DJ Jazzy Jeff is best-known for making happy hip-hop with Will Smith ("Summertime," "Parents Just Don't Understand," "Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble") and their hit sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." But he's also a renowned turntablist and producer, having helped discover Jill Scott and Musiq, among many other stars. Catch him Friday, March 11, along with Miami Heat resident DJ Irie, at the Living Room & Whiskey Blue at W Fort Lauderdale (401 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale). Jazzy Jeff talked to Miami.com about the show.
Are you excited to come down to Miami?
Oh, always! Who wouldn't be excited to come to Miami? Especially from the cold North - I'm in Philadelphia. Well, actually I'm in Delaware - I live in Delaware now. I moved about seven years ago. I consider Philadelphia and Delaware so close that I tell people, "Yeah, I'm in Philly."
I think you're the first celebrity I've ever heard of to move to Delaware.
Oh my God - there's so many people here.
What can we expect from your show?
My main thing is, I want people to have a good time. So I'll play pretty much anything I can get my hands on that'll make people enjoy themselves. From old-school to new music to classic rock to funk and soul - you name it.
Will you work with Irie onstage?
Well, we've never done stuff onstage together-together. We've played at the same venues before. So I'll go on and then he'll go on.
You'll be down here during Winter Music Conference. Will you check out any of those shows?
The funny thing is, I've been going to Winter Music for the past 12 years. It's a little weird this year with Winter Music and Ultra kind of splitting up, so I'm technically gonna be down there for both. I think I'm scheduled to do something at the Shelborne for the Pacha party in late March.
As a producer, you helped make stars out of Jill Scott and Musiq. Who's the next star that no one's heard of yet?
I just finished an album with a young lady from Toronto named Ayah, which we're planning on releasing sometime in the fall. And we're gonna put out a mixtape, an introduction, in the summer.
What kind of style is she?
She's a very soulful singer - we kind of touched on a little bit of everything, from classic soul to some new stuff to some reggae-roots stuff. Just very creative and free.
Speaking of mixtapes, your "He's the King ... I'm the DJ" was a tribute to Michael Jackson. What did he mean to you?
I mean, Mike will probably go down in history as one of the, if not THE, greatest entertainers that we know. Me being that little kid that watched Motown's 25th when he did the moonwalk on TV, being around the whole "Thriller" experience, and knowing that I personally bought about five or six copies of the album. And then getting the chance to work with him later on - you can't really put it into words what he meant to people, or me.
What would you tell him today, if you could?
Thank you. You know, I hope he left us knowing just how appreciated he was.
You ever miss being on "The Fresh Prince"?
No, it pretty much ran its course. I had a really good time doing it for six years, and it ended. We all still kind of get together every once in a while, so you get to see everybody. It was just one of those things that did what it was supposed to do.
So you're still close with Will?
Oh, very, very. I just left him last week.
What were you guys up to?
Nothing, just in L.A. - I went out for the Grammys and the All-Star [weekend]. We try to touch base as much as we can.
How was the experience of performing at the Live 8 concert in Philly?
Oh my God. Well let alone from being part of something that historic in your hometown... My only bad memory was I told everybody that I'm bringing a video camera onstage because we're going to sing the "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" theme to a million people in my hometown. It'll never be this good. And I was so excited that I hit the camera and the camera tilted up to the sky. So the entire show I taped the sky. But it was probably the most notable show I've ever done.
DJ Jazzyy Jeff