for that. Yes, I agree it might seem like cheating to some extent, however, it fits this duo very well. I cared more about the rap and scratching abilities of DJ Jazzy Jeff than the beat itself.  

 

Something that DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince were criticized for, were their "soft" lyrics. They did not swear on most of their albums. This was considered clean rap.  I think  that today it would be refreshing to have a rap duo like this. 

 

Bottomline

 

I think this album is worth the listen. Like classic rock, I would consider this a classic rap album. When people think of classic rap, they think of Wu-Tang Clan, A Tribe Called Quest or even NWA. However, there were other rappers that existed. It is just that DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince liked to put some humour in their tracks. I think that they were different enough to not be part of the in rap scene. They always seemed that they were looking in from the outside.  

 

I have a hard time finding a weaker track on the album, but if I had to choose I would go with My Buddy and Brand New Funk. These are not bad per say but could be considered forgettable. 

 

I recommend this album to anyone who is a fan of classic rap and take it for what it is, an entertaining album. This is a classic 80's rap album that does sound like a product of its time, but the beats are still good today.

 

Parent's Just Don't Understand - DJ Jazzy Jeff and the fresh Prince

 

 

What do you think? Did you like this album back in the day? Let us know.

 

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