Artist: DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
Genre: Hip Hop and Rap
Release Date: July 23, 1991
I am continuing my series with DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. At this period of time, I used to watch The Fresh Prince or Bel-Air every week. I also remember that one of the tracks on this album premiered after one of the episodes, which was Ring my Bell.
When I heard the remix version of Ring my Bell, I had to buy the album. Since I loved their previous albums, I figured it would be ok.
Let us see if this is a good entry on their list of albums.
"I'm All That" - 3:44
"Summertime" - 4:30
"Things That U Do" - 4:56
"This Boy Is Smooth" - 4:58
"Ring My Bell" - 4:44
"A Dog Is a Dog" - 4:29
"Caught in the Middle (Love & Life)" - 4:19
"Trapped on the Dance Floor" - 3:52
"Who Stole the D.J." - 4:09
"You Saw My Blinker" - 4:14
"Dumb Dancin'" - 4:55
"Summertime (Reprise)" - 2:05
This album had a slightly updated sound while still sounding like DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.
Summertime which was the top hit from this album is probably their best. For me when I think of summer, I play this song and summer has officially begun. It has a smooth beat with good rhymes. Yes it is poppy but that does not mean that it is not a good song. The track samples Summer Madness by Kool & the Gang.
There are a few storytelling tracks here as well. Who Stole the D.J. is a good one. It is about the Fresh Prince being a detective trying to find a kidnapped DJ Jazzy Jeff. The story has a few holes in it but it is enjoyable nonetheless.
You Saw My Blinker was different from any other songs that the group had done until then. This was a darker track and The Fresh Prince technically swears on here by saying the word "Bitch". I remember being surprised when I first heard the song but it is good. If this was meant to make him seem tough, I think it missed its mark. The basic premise of the song is that The Fresh Prince was victim to a car accident and he goes to court.
A Dog is a Dog is a typical Fresh Prince song about being a player. It is basically how he likes to date different women. I think it is more funny than serious but nowadays, I am sure someone would get offended by this track.
There were some tracks that were more dance oriented such as I'm All That, Dumb Dancin' and Trapped on the Dance Floor. Trapped on the Dance Floor featured different friends of the group. We even hear Jazzy Jeff rap a certain part. I think that the song flowed well and it had a good rap. It is about being on the dance floor like a prison and you need to dance until the DJ tells you that you cannot anymore.
This album has one of the best songs in their catelog in my opinion. Summertime is a great song that makes you wish for summer even on the darkest days of winter.
As I mentioned before some of the songs have a darker tone. This was a different direction for the group. I am not sure if the record label told them to be edgier or did they do this on their own. There are still some lighter radio friendly songs, like Ring my Bell and Dumb Dancin'. They also touched on serious topics as being in a relationship and juggling the work life and the personal life can be hard. This was the main idea behind Caught in the Middle (Love & Life).
I think that due to the popularity of the show that Will Smith was on, it helped boost sales for this album. Having a top 10 hit with Summertime also helped it. They reached at least 1 million units in sales which is about double of their previous album.
The one thing that is evident is that although DJ Jazzy Jeff handles the beats, you do not hear him as much. A main difference on this album are his solo efforts. These disappeared altogether. You do hear him rapping on a few tracks but you barely get to hear any of his scratching. This felt like it was more of a Will Smith album than a DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince album.
When you look at the overall picture, I think that it is a good album. I think that it is solid but I do believe their previous albums are better. Summertime is still a great song today but I think they started to change their style and I am not sure if it helped them at all. The storytelling aspect is still there but it seems they wanted to focus on being a little darker and more serious.
Summertime - DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
What do you think? Did you like the album when it came out. Let us know.