DJ Jazzy Jeff Talks JFK Conspiracies And Big Belgian Lemons

That’s right – it’s time for another round of The Same 10 Questions We Always Ask Everyone!

That’s right – it’s time for another round of The Same 10 Questions We Always Ask Everyone!

You’re judging the Red Bull Thre3Style competition on April 5 – what do you look for in a DJ?

Completeness, if that’s a word. You just want someone to be pretty well-rounded, not just good in one specific area. That’s the reason that part of the criteria is playing three different genres of music, because a good DJ can play for more than one type of audience. You kind of want to show your showmanship, you want to show your play selection, and not just play the stuff that everybody else plays, you know – what are your curveballs? Because at the end of the night, when people walk out, they’re not talking about the most popular record you played, they’re talking about that record that you made fit that wasn’t supposed to fit.

Right – weirdly enough, we saw Skrillex play a dubstep cover of the theme to The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air at Electric Zoo Festival last year.

I heard that, it was amazing! That’s what it’s about, it’s like throwing a curveball. We’re trying to push the new generation of DJs to have the same quality to carry the torch forward – these are the things that, not only myself, but A-Track and Z-Trip, that we talk about pushing to make sure these guys have what it takes.

In terms of the craft, which skills are you a particular fan of?

It’s a great balance with me – you want everybody to have a good time, but in a competition, there are DJs that care so much about pleasing the crowd, but the score based on the crowd’s response is the lowest you can get, so you could please the crowd and displease the judges. I don’t care if no one likes your set, I think what you really should do is show us the criteria that makes a good DJ. Now, a great DJ can show us and have people like their set at the same time…

Speaking as a producer, who are your favorite artists you’ve worked with?

Gil Scott is definitely one of the favorites. Michael Jackson was great – I was only in the studio with him for a day, but that was pretty much an amazing experience. You know, I’m such a fan of music, sometimes I have to get out of my fan ways to actually getting what I need to get. I’m a music junkie, so whatever I can do to contribute to the music that I grew up with or the purity of the music or the purity the sound, I’m all for it. 

We brought it up earlier, but The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air is one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time. How does it feel to have been a part of something with that legacy?

I’m surprised! I’m absolutely happy. One of the things Will and I talk about a lot is Fresh Prince and the record Summertime. Every time it gets warm, I’m thinking, this is the year they’re not going to play it. And it comes back! And you’re happy – I think often the ultimate goal is to get something that stands the test of time. That’s that lightning in a bottle – you get that and it’s like, “Wow, this is amazing.” It’s the same thing with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air – now you have a whole new generation of kids that this is their favorite show. And you’re like, “Wow, this is crazy.” When someone comes to tell you that it’s 15 or 20 years old, you’re like, it can’t be 20 years old, because it’s still on! It’s a blessing. It’s definitely a shock.

How many times a day to people try and give you the handshake?

More than I like! I decided to keep my hands in my pockets for a long time – that’s reserved for me and Will, and Will and I don’t do it anymore! People get that Fresh Prince of Bel Air handshake look – I can look at somebody that’s walking up to me, and they’re stopping and watching and they don’t realize I know what they’re going to do, and I’ll grab the hand and hold it like, “Nice to meet you man,” and they’re like, “Ugh!” It’s kind of a little game for me.

Do you have a favorite of all the times Uncle Phil threw you out of the house?

I don’t have a favorite at all – that was very painful! He didn’t throw me, I’d jump and land on a mat. And to get one take, I might have jumped 40 times, so by the time you stopped and they’d say, “OK we got it,” you pretty much go back to the hotel, and you were black and blue on your side, just sore.


What was the last thing you had to apologize for?

I left the baby wipes open and they dried up! I mean, if I’m being 100% honest, I left them open, and I was told not to leave them open because I have a tendency to leave them open, and I left them open and my wife was like, “You left them open!” And I wanted to say, “I’m sorry, you know what? I left them open. I’m sorry.”

What’s your favorite curse word?

Probably shit. I try not to use the F-bomb – shit is kind of like, “sheeeeet” or “shit!” or “shee-yit.”

It’s more expressive.

Yeah! “SHIIIT!” “Did you see that shit?”

What’s the worst hangover you’ve ever had?

The worst hangover I had was the night that He’s The DJ, I’m The Rapper went platinum. We were in Houston, Texas, and it was myself and our manager at the time, who is still Will’s manager, James Lassiter – we were at the restaurant and I got drunk, and all I remember is people applauding when we got up to leave.

What was your first car?

My first car was a Toyota – it was a 1985 or ’84 Toyota Supra. It was white and I put a massive sound system in it. It was in my sister’s garage for 20 years – I didn’t have the room for it. But my sister sold the house and I think she sold the car in the garage, because if I would have known, I would have kept it. Nowadays, you could have probably spent $2,500 and got an engine and I’d still have my first car.

Do you have a scar that tells a story?

Yes! I have a scar on my elbow. I had an old girlfriend and she loaned me her chain – I was DJing in a park that wasn’t the safest park, and I remember her telling me, “My mom doesn’t know you have my chain, so be very, very careful,” which was the curse right there. These guys snatched the chain, and I grabbed the guy’s arm and he reached in his pocket and pulled out a knife and cut my elbow. I let it go! I lost the chain.

But not your arm, at least. Do you have a party trick?

I don’t have a party trick, but I definitely am very, very good at the diversionary tactic of leaving. Like, “Oh Shit! Look at that!” and everyone looks and then you kind of… I don’t believe you have to say “bye” to everyone at a party. So you know, you make your quiet rounds and make sure you’ve acknowledged everybody, and then you go to the bathroom and never come back.

So you’re like Party Batman?


What’s the biggest thing you’ve ever put in your mouth?

Wow, shit. That’s interesting because I’ve never had to think about that. You know, there was this really big lemon in Belgium…I didn’t put it in my mouth, though. When I played basketball I had a really oversized mouthpiece.

What’s the one thing to remember in a fist fight?

The one thing to remember in a fist fight is that the hitter is going to be in as much pain as the hittee, because hitting somebody in the face hurts. I’ve been in many fist fights, man, you cannot predict this, but you’ll be soaking your hands the next day. Either soaking your hands or soaking your jaw.

Who was the last person to see you naked?

My cat, Bear. My cat comes in the bathroom with me, so when I take a shower my cat sits on an ottoman, because he’s hoping that I’ll put some food in his dish. And I took a shower right before I left to take the train up here yesterday morning, so it wasn’t my wife and it wasn’t my kids walking in.

Finish this sentence: If I ruled the world for a day, I would…

I’m a ruler for a day? What could I do? I could fire… no, I can’t say that. Or – no, there might be somebody from the IRS watching. I have a selfish one, if I ruled the world… no, I won’t do that either.

You seem to have a remarkable amount of evil thoughts that you’re having to discard.

You know – I’ve been wondering, who killed Kennedy? I would really go into the archives that they say they’re not going to open until everyone who was alive then is gone, and I would take a peek to find out what I could figure out.

Do you have a theory?

No – I was one of those people that fell into the Oliver Stone movie and it was kind of like, “It was a conspiracy!” Then one night on the History Channel, I watched a program that showed me how Lee Harvey Oswald could have done it alone. That made me realize that you can basically make me believe whatever you want me to believe, depending on how the story was told. And to me, that’s the genius of a conspiracy – that it puts you in a position where you will never, ever know the truth.

Check out DJ Jazzy Jeff at this weekend’s Redbull Thre3Style competition!

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